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The MRAP: Not a Silver Bullet, but a Bullet Nonetheless

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Technical Report,26 Jun 2017,24 May 2018

Corporate Author:

US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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Secretary of Defense Robert Gates credits the MRAP for saving numerous lives. However, critics of the MRAP argue that the vehicle did not significantly reduce casualties and that it was ultimately a waste of money. The MRAP was designed to defeat explosive devices and, thereby, mitigate the number of troop casualties, but how well did it actually perform Utilizing historical reports and military journals to investigate the US militarys countermine techniques from the Vietnam War through Operation Restore Hope, and the First Gulf War up to the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan this study sought to determine whether Secretary Gates or his critics were correct. The Vietnam War provided extensive after action reports on how the military dealt with mines and booby-traps. The following conflicts demonstrated how lessons were learned, passed on and developed in relation to the ever changing threat. Foreign governments mitigation techniques were explored to add to the breadth to the discussion and to highlight other ways of mitigation that were not as readily known in the United States. These findings helped to clarify the debate surrounding the MRAP by establishing what level of protection had been possible prior to the introduction of the MRAP into the US militarys arsenal. Several studies from think-tanks and the Congressional Research Service better informed the examination of the effectiveness of the MRAP. The comparison of the observable numbers from the past and those collected in multiple studies of Iraq and Afghanistan revealed that the MRAP was no better at mitigating mines than previously used techniques. In addition, the quality of the current data, especially data on casualties vice fatalities, was sufficiently untrustworthy that no definitive determination concerning the MRAPs effectiveness could be made. The data on fatalities attributed to IEDs did indicate that there were proportionately fewer deaths among soldiers in MRAPS.

Subject Categories:

  • Combat Vehicles

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