Report: Soldiers Needed Tougher Humvees
Pentagon officials are ordering up thousands of tougher, off-road terrain vehicles to protect troops against rocket-propelled grenades and other devices on the heels of a scathing inspector general's report (PDF) that blamed the government for not getting the humvees quicker.
The report, released today, said Defense Department officials were aware of the threats posed by mines, roadside bombs and improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, and of the availability of vehicles to stop the threats, dubbed mine-resistant vehicles, back in 2003 before the Iraq War.
"Yet DoD did not develop requirements for, fund, or acquire (the) vehicles for low-intensity conflicts that involved mines and IEDs," the report said. "As a result, the Department entered into operations in Iraq without having taken available steps to acquire technology to mitigate the known mine and IED risk to soldiers and Marines."
The report was requested after a separate, internal report, released in January, found that hundreds of Marines had died unnecessarily because of delays in getting the vehicles on the ground, USA Today reports.
That study, authored by Franz Gayl, an ex-Marine officer and civilian science adviser, was initially met with skepticism. In September, Sens. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) and Kit Bond (R-Mo.) wrote that the whistleblower was being targeted by his superiors for "adverse personnel action" because of the report.
After the inspector general's report became public, the Pentagon announced late today that it would order up between 2,800 to 10,000 of the vehicles, called MRAP-All Terrain Vehicles, for the Army and Marine Corps.
"This is a high priority accelerated acquisition in support of the global war on terror," according to the Pentagon request, which means manufacturers would have to set aside other projects to meet the military's demand as soon as possible. The first set of vehicles could be delivered as soon as next fall.
The Associated Press reports that those vehicles might see action in Afghanistan as Gen. James Conway, commandant of the Marine Corps, pushes for "a greater role for Marines in Afghanistan."
By Derek Kravitz |
December 9, 2008; 6:21 PM ET
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