The National Research Council will convene specialists in committee form to consider the technical issues relating to the testing of body armor. To do this the National Research Council shall conduct a 3-phase study:
In Phase I a committee will comment on the validity of using laser-profilometry/ laser-interferometry techniques to determine the contours of an indent made by a ballistic test in a non-transparent clay material at the level of precision established in the Army’s procedures for testing personal body armor. If laser-profilometry / laser-interferometry is not a valid method, the committee will consider whether a digital caliper can be used instead to collect valid data. The Committee will also provide interim observations regarding the column drop performance test described by the Army for assessing the part to part consistency of a clay body used in testing body armor. The committee will prepare a letter report documenting the findings from its Phase I considerations. This is a six week effort beginning November 1 2009 and ending mid December 2009.
In Phase II a committee will consider in greater detail the validity of using the column drop performance test described by the Army for assessing the part-to-part consistency of a clay body within the level of precision that is identified by the Army test procedures. The committee will prepare a letter report documenting the findings from its Phase II considerations. This is a three months effort beginning November 1 2009 and ending early February 2010.
In Phase III a committee will consider test materials, protocols and standards that should be used for future testing of personal armor by the Army. The committee will also consider any other issues associated with body armor testing that the committee considers relevant, including issues raised in the Government Accountability Office Report—-Warfighter Support, Independent Expert Assessment of Body Armor Test Results and Procedures Needed Before Fielding (GAO-10-119). The committee will prepare a final report. This is a 14-months effort beginning November 1 2009 and ending January 2011.
The final report will document the committee’s findings pertaining to the following issues that are of particular immediate concern to DOT&E including the following:
•The best methods for obtaining consistency of the clay, and of conditioning and calibrating the clay backing used currently to test armor.
•The best instrumentation (e.g., laser scanning system, digital caliper, etc.) and procedures to use to measure the back face deformation (BFD) in the clay.
•The appropriate use of statistical techniques (e.g., rounding numbers, choosing sample sizes, or test designs) in gathering the data.
•The appropriate criteria to apply to determine whether body armor plates can provide needed protection to soldiers; this includes the proper prescription for determining whether a test results in a partial or complete penetration of body armor, including, as appropriate, the soft armor underlying hard armor.
The final report will also document the committee’s findings regarding any other issues regarding body armor testing that the committee found relevant. The study team will have access to all data with respect to body armor testing that the team needs for the conduct of the study.