Washington The Army made critical mistakes in tests of a new body armor design, according to congressional investigators who recommend an independent review of the trials before the gear is issued to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Government Accountability Office report says the Army strayed from established testing standards and concludes several of the designs that passed would have failed had the tests been done properly.
The Army has ordered about 240,000 of the new type of bullet-blocking plate to be used in ballistic vests, but doesn’t plan to rush the armor into combat. The plates will be stored until needed to meet future demands, according to service officials.
In a lengthy response to the GAO report, Defense Department officials reject the call for an outside look. They acknowledge a few problems occurred during testing. But these were minor miscues, they said, that don’t shake their confidence in the overall results.
Talks deadlocked over restoring ousted leader
Talks to resolve the Honduran political crisis deadlocked Friday over conflicting proposals for restoring ousted President Manuel Zelaya to office, dampening hopes for a resolution in internationally backed negotiations.
“The dialogue is in suspense ... until the other side adopts a reasonable stance,” Zelaya told The Associated Press from the Brazilian Embassy, where he took refuge after sneaking back into Honduras on Sept. 21 from his forced exile.
Zelaya’s foreign minister said the talks had collapsed because of the coup-imposed government’s intransigence. Moments later, however, a Zelaya spokesman said the deposed leader would give negotiations two more days to break an impasse over his return to power.
“We are willing to continue the dialogue,” Ricardo Martinez, Zelaya’s tourism minister and spokesman, said at a news conference in the Tegucigalpa hotel where talks are taking place.