Roadside bombs are the No. 1 killer of U.S. troops in Iraq, but the No. 1 security solution — obtaining a fleet of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, or MRAPs, to protect against such explosives — was pushed aside by Pentagon officials until early this year, reports USA Today.
The Marines requested the first 27 MRAPs in December 2003, followed by commanders and the Pentagon’s own staff.
But military brass repeatedly shelved the appeals for the larger and heavier vehicles, preferring to add armor to Humvees at a lesser cost.
The Pentagon did, however, deliver 400 MRAPs to Iraqi forces. An estimated 1,500 U.S. troops have died from roadside bombs.
Although a former general who chaired the Joint Chiefs of Staff denies ever receiving a request for MRAPs, building and delivering the vehicles in Iraq is now the military’s top priority, at a cost of $2.7 billion.
“Pentagon balked at pleas from officers in field for safer vehicles”
USA Today, July 15, 2007