On November 17, 2003, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced the Department of Justice's Body Armor Safety Initiative (BAI) in response to concerns raised by the law enforcement community regarding the effectiveness of their armor. He directed the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to initiate an examination of Zylon®.-based bullet resistant armor, to analyze upgrade kits provided by manufacturers to retrofit Zylon®.-based bullet-resistant armors, and to review the existing process by which bullet-resistant armor is certified to determine if the process needs modification. The testing and research conducted by the NIJ will provide objective information to help agencies determine whether they should replace their existing Zylon®.-based body armor and whether upgrade kits offered by the manufacturer will ensure the performance of used armor throughout the warranty period. The review and modification of the existing armor compliance testing program will help to ensure the long-term performance of armor while balancing safety, performance, and budgetary concerns. NIJ's ongoing research into the causes and mechanisms of armor degradation will assist in developing methodologies for evaluating used armor and eventually lead to the development of nondestructive test procedures.