Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

US hails war vehicle that saved lives, bypassed bureaucracy
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Oct 1, 2012

US defense officials on Monday congratulated themselves on an armored vehicle that helped protect American troops but acknowledged the program succeeded in spite of the Pentagon's own entrenched bureaucracy.

During the Iraq war, as homemade explosives inflicted heavy casualties on soldiers riding in standard Humvee vehicles, senior officers had appealed to Washington for heavier trucks better designed to withstand insurgent bombs.

But their request met with opposition in the Pentagon and in Congress, and it took a concerted push from former defense secretary Robert Gates and others to rush into production new vehicles known as MRAPs, mine resistant ambush protected vehicles, officials said.

"Commanders saw an urgent need. They requested urgent assistance from the Pentagon, a plea that initially went unheeded, a mistake that forced the department to permanently alter its whole approach to meeting urgent battlefield needs," Ashton Carter, deputy defense secretary, said at a ceremony honoring the team that pressed for the MRAP.

As Pentagon chief, Gates had voiced his "frustration with the business-as-usual approach he found too often here, and led to his decisions in many cases simply to bypass the system, as with the MRAP Task Force," Carter said.

Gates, who stepped down last year, would often lament how "the troops are at war, but the Pentagon is not," said Carter.

In a written note read out at Monday's event, Gates praised the task force he appointed -- which expedited the delivery of more than 24,000 MRAPS to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, at a cost of roughly $45 billion.

"You have led and implemented the largest defense procurement program to go from decision to full industrial production in less than a year since World War II," he wrote.

And in a dig at the Pentagon mindset, he added: "As you look back on this unique time in your careers, you can take great satisfaction in knowing -- unlike many, even in the Defense Department -- that your work truly saved the lives and limbs of many men and women in uniform."

Vice President Joe Biden, who, as a senator, led efforts to fund the heavily-armored truck, told the audience he struggled to persuade fellow lawmakers -- including "pro-defense" hawks -- to support the initiative in 2007.

Some lawmakers criticized the proposal because they said the military would have no use for the trucks once the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were finished, Biden said.

"Can you imagine Franklin Roosevelt being told, 'We need X number of landing craft on D-Day, but, you know, once we land we're not going to need them all again. So why build them?'" Biden said.

The Pentagon has no plans to build more MRAPs and the program will now be managed by the Army instead of the Marine Corps, a step officially marked at Monday's "transition" ceremony.

Officials say the slow-moving, heavy vehicles are expected to have a less prominent role in the future US force, once the bulk of American combat troops withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, with a large number of MRAPs due to be placed in storage.

Carter said the end of MRAP production illustrated the US shift away from counter-insurgency campaigns to a strategic tilt towards Asia.

"The era of total focus on Iraq and Afghanistan, which had to be done, is coming to an end and a new strategic era is dawning," he said.


Related Links
The latest in Military Technology for the 21st century at

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Chinese citizen arrested over US military exports
New York (AFP) Sept 26, 2012
A Chinese citizen has been charged in New York with illegally attempting to export highly restricted material from the United States for use by China's air force, federal prosecutors said Wednesday. The criminal complaint in Brooklyn federal court accused Ming Suan Zhang, 40, of breaking US laws regulating the export of specialized carbon fiber, a light, but strong material commonly used in ... read more

China has no timetable for manned moon landing

Senior scientist discusses China's lunar orbiter challenges

NASA sees 'gateway' for space missions

Protection for Moon, Mars astronauts eyed

Rock Grinding Action

Learning to live on Mars

Mars Rover Opportunity Working at 'Matijevic Hill'

Curiosity Completes Longest Drive Yet

SciTechTalk: NASA's planetary playbook

Bryan Campen joins XCOR as Director of Media and Public Relations

B612 Wins Funding Support From Prominent Business Leadersy

Cavenauts return to Earth

China Spacesat gets 18-million-USD gov't support

Tiangong Orbit Change Signals Likely Date for Shenzhou 10

China Focus: Timeline for China's space research revealed

China eyes next lunar landing as US scales back

Space freighter undocking set for Friday

Russia to send all-novice crew to ISS

ATV undocking postponed

Crew Members Prepare for Departure

Ariane rocket launches two telecom satellites

Ariane 5 maintains Arianespace's track record of success with the launch of ASTRA 2F and GSAT-10

California Governor Signs the Spaceflight Liability and Immunity Act

Processing is underway with the next Automated Transfer Vehicle to be orbited by Arianespace

The Magnetic Wakes of Pulsar Planets

Stagnant Interiors Suppress Chances of Life on Super-Earths

Meteors Might Add Methane to Exoplanet Atmospheres

Two 'hot Jupiters' found in star cluster: NASA

HP powers business tablet with Windows 8

'MindMeld' app anticipates people's needs

Search for element 113 concluded at last

Kodak dumps inkjet printers, more jobs

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement