Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The MRAP Debacle

MRAP at Aberdeen Proving Grounds

We've said it before, and we'll keep saying it--not only is the procurement system broken, but the failure to react quickly and get the troops the equipment that they need is a shameful legacy of having the "corporate" GOP run the government. This IS a campaign issue. This IS important. It HAS to be talked about. We will continue to beat this drum until we're both too old and too out of our minds to beat the drum anymore. And then those who follow us will take up the drum beating.

You do not send people to war with shitty gear.

Marines ask DOD’s Inspector General to review MRAP allegations
By Jeff Schogol, Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Wednesday, February 27, 2008

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Marine Corps has asked the Defense Department Inspector General’s Office to look into allegations that delays in fielding Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles cost troops’ lives.

The allegations were made by Franz Gayl, a Corps civilian employee, who works in the Plans, Policies and Operations Department of Headquarters Marine Corps, who wrote in a Jan. 22 report that a 2005 request for MRAP vehicles for Marines in Iraq fell victim to the Corps’ “Byzantine” procurement system.

In the report, Gayl alleged that Corps officials turned down the 2005 request for MRAP vehicles because they lacked technical knowledge on the matter and they were more concerned whether the vehicles would cut into funding for other programs than they were with Marines on the ground.

While the report cites documents that show Corps officials were looking at the financial impact of buying MRAP vehicles on other programs, such as the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, the documents do not say outright that such an impact was the reason for turning down the request.

In the report, Gayl said that the request for MRAP vehicles was reviewed by senior active-duty officers and senior retired officers now working as civilians for the Corps.

“Senior retired Marines, as permanent personnel, often have disproportionate, budget-centric influence over the UUNS [Urgent Universal Need Statement] vetting process,” the report said. “When viewed from a bureaucratic perspective, the MRAP UUNS would have had unfavorable reprogramming implications for MCCDC’s [Marine Corps Combat Development Command’s] programmatic focus.”

Based on statistics from the Web site, the report concludes that deaths from roadside bombs could have been reduced by 50 percent had the request been approved.

The Associated Press first publicized the report’s findings on Feb. 15. Corps officials have subsequently called the report a “preliminary internal paper” that represents the opinion of the author and not the Corps.

Now come the rightwing milbloggers, who will no doubt demonize anyone who points out that the Emperor has no clothes, or that the Marines are running a gauntlet with vehicles that are substandard and unsafe.

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