Nearly a year after Congress demanded action, the Pentagon has still failed to figure out a way to reimburse soldiers for body armor and equipment they purchased for better protection while serving in Iraq.
Soldiers and their parents are still spending hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars for armor they say the military won't provide. One U.S. senator said Wednesday he will try again to force the Pentagon to obey the reimbursement law it opposed from the outset and has so far not implemented.
Sen. Christopher Dodd, a Democrat, said he will offer amendments to the defense appropriations bill working its way through Congress, to take the funding issue out of the hands of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and give control to military unit commanders in the field.
"Rumsfeld is violating the law," Dodd said in an interview with The Associated Press. "It's been sitting on the books for over a year. They were opposed to it. It was insulting to them. I'm sorry that's how they felt."
Pentagon spokeswoman Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke said the department "is in the final stages of putting a reimbursement program together and it is expected to be operating soon." But defense officials would not discuss the reason for the delay.
Krenke said the Pentagon's first priority is to ensure that soldiers "have all they need to fight and win this nation's wars,” reports the AP.