For the second time since the Iraq war began, the Pentagon is struggling to replace body armor that is failing to protect American troops from the most lethal attacks by insurgents.Turns out its not just a problem over there. You may recall the corrections officer, Wayne "Cotton" Morgan, who was shot and killed last week by the wife of a prisoner who was helping him escape.
The ceramic plates in vests worn by most personnel cannot withstand certain munitions the insurgents use. But more than a year after military officials initiated an effort to replace the armor with thicker, more resistant plates, tens of thousands of soldiers are still without the stronger protection because of a string of delays in the Pentagon's procurement system.
The effort to replace the armor began in May 2004, just months after the Pentagon finished supplying troops with the original plates - a process also plagued by delays. The officials disclosed the new armor effort Wednesday after questioning by The New York Times, and acknowledged that it would take several more months or longer to complete.
Morgan, who was also Secretary-Treasurer of AFSCME Local 2173, was not wearing a bullet-proof vest. The other officer with Morgan when he was killed, Larry Harris
said the vests were bulky and ill-fitting. Brushy Mountain supervisors put in an order to outfit the guards with personally-sized vests a month ago. The guards are still waiting to be measured, Harris said.
[Correction spokeswoman Amanda] Sluss said TDOC officials always work to make job conditions safer. She said security precautions have not changed in the wake of Morgan's shooting, noting that the department has strict policies in place now.
But, she said, officials review those policies every three years.