STATEMENT OF TASK
The National Research Council will convene a committee to consider the technical issues relating to the testing of body armor. To do this the committee shall conduct a 3-phase study:
In Phase I the 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.
In Phase II the 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.
In Phase III the 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.
The final report will document the committee’s findings pertaining to the following issues that are of particular immediate concern to DOT&E [Director of Testing and Evaluation] 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 BFD [backface deformation] 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.