call for information : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I have just heard from a friend who is very upset by a new item just out on Fox t.v. It is his understanding from the broadcast that equipment used by US troops in bio-chem warfare is defective and warnings have been issued to US troops regarding continued/current use. Allegedly the government knew of these defects five years ago. I have no print media to back this, but it fits in with the paradigm of Gulf War Syndrome and other health problems encountered by our military.

If the Forum can substantiate the report, don't the participants think it's time for a central government posting of contractors and contracts on government programs that we can all understand. IF IT'S TRUE someone needs to be held accountable.

I hope this is a misunderstanding. If so, this is the place to toss it and correct it. Responses from participants will be welcome. This is too serious to be worried about flames.

-- mike in houston (, February 27, 2000


Pentagon warns soldiers about defective germ-warfare garb


Earlier this month, the Pentagon alerted U.S. facilities around the world that hundreds of thousands of protective suits meant to shield GIs from gas and germ attack may have holes and other critical defects, according to military officials and documents.

On Feb. 9, the Pentagon cautioned commanders not to use any of the 778,000 suits except in training. The suits, not all of which are defective, cost the government almost $49 million.

The Pentagon learned about the flaws five years ago but did not consider the problems crucial and needed the gear for U.S. peacekeeping troops in Bosnia, criminal investigators say. A second study was conducted late last year on the same suits, the investigators said in an interview, and that prompted the warning.

The defects included "cuts, holes, embedded foreign matter and stitching irregularities," the Pentagon inspector general said in a report being released this week. The defects potentially could kill people wearing the trousers and jackets in a "chemical-biological contaminated environment," the report said.

A bankrupt New York City-based company, which the inspector general identified as Istratex, produced the charcoal-lined camouflage suits under two contracts dating from 1989. Soldiers wear the suits over their regular camouflage gear where chemical or biological weapons might be used. It was unclear whether any of the suits were worn by troops in the 1990-91 Desert Shield-Desert Storm operation.

Last September, Istratex's president and production manager pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in New York to one count of making false statements. Other officials were charged with obstruction of justice and making false certificate or writing. They had been charged with conspiracy to defraud the government, major fraud and false claims.

Pentagon criminal investigators said they pointed out to the Defense Logistics Agency, which manages inventories, problems with some of the "battle-dress overgarments" in 1995.

In 1996, the agency's testers, at the investigators' request, studied 500 of the suits and found defects in 174, officials said.

The Defense Logistics Agency identified the problems as major but not "safety-of-life critical defects," said Mitchell Schlitt, the case agent for the inspector general's Defense Criminal Investigative Service in New York.

"So because of a need for these suits for the Bosnia action, they stated a need to retain these in stock," Schlitt said.

Three years later, last September, the criminal investigators asked for new tests, this time by Army designers of the suit, Schlitt said. Examining the same suits, the new team found the defects were, in fact, critical.

According to the military standard, a critical flaw is one that "would result in hazardous or unsafe conditions or ... is likely to prevent performance of the tactical function." By comparison, the official standard says a major defect is not much better: It is "likely to result in failure or to reduce materially the usability of the ... product."

The guilty pleas of the Istratex executives were to prosecution allegations that the company intentionally manufactured faulty gear, then duped government inspectors by clandestinely switching small quantities of well-made garments for flawed ones during inspections. Sentencing is set for April, and the executives face jail terms and fines.

The investigators examined suits only from one contract for 173,000 suits. The second contract covered the remaining suits, approximately 605,000, but the prosecutors did not examine those. Still, the Pentagon's alert warns U.S. forces that defective suits might be found among all 778,000 made under the two deals.

The Defense Logistics Agency found 334,000 suits at its depot in Albany, Ga., that are "potentially deficient and attributable to the manufacturer in question," said Gerda Parr, an agency spokeswoman. That leaves 444,000 suits made by Istratex.

James Kornides, the top auditor on the case, believes many of the suits were deployed to far-flung places. "That's why we wanted them to ... alert the operational units that those suits could be defective," he said.

His audit found the Georgia depot, which stores much of the military's chemical-protective gear, not only did not know if it held flawed suits but also didn't know how many suits it had at all. In the case of one type of garment, the depot had overstated the inventory by 31,277 suits.

************************************** My comments: I suspect the reason why this subject has now been raised is because the Pentagon is trying to force Congress to go along with forced anthrax shots. Bubba's buddies probably ran the company with the contract. However, it should be pointed out that any suit with a pin-hole leak could be deadly in a nerve gas environment. How do you carry around or use such suits in a warfare environment and not get some damaged? You don't. What happens when you want to remove the suit and it has traces of nerve gas on the outside of it? That's why there is no real defense against nerve gas.

-- Y2kObserver (, February 27, 2000.

As bad as this is, the military can pony up the bucks to replace their NBC (nuclear, biological,chemical) suits. But what about all the folks who purchased one of those pricey things for personal use if TSHTF?

Personally I'd be more likely to use one for scent-blocking while deer hunting. But if things got bad, I'd use it if it was all I had. You can do wonders with duct tape in conjunction with a real good eyeball inspection of the seams.

If you recall, when you seal up between your gloves or boots and the suit you use duct tape. If it could handle those large open seams, it should work for seam sealing and repairs on the suit itself.


-- Wildweasel (, February 28, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ