ILSM on Whistleblowing MRAP Delays

This one is by ILSM…

If the value of our casualties were properly valued there would be none coming from Iraq.

The Commandant of the Marine Corps is (was) asking the Pentagon Inspector General to step in and examine the Franz Gayl allegations that a two year delay in providing MRAPs wasted Marines lives. “[H]undreds of deaths and injuries could have been prevented if incompetent minders and red tape had not sidetracked the effort to get the Mine Resistant Ambush Proof (MRAP’s) vehicles to the front lines in 2005 instead of 2007.

The Marine Corp’s excuses: they thought up-armored Hummers would work, and they (recognized that the military industry and its handlers would be non responsive) did not think that 1200 MRAP’s could be procured for Marine units in the two front-lines in Southwest Asia.

There being two diverse excuses poses more questions:

About the “minders”;

At the time the UUNS (universal urgent need statement) was submitted did anyone develop a technical solution to the UUNS that showed the Hummer would work? If one was done, as it must have to comply with certain Joint Chiefs’ directives, a thing called a capability document would have been coordinated and engineers would have compared it to the up-armored Hummer and rendered an evaluation that it met the requirements defined in the capability document. The Marine Corps if it had that could immediately answer a lot of Gayl’s arguments. That the case has not been settled since Sep 2007 indicates that step was not done, and the assertion that the up-armored Hummers could or was thought to solve the UUNS is unsubstantiated.

The above is the way the services determine requirements for use in combat and lead into delivering hardware to work the problems. The MRAP fits neither the Future Combat System mold, too heavy, nor the amphibious mode, it sinks and the whole idea of amphibious operations is to go where there are soft points.

Someone needs to tell the “minders” that Mc Cain thinks this warfare state gravy train will last for 100 years.

About the “red tape”: there are plenty of companies making these things all over the world.

There is a South African Company that has been making them for the continuous wars in Angola and other border regions since the 1970’s. This company’s specs are easily acquired by a visit, the US and NATO has cooperated with South Africa in the arms trade for many years. Further research I found that the UN peacekeepers in Somalia from 1992 to 1994 used MRAP type vehicles and experienced fewer vehicle mine impact casualties than US forces in Somalia prior to the withdrawal after the Blackhawk engagements.

The long interest in MRAP by South Africa indicates the absolute poverty of the assertion that up-armor Hummers might work.

There is no logic, to my mind, that the Marine Corps might see the MRAP as taking money away from the long troubled, no mission Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV). There is a huge amount of money floating around to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is supplemental funding, there are funds coded for the Global War on Terror (GWOT, I see it as Taxpayer bilking). Lots of money out there.

The problem is the DoD system and its arcane set of priorities. Good vehicles or any equipment for that matter fast and cheap are not the priority. The end game is keeping the “industry” healthy. Meaning profit before the Marine or taxpayer.

So, what explains why the Corps did not buy South Africa vehicles and licenses to build it in quantity here in the States?

The US has vehicle manufacturers who can be hired to design new unproven MRAP type vehicles, with much more cost and good profit than buying a license to manufacture the South African design. There is an industry base to build and support despite the casualties suffered during the delayed, profitable project.

The Marine Corps could then pursue the “real” priority UUNS to stumble along on the Amphibious EFV trail, while the Army buys the MRAP, in a long blundering program at an estimated market value for the partners of $20B.

Bottom line the Marine Corps was going along with the ‘strategy and structure’ of the DoD acquisition process which is profits before any military or humane considerations. The congress helps giving their contributors more profits rather than going fast and low cost with a good existing design.

Now there are numerous MRAP designs being built by different companies to divide the profits among a number of districts. The diverse designs pose huge logistics problems with differing components and training needs to operate and maintain them.

Then there are profits to be made in wasteful logistics support, as well.

It is interesting that a couple of US MRAP budget sponsors in the congress have come to Gayl’s aid in warning the Corps about his whistleblower status.

A thorough study would reveal the delay benefited of military industrial complex market share in the MRAP business area, at the cost of Army and Marine Corps casualties.

This one was by ILSM.