sepps will just have to wait...

  1. 4,434 Posts.
    ...for their little toys. Sorry, boys, Rummie don't care no more, no more, no MORE!

    The New York Times
    December 11, 2004
    Pentagon Asks Contractor to Speed Production of Armored Humvees

    The Pentagon yesterday asked a contractor building fully armor-protected Humvee military vehicles to speed production to 550 vehicles a month, up from its current output of 450.

    "Once I was informed of the additional production capacity, I wanted to ensure those additional vehicles were going directly to our forces in Iraq," the Army secretary, Francis J. Harvey, said in a statement.

    The company, Armor Holdings, said its plant in Ohio would not be able to reach the higher level until February or March.

    Concerns that troops are inadequately supplied with armor have surfaced repeatedly since the Iraq war began and became a hot issue for the Pentagon on Wednesday when soldiers en route to Iraq confronted Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld with complaints that the Pentagon was still sending troops to war without enough protection from armored equipment.

    Specialist Thomas Jerry Wilson asked why troops had to scrounge up discarded scrap metal to shield their vehicles against bombs, and Mr. Rumsfeld indicated that factory production was limited.

    "It's essentially a matter of physics," Mr. Rumsfeld said. "It isn't a matter of money. It isn't a matter on the part of the Army of desire. It's a matter of production and capability of doing it."

    Armor Holdings said it had begun working toward producing 450 vehicles a month after meeting in February with Les Brownlee, then the acting Army secretary, and that it had reached that level of production in September. On Thursday, the company announced that it had told the Army last month that it was capable of boosting its output to 550 vehicles, and that the Army did not respond.

    As late as yesterday morning, Army officials in charge of providing equipment to soldiers said that what was needed were not more new armored Humvees, but rather more of the conversion kits being produced that add armor to existing Humvees. They said that the kits could be removed, allowing the Army to convert the Humvees back into lighter vehicles when they were no longer needed in life-threatening situations like the attacks soldiers are facing in Iraq.

    But the soldiers' confrontation with Mr. Rumsfeld provoked criticism from members of Congress and others, and led to high-level discussions yesterday at the Pentagon where officials labored to sort through the issue's many dimensions.

    Michael Fox, a spokesman for Armor Holdings, disputed the view that kits are a more rational approach and said new vehicles built with armor, known as "up-armored," provided the most protection.

    "Up-armored is the best level of protection," Mr. Fox said. "And if you ask the troops, I'm sure they will agree."

    Democrats in Congress who on Thursday criticized Mr. Rumsfeld and said troops had inadequate equipment, in part because of the urgency with which the United States went to war, expressed cautious support for the pending increased production.

    Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, said in a statement that such a move would reflect "a step in the right direction."

    "But it troubles me that it would take a highly publicized question posed by an Army specialist to get the Department of Defense to address our troops' safety concerns," he said. "And it remains to be seen whether this modest step is sufficient to meet the needs of our men and women in uniform."

    Senator John W. Warner of Virginia, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said through a spokesman yesterday that the committee would address the armor issue in an oversight hearing on Iraq that it plans to hold early next year. He said committee members would gather information during scheduled trips to the region in the coming weeks.

    "The committee remains committed to doing everything it can to help resolve this problem for our men and women in uniform, no matter what unit they deploy with," said the spokesman, John Ullyot.

    Armor Holdings said yesterday that "based on our statement that we were prepared to expand capacity to meet the needs of other customers, the U.S. Army approached us and requested that we increase production of up-armored Humvees from 450 units per month to 550 units per month, and we have agreed to do that as soon as possible. We expect to achieve this rate of production by no later than the February-March time frame without any significant changes to our infrastructure."

    The company said it was ahead of the Army's production schedule by more than 330 vehicles.

    The armor kits being shipped to Iraq are being produced mostly by the Army at its depots in New York and six other states.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company | Home | Privacy Policy | Search | Corrections | RSS | Help | Back to Top
arrow-down-2 Created with Sketch. arrow-down-2 Created with Sketch.