Monday, February 12, 2007

Equipment Shortages in Iraq

Read in today’s stand-to about the current shortage of advanced Frag 5 Armor Kits as reported by Ann Scott Tyson of the Washington Post. Part of that article -

By Ann Scott Tyson
Feb 12, 2007
“The Army is working to fill a shortfall in Iraq of thousands of advanced Humvee armor kits designed to reduce U.S. troop deaths from roadside bombs -- including a rising threat from particularly lethal weapons linked to Iran and known as "explosively formed penetrators" (EFP) -- that are now inflicting 70 percent of the American casualties in the country, according to U.S. military and civilian officials……
Still, Pace said last week that U.S. troops will face a gap of up-armored Humvees and other armored vehicles that will not be closed until July, and according to the Pentagon, commanders will be required to share 500 up-armored vehicles. But the Army said it is not short of up-armored Humvees in Iraq.”

The Article reminds me of the shortfalls experienced when my unit first arrived in Iraq to work for MNSTC-I. We conducted convoys all over the country with ever evolving equipment, thanks to a remarkable rapid fielding effort conducted by AMC. The picture attached is from one such convoy to/from Hillah where we used the vehicle we had which was an unarmored Chevy Suburban with our AK-47s out the window (We had not yet received M-4s) for our convoy. Within a month we had M4 rifles, and add on armored HUMMVs. Another month and we got M1114 Hummvs with better Turrets. Eventually we had full electronics (Blue Force Tracker) and other newest technology devices needed to counter the Threat.
Within the year we were in country we evolved our equipment one hundred fold in terms of capability and technology. We had nothing but the highest praise for the AMC folks serving in theater with us that pushed the greatest technologies and counter measure equipment to us. I can personally attest to fielded items of new technology and performance of such items. With improvements in capability recieved I know that on at least two occasions reciently fielded equipmen saved my team from injury due to enemy action.

The Army and DOD had shortfalls then... physics, testing, production demands and the speed of the supply chain will result in shortfalls now and for the changing conditions in the future – but all good soldiers adapt. The fielding effort behind the soldier in this conflict is better than ever before. Some of the improvement experienced today is due to new ways of doing business. Some is from the use of contractors to support the soldier (thus innovation driven by a fresh point of view and a bottomline efficiency model) .

Everyone wants the newest equipment for our soldiers in the field and they deserve nothing but the best. The people providing it are behind the scenes and often subject to media hindsight 20/20 scrutiny and criticism. The tail of the joint services is served by multitudes of dedicated employees that toil in relative obscurity, but do superb things to get necessary equipment fielded to the fight.

News about the lack of equipment stirs the hearts of those that don’t really know how far we have come in supporting our warfighters. I felt it appropriate to note the Department of Defense has made great strides in improving soldier equipment in response to changing conditions.
There will be future challenges in this effort. New enemy Tactics, techniques and equipment will press our efforts to develop more technological solutions. We can always improve our process and owe that to our soldiers…. But I thought I’d take a second and recognize the toil, effort and patriotism of DOD agency personnel that support the effort. HOOAH!

No comments: