Rummy grilled

Troops put tough questions to Rumsfeld

After giving a pep talk of sorts to mostly Guard and Reserve soldiers, Rummy got a couple of tough ones put to him in an Q&A session:

Army Spc. Thomas Wilson, for example, of the 278th Regimental Combat Team that is comprised mainly of citizen soldiers of the Tennessee Army National Guard, asked Rumsfeld in a question-and-answer session why vehicle armor is still in short supply, nearly three years after the war in Iraq.

“Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to uparmor our vehicles?” Wilson asked. A big cheer arose from the approximately 2,300 soldiers in the cavernous hangar who assembled to see and hear the secretary of defense.

Rumsfeld hesitated and asked Wilson to repeat his question.

“We do not have proper armored vehicles to carry with us north,” Wilson said after asking again.

Rumsfeld replied that, “You go to war with the Army you have,” not the one you might want, and that any rate the Army was pushing manufacturers of vehicle armor to produce it as fast as humanly possible.

Rummy’s right, but it’s still no excuse. There should be no money spent on things like the F-22 fighter until everyone currently fighting in a war has the proper equipment. I’ve harped on this before and I imagine I’ll do so again.

But I wonder if “nearly three years after the war in Iraq” wan an intentional or unintentional error. March of 2003 to December of 2004 is 21 months. 21 months is NOT “nearly three years.” Probably an inadvertent error. Probably.

Other questions involved Stop-Loss and the supposed preferential treatment active-duty troops get over Guards and Reserves.


  1. We probably don’t want to compare the numbers on how fast jeeps, trucks, tanks, and ships were built in WWII. My concern is that uparmored Humvees aren’t nearly as bomb-damage resistent as vehicles designed to be bomb-damage resistant. The DINGO (a German vehicle built in New Orleans) is an example of a vehicle which was designed to be bomb-resistant. We could probably buy such a vehicle for less than buying a Humvee which is uparmored by another company.

  2. Actually the ‘Dingo’ you’re talking about would cost us more to procure than uparmored HMMWV units. The Dingo is not compatible with many of our military systems, and would require a rework of it’s design to be useful. The Hummer is a better vehicle in a utility role, but I do believe we need a different vehicle for patrolling the streets and alleys of Iraq. The Stryker is a good vehicle, but we need a cross of the two. Something lighter and cheaper than the Stryker, but heavier and better armored than the Humvee. I’d like to see a return of the Cadillac-Gage V-150, 450, and 650 series. Look those up, if you get the chance. We should be able to produce something like that with new technology that’s lighter and faster with really great protection. and better turret armament than a pintle mount on a hmmwv can handle. Maybe a Bushmaster 25 mm cannon and a Mk. 19 in a turret? I don’t know of any vehicle short of the Abrams that can take a 100-150 lb. IED going off next to it, and not take extensive (read not combat capable/destroyed) damage. The Dingo can roll over mines, but is only rated to protect the crew/passengers from a anti-personell mine. Anti-tank mines will still rip it open like a tin can. We need a whole new line of light patrol vehicles. The army likes to standardize, and to have multi-role vehicles. I think this is one case where we need a dedicated, limited role ( they could still do open-field recon) wheeled patrol vehicle. NOT a multi-purpose utility vehicle.

  3. I agree with everyone here, a new vehicle is probably necessary, but I really cant see something being able to sustain a blast from a large IED unless it is very heavy and large. I guess this has always been the problem. I guess unless a new armour, or new way of detecting these munitions is found, I really cannot see a light vehicle ever achieving this role. Thus, while this soldier wishes to have more armour, I guess he will always do so, till the vehicle becomes a tank (if he does not have the armour kits though, I withdraw this last comment and ask for rummy to get them the kits).

  4. vstress: You’re probably right. But…(you knew that was coming) a light vehicle, designed with integral armor protection of a nature designed to resist explosions using angled armor, and a heavier structure, and a welded or cast hull, is always better than a slab-sided pieced together vehicle, that wasn’t built to resist explosives. The hmmwv wasn’t built for this. Armored vehicles, while still vulnerable, are better. Any vehicle that has armor added to it in the nature that this is being done in our current setting, will lose speed, manueverability, and fuel mileage. (Something the hmmwv had nothing of to spare.) The hmmwv was designed to be a utility vehicle, not a cav vehicle. It is very robust, but it’s not designed for this.