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May 31, 2007

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It burns me every time I read of the heroic efforts to speed needed items to the troops. In WWII (no, I wasn't there), R&D by companies and creative short-term solutions were super-accelerated. Things got done relatively fast. People worked three shifts and cooperated with a range of government agencies and companies, if necessary, to get something done. Now, of course they don't, and no one, up to Bush, is ever held accountable in industry or the government.

The key success factor more than 60 years ago, despite having 13 million people in uniform, was the procurement decisionmakers were a small handful, and there was no humongous, slothful (yes, a favorite word) bureaucracy, and lazy suppliers, to take their own sweet time while our troops were killed. Bush is right,--most people have not made a sacrifice, and it is in some respects his fault, but not all his fault. He is in a position to motivate the bureaucracy and companies, to some extent. But he doesn't. To use one his favorite phrases, "...and it's hard..."

But he doesn't try, and the incompetents at the next level (not Gates or England), but a really slow-moving set of political appointees at DoD and in the MILDEPS, as well as a swollen flag officer corps who don't move fast, are the ones with blood on their hands for keeping vital items from the troops. There is no good excuse for the body armor and Humvee armor debacles, but notice that no one has paid the price. (That isn't why Rumsfeld was fired. One could, however, borrow one of his most famous pronunciamentos: you go to war with the bureaucracy, officials, and suppliers you have, not the ones you may want.)

Note to AJ: you sound like you could be a very effective whistleblower. Please consider it to get the USMC moving on these issues.

AJ

One thing to consider, there's always 2 sides to everything. I happen to be involved with this issue and the info you've gotten isn't the whole story. The people leaking this info are well intentioned, but misguided. Many of the UUNS/JUONS you have posted in your story (some of which are sensitive material, by the way) are technologically immature. Also, the individuals involved have attempted to circumvent the UUNS process based on personal feelings. The objective of the Urgent Universal Needs statement is to request a "capability" for something, not a stubborn demand for one specific piece of gear (e.g. the CHP laser dazzler was DEMANDED by a unit, bought with unit funds, used in the field and was NOT approved by the LRSB, the board that approves lasers to ensure they are eye-safe, which is was not. Of note, higher headquarters in the Marine Corps approved an alternate solution that was eye safe, bought them, have fielded to units in Iraq and have had great success with them dealing with Iraqi civilians....something you probably haven't heard). Be aware of personal agendas and please be looking for a response by the Marine Corps to clear this up. No subterfuge, just the facts. Thanks for your time...

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