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13 February 2008

Join Veterans to Demand Hearings on Substandard Helmet Procurement

From VoteVets.org:

Last week, the New York Times reported that the Bush Pentagon had agreed to a contract for more Kevlar helmets for our troops from the very company that was being sued for cheating troops out of helmets that met military standards. Especially at a time when so many troops are in harm’s way, no such company should ever receive a new contract. Demand that Congress investigate how this could have happened, by signing our petition below. We’ll deliver your signatures to Capitol Hill.

Petition to Demand Hearings on Substandard Helmet Procurement

We the undersigned call upon the United States Congress to investigate how Sioux Manufacturing received a contract from the Bush Administration’s Pentagon to produce Kevlar helmets for our troops, after the company was found to have previously produced substandard helmets in the past.

As detailed by the New York Times:

“A North Dakota manufacturer has agreed to pay $2 million to settle a suit saying it had repeatedly shortchanged the armor in up to 2.2 million helmets for the military, including those for the first troops sent to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Twelve days before the settlement with the Justice Department was announced, the company, Sioux Manufacturing of Fort Totten, was given a new contract of up to $74 million to make more armor for helmets to replace the old ones, which were made from the late 1980s to last year.”

For years, Sioux Manufacturing had produced helmets that were far weaker than required by the U.S. Military and covered it up. Again, the New York Times reports:

In a conversation Mr. Kenner secretly taped, Rhea Crane, quality assurance officer, worried "if we ever had someone get killed, and they decided to investigate because they thought maybe the helmet wasn't any good."
"If we ever got audited," she said, "you know what they would do to us. Shut us down and fine us big time. Probably never see another government contract."

Sioux should have never gotten another contract, and yet they did, even as the company was being sued by the government. Congress must immediately investigate how this was allowed to happen.

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