Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Peacetime Bureaucracy in a time of war

Back to the MRAP. In of all places, a very thorough review of the MRAP slow roll in McPaper. Like we saw with the Marine lasers, what we have often is a bureaucracy in acquisitions that focuses on the potential peacetime set of Beltway battles and pet theories as opposed to the war at hand.
Addressing the generals, McGriff recommended analyzing every incident involving Marine vehicles the same way investigators probe aircraft crashes. Look at the vehicle for flaws, McGriff recalls telling the officers, and examine the tactics used to defeat it.

Lt. Gen. Wallace Gregson, commander of Marine Corps Forces in the Pacific, and Lt. Gen. James Mattis, leader of the Marine Combat Development Command, listened and then conferred for a moment.

The room grew quiet. "Then they said, 'OK, what do you want to do?' " McGriff remembers.

He recited the very plan that the Pentagon, under a new Defense secretary, would embrace in 2007: "A phased transition. Continue to armor Humvees. At the same time, as quickly and as expeditiously as possible, purchase as many MRAPs as possible. Phase out Humvees."

According to McGriff, the room again grew silent. Then, Mattis finally spoke: "That's exactly what we're going to do." Mattis' words failed to translate into action. The urgent-need request McGriff drafted went unfulfilled at Marine headquarters in Quantico. A June 10, 2005, status report on the request indicated the Marine Corps was holding out for a "future vehicle," presumably the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle — more mobile than the MRAP, more protective than the Humvee, and due in 2012. In practical terms, that meant no MRAPs immediately.
Read it all.

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