House officials pushing for better helmets
June 22, 2006
WASHINGTON — House officials will push for the Department of Defense to identify and purchase “the best helmet and lining system” as part of next year’s military spending bill.
Last week members of the House Armed Services Committee grilled Army and Marine commanders over differences in their headgear, after receiving reports that more than 9,000 troops had contacted a private charity to get free helmet padding inserts.
The two services use different styles of helmets, and told congressional investigators that they have not previously coordinated their research efforts regarding the best-performing headgear.
As part of Tuesday’s approval of the 2007 Defense Appropriations bill, Reps. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., and Steve Buyer, R-Ind., pushed for language requiring a complete evaluation of both services’ helmet sling and pad suspension systems.
The proposal would also require the analysis be finished within 60 days of the bill’s passage, and the Defense Department immediately respond to the findings by purchasing the appropriate helmet for all troops.
The language was not included in the bill approved by the House on Tuesday, but Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla., chairman of the defense subcommittee of the House Appropriations committee, said he would push for that funding when the bill goes to conference with the Senate.
The full Senate has not yet taken up any debate on appropriations plans.