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March 18th, 2009

New Army task force will attempt to reset protective gear procurement

Published on March 18th, 2009 | By: pwray@ceramics.org
Credit: U.S. Army

Credit: U.S. Army

Makers of various personal ceramic armor systems are taking note of a new development coming out of the Pentagon. At a March 12 media briefing, the Army announced what amounts to a review of the equipment worn by soldiers, especially in the area of development, procurement, fielding the gear. “Synchronization” seems to be the key word. “I look forward to the challenge of running this task force –  synchronizing all of our resources across the Department of Defense – to make sure we maintain the highest standards for our soldier protective equipment and to ensure we have got all the appropriate resources synchronized to bring the best world-class equipment to Soldiers,” said Al Dassonville, who heads up the new Task Force Soldier Protection. A press release from the Army offers a little more information about what synchronization means:

The new task force will ensure that Army standards and policies for procurement of Soldier protective gear – including such things as body armor, helmets and eyewear – are followed across the entire chain of agencies and organizations involved in fielding such equipment. “We are trying to ensure we maintain synchronized and well-communicated and well-integrated actions associated with Soldier protection items,” said Brig. Gen. Peter N. Fuller, Program Executive Officer Soldier. “We are stepping up the game.”

According to Dassonville, top priorities for the task force include ensuring that contracting, testing and quality control of protective gear are conducted appropriately and efficiently; and ensuring that quality control continues to follow Army standards across all agencies involved in procurement of protective gear.

“It is easy enough to write a standard,” Dassonville said. “It is one thing to write it — it is another thing to go back and make sure everybody involved in the process understands it and does it. That is the other part that this task force is going to do.” . . . “The point of TFSP is to synchronize and integrate all the stakeholders working on Soldier protection items,” said Fuller. “We want to make sure everybody is working on the same thing and understands what the left and right are doing in relation to what they are working on. The Army wants to ensure that the highest standards are consistently applied to all processes related to Soldiers’ survivability equipment.”

Task Force Soldier Protection is apparently going to be a temporary organization. The results of the task force will be reviewed in June.


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