Saturday, August 7, 2010

Our Troops Need Better Equipment!

A couple of weeks ago I began getting some disturbing emails from some friends currently deployed in Afghanistan. In them, there were vague comments that implied our people were having some problems with their combat equipment that is not generally known. I decided to do a little “investigating” and by the time I finished I had gotten mad. It seems there are some significant shortfalls in the stuff we are issuing to the warriors we send into harms way in our defense. This blog is simply a summary of the four most important shortcomings I felt need immediate attention: 

First, they need Body Armor that wards off fatal wounds.
The personal Body Armor system being issued to Soldiers and Marines on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan for the past eight years has proven to be sub-standard and has failed to prevent traumatic and fatal wounds! Sharing the same battlefield are senior military leaders and top civilian officials, their personal bodyguards and security details, government contractors, and Special Forces personnel who are wearing superior protective vests and plate systems that have either been issued to them or purchased with discretionary funds. These vests and plates have been independently tested and shown to be superior compared against those being issued to the common soldier and marine. This year, after a 2.5 year study, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) decided that the current testing protocols were inadequate and that front-line troops are being issued sub-standard Body Armor.  The Pentagon and Congress needs to follow up on the GAO Report and procure, “Body Armor that wards off fatal wounds” and immediately replace all issued Body Armor sets.

Second: Comfortable helmets that protect against Traumatic Brain Injuries.
The Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH), or “brain bucket” as it is affectionately called by Joe on the frontlines, does little to protect against traumatic brain injuries, the signature wound of both wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The ACH is an uncomfortable mold of Kevlar with limited padding that rapidly rots and causes pain and headaches after
sustained wear. Why does the Pentagon choose to ignore science in developing and issuing a critical piece of combat gear that will save lives? Does NASCAR or the NFL ignore science when drivers and players strap in and take the field? The Pentagon needs to replace the ACH immediately with a Helmet protective system that “mitigates the effects of Traumatic Brain Injuries and is comfortable for long term wear and use.”

Third: A Lethal and Reliable Rifle.
The CAR-4 standard-issue rifle is a modified version of the M-16, which our troops have been forced to use these past 45 years. “Today’s” rifle does not have the reliability, simple operation, and durability required to survive on today’s complex battlefield. In an
attempt to address this, the Pentagon has created a contractor haven of support to maintain optics and laser systems that are now affixed to the CAR-4 without improving the basic rifle design of ballistics, lethality, accuracy, and reduced maintenance.  Meanwhile, the enemy has adapted and grown more lethal, sophisticated, and asymmetric without latching on to a billion dollar logistics tail. So why does the Pentagon continue to issue a maintenance-prone, malfunctioning, and less lethal standard rifle to our warriors in Iraq and Afghanistan – it is time for the CAR-4 to be replaced.

Fourth: A Pistol with Sufficient Stopping Power.
Oftentimes a pistol is the last line of defense during intense combat. Without question, a pistol must be capable of putting down a determined foe. The 9-mm Beretta pistol that is issued to our frontline troops has proven itself incapable of this simple task. The Beretta fires a lightweight 9-mm bullet that misses its mark and requires multiple hits to defeat a determined enemy. The 9-mm round replaced the .45 caliber slug that kept generations of Americans alive in armed conflicts past. Often, service members self-help themselves and bring unauthorized personal high caliber sidearm’s into theater in order to close the combat credibility gap that the 9mm Beretta has exposed.  Additionally, Special Forces have switched to higher caliber and more lethal side arms.  The Pentagon needs to review the effectiveness of the 9-mm Beretta and replace it immediately with a sidearm that has “sufficient stopping power”

Here is a great little video about "One Mind, Any Weapon" Training they give our Marines - Let's at least see they are also equipped with the best equipment possible!


William A Manning said...

better equipment, better chow.

The military always wants better stuff.

Who doesnt?

Oh, MCMAP rocks!

Gary said...

True -and they deserve better stuff!