Serious Changes Coming for Military Acquisition

Brief Analyses | National Security

No. 823
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
by Allen West and David Grantham

The way the military buys weapon systems needs serious reform, and it appears that the House Armed Services Committee agrees. Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) recently introduced H.R. 4741, the Acquisition Agility Act.

This legislation is a good start toward fixing a system that not only saddles taxpayers with the unnecessary costs of a broken procurement system, but remains unresponsive to the needs of the warfighter. First-Hand Experience. Having served as officers in the U.S. military, both authors witnessed the disconnect between needs on the ground and the technology provided. For example, when the Army moved from the five-ton truck to the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV), it failed to account for the fact that this vehicle would be the prime hauler of heavy M198 howitzers. The tow pintle for the FMTVs were greatly recessed, causing the trails of the gun to ride up against the lower portion of the vehicle at every turn. As a result, every FMTV that pulled a howitzer had its lower bumper bent upward almost 45 degrees.

Also, cargo bows and tarps for troops transport vehicles were constantly breaking and ripping because the bows were not strong enough to support the tarps during inclement weather. The Army spent enormous time, money and manpower repeatedly fixing failed materials instead of having new ones designed that could withstand the elements.

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