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Body Armor Shortfall48:22

This article is more than 16 years old.
photoTens of thousands of US soldiers fighting insurgents in Iraq still do not have the most basic protection — body armor with bullet-resistant ceramic plates strong enough to withstand deadly attacks and the rigors of the battlefield.

The enhanced armor first went to the Special Forces. Then as the insurgency drew out, every soldier needed one. Manufacturers are producing the plates but not fast enough. The Pentagon says that it plans to increase production to 25,000 sets a month. But the Army would need nearly 2 million to supply all 996,000 troops worldwide.

It is a shortfall of leadership and procurement that many say has created a failure to adequately protect the men and women fighting the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Hear about the body armor shortages, and why U.S. soldiers in Iraq still don't have what they need.


Michael Moss, reporter, The New York Times.

Christian Lowe, staff writer, Marine Corps Times.

Larry Korb, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and assistant secretary of defense under Reagan from 1981 to 1985.

David Woroner, president of Survival Consultants International. He has worked in the executive protection field since 1991 and has studies ballistics for over 15 years.

This program aired on August 18, 2005.