This has been a source of discussion around the internet on milblog sites.
This editorial, A Failure to Protect Our Troops, talks about the "lack of funding" for the new MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles).
The Bush administration and military leaders in Washington are always claiming that they will do anything to support American troops fighting in Iraq. That makes it all the more infuriating to learn that, for more than two years, the Pentagon largely ignored urgent requests from field commanders for better armor-protected vehicles that could have saved untold lives and limbs.
I think the key phrase is "largely ignored". As many a logistics/procurement grunt will tell you, just because you request it, doesn't mean that you get it or that it is the best or that there is money or that something else is being looked at that might be better.
If I am correct in the history of this "procurement", there were real questions about whether this machine was just "so, so" better or a drastic improvement. Also, that the Marines may not have asked for it until after the budget had been put in (mind you, budgets for defense are like corporate budgets; usually created well in advance of the next fiscal year). Finally, there was additional testing requested. In case you think that is a bunch of BS, I think some folks who "know", "know" that the marines were getting blown up by gigantic IEDs and EFPs (exploding formed projectiles) that don't really give a hoot how much armor you have, it penetrates and bounces around, taking out things and people.
From my understanding, the Marines weren't 100% sure they wanted to invest in something that wasn't much improvement over current modes of transportation and, by definition, marines largely patrol on foot. finally, there must be a question of speed along with survivability.
All of these things come into question when making the decisions.
Now, the editorial does make a point about wart time operations that my youngest brother (anti-Iraq war guy he is) has wondered out loud about and we have to: failure to motivate the nation and place industry on a war time footing to produce necessary items and quantity to support our troops when things are deemed needed. One may wonder why, in war, special items are not immediately funded through discretionary funds or a separate appropriations bill.
My guess would be that nobody wants to have things picked apart or be forced to make or beg for votes on an "ad hoc" basis for equipment. Might look bad, etc.
Let's hope that our troops aren't being sacrificed for "face" or because the Democrat congress would argue things or possibly deny things for the sake of political grand standing.
One could ask the writer of this editorial why the Democrat held and run committees such as Armed Services, etc haven't made a finding, created a bill, voted it in and requested the president sign it for this very issue of making it funded and the law.
That is the duty of congress after all.,