Dragon skin—how it changed body armor testing in the United States Army
Peel, Kevin S.
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On February 9, 2009, Mr. Dean G. Popps, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics, Technology), issued a memorandum directing that all first article and lot acceptance testing of interceptor body armor (IBA) would be conducted by the Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC). Prior to the directive, the majority of IBA testing was conducted at National Institute of Justice (NIJ)- certified ballistics laboratories. The rationale for this change, as stated in the memorandum, was that recent internal and external reviews indicate that the testing process for personal protective equipment needed to be improved. This joint applied project examines the reasons why the decision was made, as articulated in the Popps memorandum, what improvements to IBA testing were made by ATEC, and impacts of the changes, positive and negative. Although the scope of the project is limited to IBA hard armor ballistic inserts, the goal is to provide the current and future leadership of Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier and other stakeholders a better understanding of key events and decisions regarding body armor testing and the impacts of those events and decisions, to inform future decisions.
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