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Special Briefing on Chemical Protective Suits

Presenters: Lieutenant General Henry T. Glisson, Director, Defense Logistics Agency
February 28, 2000 4:30 PM EDT

Monday, February 28, 2000 - 4:33 p.m. EST

Special Briefing on Chemical Protective Suits

Mr. Bacon: This is Lieutenant General Tom Glisson, who is the director of the Defense Logistics Agency. And he'll make a brief statement and then answer your questions.

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Now, what I'd like to be able to do this afternoon is really a couple of things, is -- one is to provide you some additional information on the article that appeared recently concerning the chemical protective suits; and second, to tell you about the process we use as we purchase those, and what we do before we issue them, and then after they're issued how they are maintained and checked to make sure that at no time do we ever put any of our armed forces in jeopardy in that serious environment.

Let me start first by talking about the process that we use as we acquire items in the Department of Defense in the Defense Logistics Agency, with protective garments and others that are sensitive or life-critical. What we do, we actually have people inside the contractors' plants, and they do quality assurance checks as the items are being produced. Once we receive those from the contractor, within the Defense Logistics Agency we have product test centers which take the garments or the product, whatever it happens to be, and we do sample lot testing to make sure that it meets the performance specifications or the other specifications that we've asked that they be able to do. And then once those are certified, we then make the issue to the military services.

In the case of the chemical protective garments, there's an additional check which is performed by the military services. The shelf life on a chemical protective garment is five years. Once they are issued to the military services, any time those are taken out of the container, they can no longer be used for chemical protection; we use those for training purposes. Those that stay within the packaging that we issue them in are actually good for five years. After five years, every year after they must be inspected and certified as meeting the full property use that we intended them for. And so that's sort of the system that we have in order to make sure that we don't place anyone in jeopardy.

Now, let me get to this particular case, if I may, that was cited in the article. On this particular one -- we have two lots that are in question on this one that we took a look at -- 1989 and 1992. We had five contractors at the time that were actually producing chemical protective garments. This one company had two contracts for us. We had dealt with this company on numerous occasions and they had produced always quality work for us. We had checked their work and we never had any difficulties at all with them.

In 1994, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, acting on information they had, went to one of this contractor's plants in Puerto Rico and noted what they thought were some discrepancies in the way they were manufacturing cold-weather parkas at the time, I recall.

We were not manufacturing chemical protective garments there and we did not do that after the fact. In fact, the chemical protective garment was manufactured in the United States. However, because we knew that there was a potential there that this company might not be living up to their obligations, we took our 1992 contract of chemical protective garments and we basically froze those and did not want to issue those because we did not want to in any way jeopardize service members by giving them a product, particularly in the chemical environment, that did not meet full specifications. We had no reason at that time to suspect that anything was wrong, but we wanted to err on the side of safety. And we held those garments, the 1992 garments, until 1996.

In 1994, as I told you, the DCIS actually continued on with their investigation, and that carried on in through till today. That case is still under litigation, and I really can't talk about what the findings of that will be because I'm just not aware of what the final outcome will be.

In 1996, however, we were in the middle of changing between the old chemical protective garment and the new variant which we are in the process of producing today. We had a surge requirement -- so we weren't buying any of the old garments, the old battle-dress overgarments or the protective chemical protective garments. We had an immediate surge requirement for Bosnia to meet. We knew that we wanted to provide our service members with as much protection as we could, the maximum protection in that environment in case of chemical use. We went back to the '92 stock which we had held and not issued. We conducted a full range of testing on each one of those garments to make sure that they were fully capable and functional. We did a sample lot, went through all of that. We found them to be fully operational and functional. And we issued 120,000 of those to our service members for use.

Now, you've seen in the paper this 778,000 number of chemical protective overgarments which are in question. Let me, if I may, clarify that just a minute. This particular company manufactured two lots, one in 1989, for which we have tested, both through the plant and our testing, and we found no quality problems at all. And we had issued those, or had issued most of that.

That 1989 lot was never in question. That was about 607,000 garments. The lot in question, the 1992 lot, was 173,000. That's the one which is at issue, not the total 778(,000). Out of that 1992 lot, as I said, we issued 120,000 for use in Bosnia. We still have 53,000 of that in our warehouses, which we've still had on hold since that point in time and have not issued. We also have the remaining of the '89 lot, which we also put on hold and did not issue.

In 1999, in October, the litigation was nearing its closure and we went back and did another check on the '92 lot, the same items that we had looked at several years earlier, taken out of the packages, manipulated and we put that back in. We looked at those again, and we made the decision that because of the shelf life of the items and because if there was any implication that these were suspect, and in fact we did not need these anymore because we were issuing the new ones, we made the determination to declare all of those as for training use only. And that's why we did that.

Where we are today is we've issued a message to the field in both December and in February identifying the lot numbers and asking the field that if you have any of these, please check to ensure suitability. If they feel that they're not, they'll take them out and won't even use them for training. But that's all they can be used for today.

To put this in perspective for you, we have a requirement today for 4.5 million chemical protective garments. Approximately 3.5 million represent the older garment and a variant of the new garment, called the Saratoga, which the Marines have, and we have about 500,000 of the objective garment, which we are coming out with. So the most that there could be in the field since 1996 -- we issued 120 in 1996. Four years later, I seriously doubt that we have still have 120 left out of that 4.5 million garments that we have. Once those are issued for use, they can only be used for training after that, so if they were issued at all during the Bosnian operation, they would have been turned into training garments and would not have -- would not have still be on the shelf or used for a real contingency.

But the answer is, I don't know how many of those 120 are still out there. That's what the message is for. And that's why we do the annual test.

This was a 1993 production run. As you recall, I've said there are five-year shelf life on these items. That means in 1998 -- you have to inspect them every year. So the owners of these garments, which are the services, have to physically look at these and extend their shelf life, based on them meeting the full functional requirements to protect them in a chemical environment.

Yes, ma'am?

Q: General, were any of the garments that you inspected found to be defective?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Let me clarify the word "defective," if I may. When we did the 1996 test, we found mostly cosmetic problems with the garments. And when I talk about "cosmetics," what I'm talking about is a snag on the outer garment; the camouflage coloring a little off, not -- maybe the pattern wasn't exactly right; a stitch -- an irregular stitch on one of the seams. But there were no critical function errors found or deficiencies found when we did the 1996 test, and that's why we made the decision to issue those.

Q: Sir, what --

Lt. Gen. Glisson: If they were not completely safe -- we had eight people do those tests, and I have people who are professional scientists that do this for a living, and all eight of them signed a document which said that they in fact certified that these were fully functional and completely safe for the people in our armed forces.

Q: So the same garments were tested later, a few years later --

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Correct.

Q: -- by the Natick Army people --

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Correct.

Q: -- and they were found to be critical defects, instead of major defects. Isn't that correct?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Three years later we had a different crew, different organization, take a look at the garments. Their assessment -- and I've read their assessment -- they cite seven critical, which, in terms of critical, are not the minor cosmetic issues that I just talked about. But if you take a look at what those critical are, they are not holes, tears, those kinds of things. Where they are is where threads have separated and have now opened up a little bit. It could be age. I don't know what it is. Out of the seven critical deficiencies that they noted, there was only one where the garment had had what we could call a hole in it, where the fabric had become separated and one that we would really be concerned about.

Q: But critical is critical, right?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: But critical is critical. That's correct. But I can't tell you why the disintegration or why the difference. When we talk about looking at these things, I mean, separation along the seam is an area that you'd want to take a look at.

I don't know if, over the three-year period, because we had taken those out of the bag, if you take them out of the bag in the field, as soon as you take them out you can no longer use them again because their shelf life degrades.

Q: A couple of investigators found that this company was intentionally giving you a fraudulent product.

Lt. Gen. Glisson: I don't know that to be true. That's still in litigation, and I've not seen that, and I wouldn't feel comfortable making it --

Q: Haven't officials with the company pleaded guilty to several charges?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: I'm not familiar with what they've done or haven't done, and I really can't get into that. It's still under litigation. DCIS will have to answer that question for you. I don't know the answer to that.

Q: Just to clear up a couple of points, were there any problems with any of the chemical protection suits issued during the Persian Gulf War?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: I don't know. None of these garments were used during the Persian Gulf War. These were 1992 contract.

Q: Of the 120,000 that were issued to troops that went to Bosnia, were any of those subsequently found to have had any defects in them?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Not to my knowledge, and the only way I would know that -- as I told you, I don't retain the stock. I buy the stock and issue it to the services. The stock, the material, is then inspected by the services. They have people who are trained to do that. They maintain that equipment in separate rooms in operational stock. The only way I know if there's been a problem is if I receive a quality deficiency report back from the service. I have none, and have not received any on any of those garments.

Q: How confident are you that if any of these soldiers had faced a chemical threat, they would have been protected by these suits?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: I'm totally confident, or I wouldn't have issued the garments. I'm confident that the testing that we did on the ones that we issued were, in fact, ready to be worn and used for their intended purpose.

Q: So, just to be clear, the 120,000 that were issued for Bosnia were inspected and certified to be --

Lt. Gen. Glisson: We did lot sampling and found those were ready and fully functional.

Q: You say sampling. Does that mean you just took five or six out of a lot of 100 or 1,000?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: We did a statistical sampling. We took, if my memory serves me correct, 500 garments and tested those 500. We found no critical -- no critical deficiencies at all. Nothing that would have caused it not to protect a soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, in a chemical environment.

If I might go back to the cosmetic, because it's kind of important. There are layers on this garment, in case you haven't seen it. The important layers are on the inside. That's the part that protects you from the infiltration of the chemical itself.

The outer garment is a shell. And what you don't want, you don't want that damaged to the point that where you then put at risk what's on the inside. So there is some leeway on having some minor cosmetic stuff with the outer garment and not have to worry about it providing the protection that we need it to provide.

Yes, sir?

Q: Just for clarification, out of the 100-plus-thousand, you found only seven to have what would be described as critical defects?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: In the 500 sample that they just took in '99, they found seven with critical defects.

Q: Seven kinds of defects, right?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Seven critical defects.

Q: Seven kinds of defects, not seven pieces of clothing?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: That's correct. That's correct. And I have the list of what they are, and they run the range from a separation in the trouser in the thigh area where it wasn't stitched. There are others where there is seam stress, and what that means is when the garment was stitched and folded, it didn't catch exactly or it crumpled it up together in a way that it shouldn't have. Those are the kinds of things that we're talking about here, it is not large holes, large tears, that sort of thing.

Q: But when you say there are seven types, of the 500 garments -- first of all, when you talk about 500 garments, we're talking about a jacket and a pair of pants, two separate --

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Generally, yes.

Q: So if 120,000 garments were sent over for Bosnia, we're talking about 60,000 suits?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: We're talking about 120,000 suits.

Q: Suits?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Complete ensembles.

Q: Okay.

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Gloves, boots, trousers and jacket.

Q: We're not counting the pieces separately, then?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Right. Right.

Q: I just wanted to be clear on that. And of the 500 tested in '99, how many of the suits or the garments themselves had problems? Rather than just seven types of problems, how many of the 500 had problems?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: I don't have that number with me. All I know is there were seven that were deemed critical, and if any -- based on the statistical sampling, we didn't want to take a chance on any of the others. They were out of date anyway; there was no reason to keep -- to issue them other than for training purposes. The new variant is coming on line. If they had not found any, we probably would not have issued.

But remember, we did the 1999 sampling to determine -- to help with the litigation of the case, it was not because we suspected -- we had learned anything more or less since 1996. And so that's sort of where we --

Q: Okay. But just to be clear, is it seven suits that had problems that were critical, or are there seven critical types of problems that were found in who knows how many suits?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: These are seven different garments.

Q: Okay.

Q: So these critical defects could have been found in 500 suits?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Could have been. But I don't recall what the sampling number was. But out of the 500, I remember the total that were minor deficiencies -- major deficiencies and critical deficiencies, and it was nowhere near the 500. I just don't recall what the number was. But seven sticks in my mind because those are ones where you really don't want to issue a garment at that point in time.

Yes, sir? Go ahead.

Q: Of the 120,000 that we shipped to Bosnia, when 1998 rolled around --

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Right.

Q: -- was the five-year shelf life in place then, or had it been affected at all by the '96 task?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: No, sir.

Q: So what would have happened in 1998, to those suits that were in the field?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Let me answer it two ways, if I may.

I don't know that all 120,000 of those suits went to Bosnia. What I know is they issued 120,000 to the services, as they were preparing for Bosnia. So I don't know how many actually got there. That's one piece of the equation. Some could still have stayed in the States and never been used because the units didn't deploy; I mean, I don't know that.

The second part is, 1998, because each of the garments is identified as when it was produced, the people that we have trained in the services; at the end of the fifth year, they have to physically examine each one of those, to take a look at those and make sure that it still maintains the functionality. And then they do that every year, and they certify that.

Does that answer your question?

Q: Right. So they would only be in use now, if they had been inspected two or three times?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Correct. That's correct. We would only declare them functionally capable for other than training, if in fact we had made the inspection and made that call, and we have people trained to do that.

Q: This is not sampling? This is individual garments?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: This is individual garments. This is every individual garment.

Q: Did the services do that?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Sir, I can't tell you. That's what the policy and procedure is. All the units that I belonged to do that, religiously. It's an area that you just -- you know -- it's a Zero Defects Program. We have people trained that do that for a living.

Q: Is there any evidence to suggest a single serviceman who received a suit that would not have protected them?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: I have none.

Q: And how do you respond to the criticism that the Army didn't move fast enough to remove these potentially defective suits from the inventory to prevent them from being issued?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: I guess I would respond by saying if we had any indication, any indication that we had suits out there that would have been potentially dangerous to anyone in the Department of Defense, we would have done that. We had none. We tested and were satisfied with the test results of each of those garments that we issued. Again, it's a zero defects business for us when you get into chemical protective garments. It's one that we take very seriously.

Yes, sir?

Q: I just want to clarify. Okay, there's 500 garments that were tested in '96 by DLA, and they were found to have major defects but not critical defects; right?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Correct.

Q: The same 500 garments were tested three years later by the Natick -- I forget the exact name of the people, but they're the people who designed the suit.

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Right.

Q: They did find critical defects.

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Correct.

Q: I believe it was 174 out of 500.

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Could have been.

Q: Okay.

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Not critical, but defects, right.

Q: Okay. An undetermined number of which were critical.

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Seven.

Q: Okay, seven.

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Correct.

Q: All right. But those 500 suits were from the same batch of suits that went over to Bosnia; right?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: They were from the same contract that we had, that's correct.

Q: Okay. Now, you're saying seven out of 500 were critical --

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Correct.

Q: -- defects.

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Correct.

Q: And you don't know how many other sorts of defects there were, because the number "174" sticks in my mind --

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Could be. For total defects. It could be. But those could have been 100 cosmetic defects, for all I know.

Q: And you're saying only seven of those were critical.

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Correct.

Q: And how do you account for the fact that these critical defects appeared in the second inspection? Do you think it was just a matter of aging?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: I have no idea, because I did not examine the test results. I don't know what the difference was.

Q: Is it possible that the second inspections involved a higher standard, that they were more critical inspections?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: I would not think so. My product test centers, we want to make sure we get what we ask for in terms of specifications and performance. We're very careful on that, and we don't pay contractors if they don't meet those. We've been in that business for a long time, and on anything that is safety or health related, we're very, very careful with.

Q: These inspections, the second round of inspections in 1999, were done to buttress the government's case against this contractor in court that these were defective products?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: They were to determine to what extent were the garments potentially defective. And let me, if I can just follow up on one point. That determination -- I think you have to be careful that the inference is not, because we determined that we were going to place them all into training, that there was something defective with all the garments.

That decision was based on the analysis that they made, also on the understanding that those garments were no longer needed. In fact, we had held those garments, in some cases, since 1994. We had new garments coming on board, we didn't need them in the inventory. We did not want to take any chance with the safety of our service members, and that entered into why we placed those into training. And that's why, you know, we probably did not go into this big check of all, you know, 120 (thousand) or whatever the items happened to be.

Yes, ma'am?

Q: Where are we today on both of these lots? First, with the 1989 lot, where is all that?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: We have -- here's where we are today. I still have in my custody 134,000 (sic) [334,000] of the '89 and the '92 lot, which I have held on to and not issued. We have sent a message to the services, again telling them to check the '92 and the '89 lots and to use those only for training purposes. And when we finish that analysis, if we get any feedback that those are out there, then we'll deal with that. But that's sort of where we are today. And in the interim, we have enough of the other garments to more than accommodate any requirements for readiness that we have today.

Q: So the 134,000, are they still available for training?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: I said -- 334,000. I'm sorry. Yes, ma'am?

Q: Three hundred and thirty-four thousand.

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Yes, ma'am.

Q: All right. Are those still available for training purposes?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: They may be. I'll have to wait till the litigation is completed and then I'll know whether I can retain custody of those and use them, but they could be used for training.

Q: But doesn't the inspector general's report recommend that those be completely removed from the inventory to prevent any possible accidental issuance?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Not really. What the inspector general report said, that they should be segregated from those which have not been identified with potential defects.

Q: Has that been done?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: It has.

Q: When was that completed?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: That was completed in '99. We had them marked prior to that time. We had commingled stocks, they were not segregated. The IG said even though they were well marked -- and I've got photos of how they were wrapped in shrink wrap with big signs on them so we wouldn't issue them --

Q: Can we get copies of those photos?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Certainly.

And we've decided that we -- and based on that, we now have them segregated, so they're off all by themselves in a warehouse.

Yes, sir?

Q: And just one -- and I just want to be perfectly clear about this.

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Yes, sir.

Q: Those 120,000 that were issued for Bosnia --

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Right.

Q: -- whether they ever got to Bosnia or not --

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Right.

Q: -- were individually inspected and certified to be not defective and safe?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: No, sir, I did a lot sample of that lot, and based on the lot sample, I determined them to be safe.

Q: And that was the 500, though?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: That was the 500. That's correct.

Since that time, in '98 and '99, any that are still in the inventory in the field will have had -- each one -- been individually inspected and certified by the service.


Q: But if we're past the five years, basically, for everything --

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Yes, ma'am.

Q: -- do you have any reason to believe any of these are out in operational stocks anywhere?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: I don't know. My experience tells me that we always have items out there as we rotate through and transition in the new, that it just takes a while to get them all completely out of the system. But I don't know how many. My guess is not many.

Q: And can I clarify one other statistic?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Yes, ma'am.

Q: The requirement is for 4.5 million --

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Yes, ma'am.

Q: -- but 3.5 (million) is what you have right now?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: No, I have 3.5 (million) of the current chemical protective garment in an improved variant, which we call the Saratoga. And then I have another .5 (million) of the newest one, the objective garment, which will replace all of the others.

Q: And that's J list?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Yes, ma'am. That's JS list.

Q: Does that mean you're .5 (million) short of your requirement?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: That does.

Q: So this is having an impact, then.

Lt. Gen. Glisson: It is not.

Q: Why not?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Because we have sufficient quantities to meet any of the contingencies that we need today.

Q: So your requirement overstates what you need for your contingencies?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: No, it just means that I haven't bought up to my requirement. My operational need doesn't -- my requirement is if I have a full two-theater war contingency that I have to deal with. We have some for training in that number also, so you -- the requirement includes training in addition to your deployment stocks.

Q: And your operational need is basically less than two theater wars --

Lt. Gen. Glisson: It's less -- no, my operational need is less than the 4.5 (million). The 4.5 (million) includes both training and operational contingency deployments.

Q: You've got your operational need?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Yes, correct. That's correct.

Q: All right.

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Yes, sir?

Q: What's the cost of this -- these two lots that have been segregated out now?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Right --

Q: You know, the total cost. You have a per-unit cost.

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Well, I could just tell you the 173,000 that we purchased was about $24 million.

Q: Twenty four --

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Twenty-four million.

Q: Okay.

Lt. Gen. Glisson: And so I have got 334,000 of '89 and '92 in my warehouse today. The only lot in question is the '92. So of the 173(,000), I still have 53,000 of those. And the cost on that is about $69 a copy. So that's really what we are talking about, if you want to talk about replacement.

The others, the '89, we could use for training once they are released, and so we'll still get value out of those. The 53(,000), we'll have to determine what the litigation proves.

Q: But both lots were eventually deemed to be --

Lt. Gen. Glisson: We took them out for training only. Only the '92 lot was deemed to be questionable, not the '89. The '89 has never been questioned.

Q: Oh, so the second -- (inaudible).

And again, the first indication of a problem was because of the observation of manufacturing deficiencies with a completely different --

Lt. Gen. Glisson: A completely different garment in a completely different area. It was in Puerto Rico that chemical protective garments were --

Mr. : The cold-weather parkas.

Lt. Gen. Glisson: -- the cold-weather parkas -- go figure, right? And the chemical protective garment was produced in West Virginia.

Q: And one last question for TV purposes: Can you just describe what these suits look like because we have a lot of pictures of different articles.

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Right.

Q: And so we are trying to figure out which ones they --

Lt. Gen. Glisson: If you are familiar with the battle dress uniform, which we have today, the camouflage; what the chemical protective garment looks like is it's a jacket very similar to that with the same sort of pattern. It has trousers, which you put on over your regular uniform trousers. It has booties, boots that you use. It has gloves, black in color, that you put on to protect here. You'd have a hood that you'd put on to protect the upper torso, and then you have a protective mask.

Q: And so the same camouflage -- (inaudible) -- as --

Lt. Gen. Glisson: It's the same camouflage that we have today; correct.

Q: And these are not desert camouflage or a mix?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: They come in both. We have both desert "camou" and green "camou."

Q: And do these guys -- this particular company make both, or do they --

Lt. Gen. Glisson: They did.

Q: They did. Okay.

And, otherwise, they are pretty much indistinguishable from the suits manufactured by the four other companies that manufacture --

Lt. Gen. Glisson: That's right. That's correct.

Q: -- because they are to the same specs?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Absolutely.

Q: Okay.

Q: You have got 334,000 in the depot.

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Correct.

Q: And can we infer that you have got 444,000, some odd, out there around the world?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Of --

Q: You say you don't know how many are out there, but --

Lt. Gen. Glisson: I have got somewhere in the neighborhood of 3.5 million or 4 million out there -- 3.5 million.

Q: I am not talking -- I am just talking about these particular battle-dress overgarments from these two lots.

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Right. Yeah. The '89 lot; my guess is, because those are -- what? -- 11 years old now -- I can't tell you -- my guess is there aren't very many of them left out there.

The '92 lot, the most that could be there is 120,000. But the '89 lot never has been questioned. They never had a single quality control problem identified on the '89 lot, so we're really only talking the '92 lot, which is 173,000.

Q: Right, but the '89 lot also didn't undergo the same scrutiny that the --

Lt. Gen. Glisson: It did. No, it did. We --

Q: Not by the Natick people, right?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: No, it did. We do the same in-plant inspection, we do the same product-center checks as we accept the lots in the same sampling. So all of our garments go through that same part, so there's no change. The only difference with the '92 lot was we did a third check in '96 before we issued them again. They'd already done one, and we did another one.

Q: And then you did another one in '99 --

Lt. Gen. Glisson: And we did another one in '99.

Q: -- which found that everything that went on before missed some problems, correct?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Could have. I don't know. I don't know. I can't explain that.

Q: But it happened?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: The data that Natick provided said it happened. I've got no reason to doubt that.

Q: But when you issued the '92 lot for the troops going over to Bosnia, you knew at that time that there was a question with the manufacturer, right? At that time --

Lt. Gen. Glisson: We did. Yes, ma'am.

Q: Then why did you go ahead and issue those? Why didn't you just --

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Because we did -- we had done several tests leading up to that. We did another test. We inspected the garments; we ensured that they were totally ready to go and functional, and we saw no reason not to issue those.

Remember, we took those off not because anybody told us to. We froze those assets not because anybody told us to. We did it because we just wanted to err on the safe side for the service member, and we only brought those out because there was a gap and we did not want to send our service members into an area where they might be subjected to some chemical attack and --

Q: And there were no other chemical garments that you could have sent over?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: That's correct. That's correct. That's correct. But we wouldn't have sent these had we not thought they were safe, so it really is a moot question, when you get down to it.

Q: But --

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Yes.

Q: We only sent 20,000 service members to Bosnia, and most of them came from Europe. Were there not adequate stocks in Europe at the time?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Right. But we were going to deploy far more than that, and we had a rotational basis to send more. That's why I said, to go back to the question over here, though we issued 120,000, I can't tell you how many actually made it into Bosnia. I mean, potentially, none of them could have made it. I mean, I don't know. I don't know.

Q: And importantly, your first name is Tom?

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Correct.

Q: And it's not Henry at all, as were told before.

Lt. Gen. Glisson: No, only my close friends call me Henry. No, Tom. Tom is correct.

Q: Okay.

Lt. Gen. Glisson: Thank you all very much. I appreciate the time with you. Thank you.

"This transcript was prepared by the Federal News Service, Inc., Washington DC. Federal News Service is a private company. For other defense related transcripts not available through this site, contact Federal News Service at (202) 347-1400."

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