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Army Acquisition Capos Fraudulently Alter Body Armor Test Results

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By Roger Charles, DefenseWatch

June 12, 2008

Thanks
to an Air Force debarment action against Pinnacle Armor, manufacturer
of Dragon Skin body armor, documents have been obtained, and witnesses
deposed that provide hard evidence that the Army Acquisition capos fraudulently altered test reports to reflect the results desired by this band of criminal knaves.

And, they did so knowing full well the certain and fatal consequences that their unconscionable actions would have on America’s Grunts.

Here’s
the latest ugly story in this litany of shameful, corrupt conduct by
the Army Acquisition capos and their black-hearted contempt for
America’s Grunts:…

ALTERED TEST DOCUMENTS AND CORRUPTED TEST DATA

DefenseWatch recently obtained ballistic test documents that show blatant and unequivocal signs of having been fraudulently altered, albeit in the most clumsy manner, to falsely portray test results of Pinnacle Armor’s Dragon Skin body armor in three tests from August 2005 through June 2006.

Additionally, sworn
depositions describe the criminal manipulation of test protocols by
Army acquisition officials to produce fraudulent test reports
that allowed them to falsely claim Dragon Skin had failed to perform to the levels cited by its manufacturer. These criminal distortions of standard test protocols were simple, yet breathtaking in their audacity.

To see but one example of the fraudulent alteration of documents, Note
that this document is purported to be a print-out page displaying data
captured in a computer-hosted data base which would therefore have
uniform format and data entries if they were made by a printer. On just
this single "print out" page, ten specific alterations have been detected by a certified forensic document examiner!

Numerous other documents show similar brazen and bold indicators of fraudulent alterations.

The
documents were obtained by Pinnacle Armor during the discovery phase of
its ongoing dispute with the Air Force over that Service’s debarment.
The forensic analysis of the cited documents was performed by a
certified forensic document examiner in Seattle, Washington, hired by
Pinnacle Armor after the company’s own examination noted a number of
suspicious anomalies.

The
following is a list of ten items noted by the certified forensic
document examiner are keyed to the one page linked to above. (While DefensWatch
was able to note all ten of the types of alterations listed below, only
the first listed item specified that magnification had been used to
identify the precise cause of the alteration, "liquid paper white
out.")

  1. Bubbling under magnification indicative of ink being laid over the top of liquid paper white out.
  2. Incorrect placement of vertical alignment of number.
  3. Hand filled in line.
  4. Different font size of numbers and/or letters.
  5. Hand drafted letters and/or numbers.
  6. The vertical rise of the number “5” is different from the body of the text which is slightly slanted.
  7. The lack of even spacing above and below the letters and/or numbers in rows.
  8. The lack of the two sized horizontal separation lines, not indicative of format used on a regular basis.
  9. The vertical splice line.
  10. The lower filled in dark splice covering line, not indicative of format used on a regular basis.

Murray
Neal, President and CEO of Pinnacle Armor further explained that the
documents turned over by the Air Force during the discovery phase of
the debarment dispute were from several tests conducted by H. P. White
Laboratory, Inc. (Interestingly, H.P. White Lab has been the most
frequently used test facility used by PEO-Soldier. It has been used in
spite of the Army’s own premier ballistic test facility, the Army Test
Center, Aberdeen, Maryland, being available and located just a few
miles from H.P. White Lab.

Note
that on the test-results document linked to above, that PEO Soldier
(sic) is listed as the receiving office, and further that the ubiquitous "Dr. J. Zheng" is listed at the individual to receive the document.
The date of the test was 13 June 2006, less than a month after
the notorious May test of Dragon Skin which was the central topic of
discussion at the House Armed Services Committee hearing in June 2007.

All
seven deposed witnesses to the tests report that Zheng was physically
present for the test on June 13, 2006. But, recently obtained copies of
visitors’ log from H.P. White Lab do not record Zheng as having been
checked in and out of the facility as is required for all such
activities with clearance for DoD classified information.

To
add to the intrigue on just who was giving improper directions to the
H.P. White Lab technicians during the tests, these H.P. White Lab
records show that Karl Masters, then director of testing for
PEO-Solider, checked in at 10:50am and checked out at 4:00pm. (While
not one of the seven deposed persons volunteered information that
Masters was present, they were not specifically asked about this point.)

Contemporaneous
documents show Masters present, but not Zheng. Yet seven staff members
of H.P. White Lab have under oath said Zheng was present, although
access logs do not show he was officially checked in and out of the
facility as required by DoD security directives.

Why is the question of which Army representatives were present for these tests an important issue? Because five
test technicians (both "shooters" and "recorders") have stated under
oath and penalty of perjury that the data forms presented for their
review at their depositions did not reflect their recall of the events.
That is, they did not recall Dragon Skin Level III body armor being
defeated by Level III rounds, yet the test reports — showing clear
signs of having been altered — did show such failures.

The
"chain of custody" of this test data and the resulting records should
be a focus point for the ongoing GAO body armor inquiry, if not for a
new criminal investigation.

A
reminder — the head of the PEO-Soldier office responsible for the
Army’s body armor program was then-Colonel John Norwood, highlighted in DefenseWatch on
several previous occasions. Norwood retired a few months after this
June 2006 test of Dragon Skin, going to work for Armor Holdings, a
major recipient of Army body armor contracts. (Armor Holdings was
bought by BAE, a major defense contractor in the summer of 2007.)

DefenseWatch reported on January 2 of this year that Norwood was under criminal investigation.

This
quote is from a April 4, 2008 news report in the Miami Herald that
stated Norwood and BAE Systems Specialty Defense Systems (the successor
entity to Armor Holdings’ body armor business) are both subjects of a
civil legal claim by a body armor competitor.

Point
Blank accuses BAE Systems Specialty Defense Systems of Pennsylvania and
John Norwood, a former Army program manager now employed with BAE’s
parent, of using confidential information Norwood learned while he was
with the Army to persuade a Point Blank subcontractor to enter into an
exclusive relationship with BAE.

MANIPULATING AND CORRUPTING TEST PROTOCOLS

The
President and CEO of Pinnacle Armor was unaware that this and some
other tests had even been conducted on his company’s body armor until
the discovery phase of his ongoing dispute with the Air Force produced
documentary evidence of these previously undisclosed "tests."

H.P.
White Lab conducted the tests under contract to support PEO-Soldier,
but the tests were conducted for the Air Force Office of Special
Investigation which had at the time a contract with Pinnacle Armor.

To state the obvious — the
fraudulent alterations are done to portray Dragon Skin as having failed
the ballistics tests, when in fact, as confirmed by several depositions
from persons involved in the tests at H.P. White Lab, Dragon Skin
passed the tests.

This
document and the others obtained by Pinnacle Armor are copies, not
originals. The actual perpetrators of the fraudulent alterations have
not yet been identified, but DefenseWatch has seen no evidence to date that implicates H.P. White Lab in any such misconduct.

DefenseWatch
reviewed information in three despositions that shows a number of
clever "tricks" used to manipulate and grossly violate the standard
test protocols that, if honestly implemented, should ensure all
products are "tested to the same standard," as a legion of Army
Acquisition capos have claimed.

For example, on one test of a Dragon Skin Level III body armor vest, an on-scene Army official directed that a Level IV round be fired into the Level III Dragon Skin test item.
The Level III Dragon Skin was penetrated by the Level IV round, but the
Army reported to the Air Force, which readily accepted the fraudulent
Army misrepresentation, that the Dragon Skin Level III vest had failed
to stop the round.

This blatant distortion totally ignored the key fact, that the shot was illegitimate and the penetration invalid because the penetration was by a Level IV round into a Level III vest.

Yep.
When the tests showed that the Level III Dragon Skin was defeating the
specified Level III rounds, some Army official — or officials –
simply directed the testers to substitute Level IV rounds in order to
get the desired result, i.e., a penetration of the Dragon Skin
ballistic protection. The test results were then falsely portrayed to the Air Force as a Dragon Skin failure.
(Whether the Air Force personnel were merely clueless about the
difference between Level III and Level IV, or were criminally complicit
in the fraud is an unanswered question at this point.)

Another
distortion of the test protocol was to remove the Dragon Skin ballistic
inset protection, i.e., the ceramic disks and their adhesive mesh, from
the kevlar vest, and to then shoot just this component — without the
"backing" that is an integral part of the design. One
deposed H.P. White Lab test technician said that such a test shot –
into a segregated component — should not be counted as a failure
under standard test criteria and protocols, and was not reported as a
failure by those recording the data at the time of the test!

The conclusion is crystal clear: Someone manipulated the data base to falsely record this test result as a failure.

Both
Interceptor Body Armor (IBA) and Dragon Skin body armor are designed to
be worn as complete units. Shooting Dragon Skin without its outer
tactical vest component would be akin to shooting IBA without its Outer
Tactical Vest, and everyone at H.P. White Lab and PEO-Soldier know this
to be the case. The Army’s own test protocol very clearly requires that
the solid ceramic ballistic plate be mounted in front the OTV component
for all tests. Dragon Skin must also be shot with the complete vest
assembled — the outer tactical vest component and the ballistic inset component.

Of
course, in this case, the Army reported to the Air Force that Dragon
Skin had failed to defeat the test round. The Army did not report that
the shot was outside standard criteria and protocols.

Not
surprisingly, the Air Force is protesting Pinnacle Armor’s efforts to
submit these depositions. It is also trying prevent these very same
test participants appearing as witnesses in an upcoming hearing on the
Air Force debarment action against Pinnacle Armor.

For those who have not followed DefenseWatch
reporting on the body armor controversy over the past 32 months, this
latest episode is yet one more example of the ugly truth the when it
comes to personal protective equipment for America’s Grunts — a fair, full and transparent test of Dragon Skin has never been conducted whenever the Army Acquisition capos controlled the testing.

To any objective observer, a strange paradox stands starkly exposed:

Whenever Dragon Skin has been tested by someone other than the Army Acquisition Mafiosi, its performance has been as advertised by the manufacturer.

– On the other hand, whenever
Dragon Skin has been tested under the control of the Army Acquisition
Mafiosi, its performance has not been as advertised by the manufacturer.

Is
it any wonder then that Lt.Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, nominated to
be Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, ordered eight sets of Dragon Skin
for himself and his personal staff in May 2006 while serving in
Baghdad, and that several Personal Security Detachments (PSD’s) also
had the option of using Dragon Skin instead of Interceptor?

Dragon Skin may not be "good enough" for today’s Soldiers, but it was fine for Lt.Gen. Chiarelli and his horse-holders.

For more reporting on this story,see this video clip of a news report by KSEE24 television in Fresno, California.

Army Acquisition Capos Fraudulently Alter Body Armor Test Results by
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About David Crane

David Crane started publishing online in 2001. Since that time, governments, military organizations, Special Operators (i.e. professional trigger pullers), agencies, and civilian tactical shooters the world over have come to depend on Defense Review as the authoritative source of news and information on "the latest and greatest" in the field of military defense and tactical technology and hardware, including tactical firearms, ammunition, equipment, gear, and training.

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