HEADQUARTERS MARINE CORPS -- The Marine Corps wants its Marines and sailors to know that the body armor it issues is the best available for combat despite recent inquiries concerning replacement gear.
The armor the Marine Corps issues has met government test standards, and in many cases, the standards exceed civilian testing, said Maj. Bradford W. Tippett, infantry advocate for Headquarters Marine Corps in a recent interview with reporter Lance Cpl. David Rodgers.
Recent media attention has painted commercial body armor with the notion of being an alternative to the gear already being issued, but such armor is not required to meet government test standards and, therefore, does not necessarily provide the same level of protection to the Marine, said Tippett.
"Don't believe everything you see on TV or the Internet," said Tippett. "We have a great group of Marines and civilians whose only job is to ensure that we have the right requirements for our armor that truly meet the standards we require."
The Corps' department for plans, policy and operation published in April the policy on wear and purchase of personal protective equipment. In it states that Marines and sailors may not replace issued armor with commercial protective equipment; however, commanders may authorize the use of commercial armor if it doesn't interfere with the functionality of the issued gear.
However, more armor could be a hindrance on, for instance, a foot patrol with a full battle load and temperatures reaching up to 115 degrees in some operational zones.
Moreover, commanders are also not authorized to use unit funds to purchase commercial items that do not meet government test standards. Marines can buy their own equipment, but they will not be reimbursed.