In today’s Strategy Page Infantry Section (copied completely because SP has no permalinks to indivdual posts):
The U.S. Marines are getting a new Kevlar helmet this Summer. Some 43,000 combat troops are getting the new headgear, that looks like the current helmet, but is 15 percent lighter, provides more protection and is a lot more comfortable. A new “five point retention strap” and improved interior design keeps the helmet stable when the marine is moving, and is more comfortable in general. The helmet is also a little higher in the back, eliminating the problem of the rear of the helmet bumping into body armor when the marine is prone. The new helmet is designed to stop 9mm bullets (from pistols or automatic weapons) and is better able to stop shell fragments than the older helmet. The army is working on a similar helmet, and may end up using the same one the marines are being issued.
Why is the army “working on a similar helmet”? If the Marines’ helmet is the right helmet, why can’t the army use it? If it’s not the right helmet, why are the Marines buying it? I know the answer is the military’s procurement system. But it needs to be fixed. Really. Unless there’s some reason that the Marines and Army need different helmets, they should pool development resources and get the best helmet. I’m guessing that if they worked together, 75% of the total expenditure (in time and money) would get a helmet 25% better than either the Marines or Army will eventually get.