A disturbing new report reveals two stunning facts: prison inmates produce helmets for our military, and many of the helmets have been defective, potentially causing injuries and death.Federal inmates made more than 100,000 combat helmets for the United States military and then hid them from inspectors, with some of those manufactured going directly to the battlefield, leaving troops vulnerable to danger.
According to the New York Daily News, A Justice Department Inspector General report released Wednesday said inmates at a Beaumont, Tex., prison passed off hack helmets between 2006 and 2009, as part of a $30 million deal between the Department of Defense and Ohio-based manufacturer ArmorSource. Federal Prison Industries also served as a subcontractor.The prisoners made Kevlar helmets that “were manufactured with degraded or unauthorized ballistic materials, used expired paints and unauthorized manufacturing methods,” the report said.
The inmates took a series of shortcuts in manufacturing — such as altering serial numbers, and filling gaps in helmets with Kevlar dust.
The contract required randomly selected helmets for government inspection. But FPI “pre-selected” the helmets it sent, keeping the production problems under wraps, the report said.The inmates also altered documents to make it seem like some helmets passed inspection and met all manufacturing requirements.
The military didn’t realize the problem until some of the helmets found their way into combat. The Army in 2010 recalled 44,000 helmets made by ArmorSource — including some used in Afghanistan — and announced a federal probe into the company.
The Justice Department then announced this March it settled a case against ArmorSource and FPI over the helmets, for $3 million. The settlement did not require the companies to admit wrongdoing.The report stated that ArmorSource did not provide “adequate oversight of the manufacture” of these helmets, leading to a massive recall of more than 126,000 units, costing a total of $19 million.
Such an incredibly awful lack of oversight is absolutely unacceptable, especially since this failure led to many of our troops being put in harm’s way unnecessarily.
Why in the world would our government put the safety of our men and women in uniform in the hands of a bunch of criminals? Surely this sort of outcome should’ve been expected or at least prepared for, right?Leave it to the government to be so inept it would trust a hardened criminal with the lives of our military members and be shocked when things go awry.
[Note: This article was written by Michael Cantrell]