A government investigation found “endemic manufacturing problems” at a company that was selling combat helmets to the federal government. The people found that Federal Prison Industries (FPI) had sold millions of dollars’ worth of defective combat helmets. The Justice Department’s inspector general released a scathing report on practices at the company, a government-operated group that employed inmates to manufacture nearly 150,000 military helmets.
The helmets produced contained serious “deformities,” according to the report, including “ballistic failures,” “blisters” and “expired paint.” The helmets were also manufactured with “unauthorized methods.” The report found:
A surprise inspection by the [inspector general’s office] and military personnel uncovered inmates … openly using improvised tools on the helmets, which damaged the helmets’ ballistic material, and created the potential for the tools’ use as weapons in the prison.
The inspector general also discovered “testing and quality control” problems, as FPI “pre-selected helmets for inspection,” violating the terms of a Defense Department contract that called for random testing. The report also said that the company instructed inmates to forge documents to make it appear helmets had passed inspection.
The inspector general’s office said it found no information of any soldiers who had been killed or injured as a result of the defective helmets. The military recalled the helmets in 2010 and production stopped at that time. Federal Prison Industries had two contracts to manufacture military helmets. The Pentagon had paid ArmorSource, an Ohio-based private military contractor, more than $30 million to build more than 126,000 helmets. ArmorSource later subcontracted with FPI.
The Defense Department also hired FPI directly to build another 23,000 helmets, but it was never paid for these helmets after they were “quarantined.” The FPI manufacturing facility where these helmets were built was shut down and ArmorSource agreed to pay a $3 million settlement for what the inspector general called a lack of oversight.
Source: TheHill.com by Tim Devaney
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