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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Senator Dodd to force the Department of Defense to reinburse troops for body armour

Oh, that Donald Rumsfeld is just shameless. It's bad enough that the troops had to purchase their own body amour while they fight over in Iraq. Now, after almost three years the Department of Defense still hasn't reinburse the troops for for the cost of the body amour and now Senator Chris Dodd is promising to hold Rumsfeld and the Department of Defense accountable.

From the Marine Corps Times
Tired of waiting for the Pentagon to launch an authorized program to reimburse troops who buy their own personal protective gear for combat deployments, the chief congressional sponsor of the program wants to wrest control of it from defense officials.

Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., attached a provision to last year’s defense authorization bill authorizing — but not requiring — the Defense Department to reimburse troops up to $1,100 for the expense of body armor and other protective gear and health and safety equipment not provided by the military.

The Pentagon has never paid a dime. Defense officials have said in letters to Dodd that they are still working on the regulations, and that part of the delay is the result of responsibility passing between various offices. Pentagon insiders said a final regulation that would allow reimbursement to begin immediately has been drafted but has not been approved by all the services.

At a Thursday news conference, Dodd said he is not sure why it is taking so long and wonders whether the Pentagon intends to actually reimburse anyone.
“The administration is either showing complete incompetence or utter indifference,” he said. “It feels as if I am getting a rope-a-dope with them, hoping I would go away.”

Dodd apologized to service members, their family and friends for the delay and vowed to try to get a provision attached to another defense bill — probably the 2006 defense appropriations bill — ordering reimbursement and putting unit commanders, not Pentagon officials, in charge.