Defense Secretary Lauds Military Truck Project

January 20th, 2008  
Team Infidel

Topic: Defense Secretary Lauds Military Truck Project

Atlanta Journal-Constitution
January 19, 2008 By Richard Lardner, Associated Press
Charleston, S.C.--A multibillion-dollar effort to produce bomb-resistant vehicles for U.S. troops in Iraq is moving "as fast as humanly possible," Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday after a visit to the military facilities playing a key role in the program.
The project to build thousands of mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles--known as "MRAPs"--ought to be a case study for a Harvard Business School class on how to move a major manufacturing project from a concept to reality, Gates said.
"For all of the talk about how Washington can't get anything done, this is an amazing example of Republicans, Democrats, the executive branch, the Congress, manufacturers, government bureaucrats, everybody pitching in and doing the right thing," he told reporters during the flight back to Washington.
Congress has provided $22.4 billion for as many as 15,000 of the vehicles, which weigh between 19 tons and 40 tons.
Lawmakers have complained that the consortium of military agencies and private companies has been moving too slowly to field the lifesaving MRAPs.
Gates, who made the speedy purchase of MRAPs the Pentagon's top acquisition priority last May, received briefings from the officers and civilian executives at a Navy facility where sensitive electronic gear and gun turrets are installed on the heavy trucks built by defense contractors.
The defense secretary also met with officers at Charleston Air Force Base, where airlifters fly MRAPs to the Middle East. MRAPs cost between $500,000 and $1 million, depending on their size and how they are equipped.

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