MRAP Misjudgments?

By Marjorie Censer / December 9, 2008 at 5:00 AM

Following the release of the Pentagon Inspector General's report on the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected acquisition effort, Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI) has issued a statement criticizing the Marine Corps and the overall defense procurement system.

Though the IG report cleared Marine Corps Combat Development Command of criminal negligence in failing to respond to requests from Iraq for the vehicles, it said the command failed to redirect the urgent request to the Pentagon, reported yesterday.

Abercrombie, who chairs the House Armed Services air and land subcommittee, said in today's statement that “Terrible misjudgments were made in not making MRAPs a top priority for Marines in combat in early 2005 when they were first requested by field commanders.

“And even when the MRAP’s ability to survive roadside bomb blasts and save lives was acknowledged, an insufficient number were initially ordered,” he continued.

However, Abercrombie more broadly faults “the entire defense procurement process,” citing a “systemic problem.

“It is ponderous and frequently unresponsive to urgent needs,” the statement says. “It seems unable to anticipate how threats to our troops will evolve. As a result, we are always playing catch-up, rather than getting ahead of new threats.”