"and was subsequently killed in action "could" be denied the $400,000 death benefit provided by their SGLI life insurance policy as well as face disciplinary action. "
LOL. just exactly what kind of "disciplinary action" are you going to give a soldier that is dead?
1. The military doesn't want to be embarassed by reports that the items they just spent millions procuring are being discarded in favor of privately purchsed items;
2. Wearing of OTHER items might negatively affect troop morale - what are the soldiers who are not getting the 'private stuff' supposed to think?
3. Some JAG rocket scientist might well have warned his commanders that, if a soldier is killed while wearing something OTHER than Army-issued armor, there could be disciplinary/bad PR repercussions for the commanders who allowed them to wear the OTHER stuff (not to mention the possibility of law suits)....
This is so typically a bureaucratic story, but if you're within the bureaucracy, justifying it is very, very easy and a predictable response to the realization that they did not buy their troops the 'best stuff. After all, if you can't compare stats between those hit while wearing the private vs public stuff, they have 'deniability' of their screw-up;
Oh, and about the generals wearing the privtae stuff to 'evaluate it' - this is such a CLASSIC Orwellian military phrase that I almost spit out my drink - someone ought to ask: "But sir, doesn't it make more sense to allow the troops who are actually going into the areas where the shooting is to evaluate it instead of a bunch of (already) over-protected generals who don't go 'on patrol'?