August 19, 2016
By Lorra B.
A report released on Wednesday by a Justice Department Inspector General stated that thousands of faulty military helmets were produced by a prison facility which put service members at risk.
The Federal Prison Industries (FPI), a U.S.-government owned business, manufactured the helmets for both the Marine Corps and the Army but the contract was actually awarded to ArmorSource LLC—a private company. So FPI was the subcontractor while ArmorSource received $30.3 million for the contract between 2006 and 2009.
According to The Washington Post, the facility was plagued with problems “including the use of degraded armor and the submission of pre-selected helmets for inspection to make sure they would get approved.”
The thousands of ballistic helmets made by the prisoners have a number of flaws including ‘serious ballistic failures,’ blisters, improper mounting-hole placement and unauthorized or degraded materials, according to the report, and were sold to the military anyway.
“Helmets also had other defects such as deformities and the investigations found that rejected helmets were sold to the DOD [Department of Defense],” the report stated.
The FPI received a contract to produce the Marine Corps Lightweight Helmet (LMCH). Approximately 23,000 were produced for $23,019,629. The Department of Defense were sold 3,000 of those helmets.
“However, the FPI did not receive payment for these 3,000 helmets because more than half of them were subsequently determined to be defective, and all 23,000 helmets were ultimately quarantined,” the report stated.
“The investigations further disclosed that the ACH helmets produced by FPI were also defective, and that both the ACH and LMCH helmets posed a potential safety risk to the user.”
Investigations determined that both the ACH and LMCH helmets were not manufactured in accordance to specifications.
In 2010 the Army recalled 44,000 helmets, including many that were in use in Afghanistan. There was an open investigation into ArmorSource at that time.
“Helmets were manufacturing with degraded or unauthorized ballistic materials, used expired paint (on LMCH) and unauthorized manufacturing methods. Helmets also had other defects such as deformities and the investigations found that rejected helmets were sold to the DOD.”
The Justice Department announced that ArmorSource had agreed to a settlement of $3 million “to resolve false claims.”
According to the inspector general the Defense Contract Management Agency is supposed to oversee the manufacturing for the military but failed to do so. They lacked training, turned in false reports and did not conduct reviews.
In all, 126,052 helmets were recalled and the cost a whopping $19.1 million to the American people.
Federal prosecutors, however, will not be pressing charges. The report stated that a Justice Department spokesperson, Peter Carr, said the department does not give any explanation about charges that were not filed, it’s a matter of policy.
The facility was closed and all staff were transferred to other positions within the Federal Bureau of Prison systems…no criminal prosecutions.
By Lorra B.