Thursday, July 26, 2007

It's a Wrap

Showtime, Anthony Wood

Everything old is new again
--from The Boy From Oz, Hugh Jackman

Since our friend Lurch at
Main and Central has recently weighed in several times on the topic of Mine Resistant Ambush Protection vehicles (MRAPs), Ranger is challenged to say something on the matter.

Top Marine Corps commanders are defending their 2005 decision to send armored Humvees instead of MRAPs to protect the troops (not) from IEDs, despite urgent request memos from then-Brigadier General Dennis Hejlik asking for 1,169 MRAPs to "increase survivability and mobility of Marines operating in a hazardous fire area" in Iraq's Anbar province (Marine Leaders Defend '05 Decison on MRAPs.)

Obviously Humvees do not protect the troops from major blast damage, even without the handy dandy plate addendums. No news flash. But the Marines say that Hejlik didn't really mean what he said--that he meant something like an MRAP, and they figured a Humvee with plates hanging off it was a pretty good facsimile.

And of course, that's how Hejlik now remembers it, too, with the assistance of Marine Corps Commandant James Conway. Even though Hejlik's memos clearly request the MRAP, which has a unique raised chassis and a V-shaped hull to disperse under-body blasts.

In any event, MRAPs are not an answer to roadside bombs, nor will they defend against them. MRAPs are inanimate pieces of motorized steel. Targeting techniques will simply change, and the softer vehicles in a convoy will instead be targeted.

What protects troops from roadside bombs are:

[1] Randomness (conducting operations in an unpredictable manner)

[2] Avoiding the same routes

[3] Varying times of convoys

What is the point of reconfiguring the vehicles of the military to conform to the Iraqi formula?

In a standard theatre of operations, operating in the normal corps scenario, the vehicles of the combat support and combat service support and ancillary convoy support would not be in hostile areas subject to daily depredations by opposition forces.

MRAPs are neither cost-effective nor required in the normal envisioned requirements of conventional combat. Alright, you out there--please don't say everything changed after 9-11. The only thing that's changed is that military people buy that b.s. It keeps things all shook up.

Heljik wrote last week, "I must stress that we were not seeking a specific vehicle design. Rather we wanted to significantly enhance the force protection capability of our vehicles."

O.k.--so you upgrade the force protection of the convoy escort vehicles. So what? It is impossible to remove the vulnerability of the CS & CSS vehicles. (But hey, since most of them are contractors, who cares?)

The solution is obvious. No extended occupations of invaded countries is acceptable. Sometimes the only way out is out.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

We used to have this major bitchfest, a lifetime ago, at Field Station Berlin, that argued the merits of what we called the "technocrats" versus the "humanists"....and we were not arguing philosophy. The technocrats thought all us human translators and analysts were moot; better computers would solve the cold war mysteries. Humanists, like me, thought spies and thinking and intuition trumped machinery. I had no idea that an on the ground analog of that dispute existed down where people BLEED. Crap, even in RAF infested southern Germany in the 80s, we were instructed as CIVILIANS to use those methods of safety that you listed. Holy crap, could we quit swinging the damned pendulum and find some workable middle ground?

Friday, July 27, 2007 at 12:04:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


Yes, there is a dichotomy between SIGINT and HUMINT types. Ranger has discussed this on numerous occasions.

Obviously, the SIGINT types are dominating.

Sunday, July 29, 2007 at 4:05:00 PM GMT-5  

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