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Report: Soldiers Needed Tougher Humvees

POSTED: 06:21 PM ET, 12/ 9/2008 by Derek Kravitz


A Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle is seen beyond a U.S. Army soldier standing guard in Baghdad, Iraq. (Khalid Mohammed / AP)

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 Hot Documents
Previous: The Blagojevich Files: The Unnamed 'Senate Candidates' | Next: Blagojevich Bust, Rangel Watch, Raids Draw Brutality Claims

Comments

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Aren't these the Republicans who scream and yell about supporting our troops? Never trust a Republican with National Defense or running the Military. They only care about accusing their critics of being unpatriotic, un-American defeatists. Complete ideological incompetents.

Posted by: thebobbob | December 9, 2008 7:50 PM

These are really expensive, but worth having obviously. I say obviously advisedly, because the supply jocks and uniformed and civilian top management of the services and DoD earlier did not see the little problem with lack of body armor and humvee armor.
Lets finance this entirely from the $9 billion commitment for 60 more F-22s that the AF asserts that it needs.

Posted by: axolotl | December 9, 2008 9:02 PM

If we send them to do a job, then we should provide them with the proper tools. Asking them to lay their lives on the line is a normal occurrence for a soldier, and one they knowingly accept. Asking them to do it without proper tools and protection that we could have provided, but did not, is "Bovine Feces" at the least, and possibly criminal.

Posted by: realneil | December 10, 2008 9:26 AM

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