The MRAP: A Bad Rap for the Marine Corps
MARINE CORPS COMMAND AND STAFF COLL QUANTICO VA
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Late each weekday afternoon, the Pentagon issues a list of all the contracts it has awarded that day. One Thursday 18 October 2007, at the bottom of that list were four contracts to four different companies for more than 1 billion to buy mine-resistant ambush protected MRAP vehicles for Marines in Iraq. On this Thursday, the Marine Corps bought 2,153 MRAPs for delivery by April 2008. While this MRAP purchase may be currently seen in a positive political light, the intended and unintended consequences to the military, specifically the Marine Corps, may be long lasting. The Marine Corps should discontinue the procurement of the MRAP because it is unsuitable for counterinsurgency operations, inconsistent with the Corps expeditionary mindset, and too expensive. How does the MRAP affect the image of U.S. forces and their ability to conduct COIN operations First, consider the size of the vehicle. The MRAP is massive when compared with the HMMWV. The MRAP is over 10-feet tall, up to 24-feet long, and can be up to 9-feet wide. A typical up-armored HMMWV is approximately only 6-feet tall. When it comes to moving through an urban area, the impact that this drastic difference in size has on the local population must not be underestimated. The MRAP portrays a menacing, aggressive posture that can potentially undermine efforts to establish relationships with the local populace. The MRAP has the potential not only to have a negative effect on the local population, but also on the U.S. forces employing the vehicle, by placing force protection ahead of mission accomplishment. In addition, MRAPs size and weight have an adverse effect on its deployability. Based on the MRAPs current characteristics, it can not be lifted by any Marine Corps organic asset. Because of its high costs, the MRAP has already pulled money away from other large DoD acquisitions, most noteworthy, the JLTV program, which has currently been delayed by at least 2 years.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies
- Combat Vehicles