Excellent Article Ping.
"The Times story also took issue with DoDs contracting of Ladson, S.C.-based Force Protection, Inc. to manufacture blast-and-mine protective vehicles like the Buffalo and the Cougar, currently in service in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The story criticized a Force Protection deadline-extension for delivery of vehicles to DoD on a "string of blunders."
Force Protection officials have since vigorously denied the characterization and said the "so-called string of blunders" was nothing more than "growing pains" experienced by many start-ups. The story also discussed the fact that two disgruntled former employees had filed a false claims case against the company for allegedly falsifying records "to cover up defective workmanship."
True, the allegations were made; and the Times did contact Force Protection about the allegations prior to publishing the story. But, according to company officials, the sheer fact that the allegations were eventually published led to a 48-hour pulling-off-the-line of several Cougar vehicles that placed soldiers and Marines who would have had to conduct missions in lesser-protected vehicles at greater risk. Yet no defects in the vehicles were found during the inspections.
Of course, blame for the stand-down of vehicles cant be laid at the doorstep of The New York Times. But it is interesting to note that some of the vehicles inspected had already been through more than one enemy attack and all passengers had survived without injury.
"There has never been a compromise in terms of the ballistic and armor integrity of that vehicle," says Lt. Col. Mike Micucci, the Marine Corps project manager for the Cougar.
"Force Protection is doing a great job," adds Catto. "They have done everything theyve said they were going to do except meet their production schedule. Quality control is good. The Marine Corps as an institution is very happy with the Cougar. Their product is great."
"Reporting needs to be fair, objective, and interesting. But we need to look beyond Pulitzer Prizes, whos scooping whom, and the newspapers bottom-lines. We need to look to our readers. We need to write for our readers, and we need to remember that they and we are Americans first, and our country is at war for its very survival."
LX, you might want to invite this feller over for dinner ; )