Pentagon JLTV Power

The Danger Room sounds unhappy with the management decision to focus on rapid production and deployment for the HumVee replacement, instead of cool new power-plants:

The new trucks, known as Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, are supposed to be tricked out with the latest in vehicle survivability and electronics. But when it comes to the propulsion system, Pentagon seems to have taken a more conservative approach. Rather than opting for a riskier, Prius-style hybrid, the Pentagon seems to be placing a premium on vehicles that could go into production relatively quickly.

This brings to mind an earlier report, which highlighted a “‘Byzantine’ acquisition system that pushes bureaucrats to protect their own programs and priorities, rather than seeking out the best available option”. What is the incentive to seek the best option, let alone who defines best? I still see a lot of “conservative” vehicles on the road, so why would people suddenly think differently, more logically if you will, when they become bureaucrats?

The real irony of all this is that a failure to deploy armor quickly is said to have precipitated IED use, which now in turn has generated a $166 billion purchase order for armored vehicles that can be deployed quickly. That kind of back-patting pocket-filling economic model has to be discouraging for anyone trying to respond in real-time to threats and actually save lives.

The question now really should be whether $166 billion could prevent or at least anticipate further evolution of IEDs (very likely not, since the design is moving in such a “conservative” fashion), or if the money could be better spent infiltrating human networks of bombers to generate support from Iraqis.

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