The General Accounting Office said the Defense Department has lost track of at least 250,000 defective protective suits that were being stored for U.S. soldiers overseas. The congressional watchdog said more than 750,000 suits have been deemed as defective by the Pentagon.
The GAO said that the defects were discovered in 1996 during the U.S. peacekeeping mission in Bosnia. Since then, the Pentagon appears to have lost track of hundreds of thousands of suits, Middle East Newsline reported.
“We have received no evidence they have found [the remaining defective] 250,000 suits,” Raymond Decker, a GAO director, told the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security.
Decker told the subcommittee that unless the defective suits are located they could be handed out to troops being deployed for combat operations. The military’s Central Command has ordered thousands of suits for troops being prepared for any war against Iraq. The regime of President Saddam Hussein is said to have both biological and chemical weapons.
The Pentagon’s Defense Logistic Agency asserts that it has identified all the faulty suits.