May 2, 2004

The More Things Change...

...well, we all know the end of that quote. Today, the relevance of this cliche is supported yet again by our favorite morons in the Defense Department. Apparently, the chief weapons tester for the Pentagon was concerned, in 2003, that the Stryker combat vehicles being produced for the Army were much weaker than had been required. The program was, in his estimation, being damaged by continual lowering of specs to meet performance. Most importantly, the Stryker had performed poorly at protecting its occupants from RPG fire.

In a bold move, he wrote directly to the top to air his concerns, only to be asked whether he was "trying to embarrass" people. With those words, the current leadership put their own image ahead of the lives of American soldiers on the ground, trying to prove their pet ideas against reality.

This, sadly, is not the first time this has happened, and probably won't be the last - when a soldier's concerns are slapped down by those above him in the name of politics and PR. There was a movie about this, recently, which (except for the name of the system under development) could have been written for this very situation. Its name was The Pentagon Wars, and it recounted similar behavior on the part of Army brass during the development of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle. If you care, it starred Cary Elwes and Kelsey Grammar.

Ironically, the Bradley is now the 'older, more trustworthy' system that the current commanders are trying to retain or get more of, rather than trust the Stryker and its 'Rube Goldberg' protections. Posted by jbz at May 2, 2004 4:53 PM

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