Filed under: Domestic Policy, Law, Military, National Security, Politics | Tags: Disposing of a Military Mistake?, IED's in America's Cities?, Tough-looking and Useless
Robert Farago clears up the mystery of Homeland Security’s purchase of ‘new’ MRAPs, heavily armed fighting vehicles. This is from Ross Feinstein, an official spokesman at Homeland Security. The MRAPs have been transferred to DHS from the Department of Defense, free of charge, and they’re not new, but have been in service since at least 2008.
DHS has 16 MRAPs nationwide, and the vehicle is used in the execution of high-risk warrants — including drug trafficking, smuggling, and contraband.
Sixteen is a lot less than 1700. There are mentions of many police departments all excited over their new MRAP. The Small Wars Journal says that MRAP (Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected vehicle):
is a broad term encompassing three main vehicle categories with 28 specific types of vehicle. The vehicle family was procured and acquired in mass as a result of growing improvised explosive device (IED) threat encountered in Iraq in 2004. Though there is no doubt that the MRAP family of vehicles has saved hundreds, if not thousands, of lives since it was first fielded and placed into operation in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, the MRAP should not be incorporated into the US Army operational structure for a number of reasons. It offers protection against a specific threat type and does not lend well to the higher intensity realm of full spectrum operations. …
The MRAP is a capable vehicle for personnel protection in an environment saturated with IEDs like Iraq or Afghanistan. Incorporating MRAPs into the brigade combat team structure is an unreasonable and unrealistic proposition that will pigeonhole brigades into security assistance missions and not equip them to fight and win our nation’s wars on the full spectrum battlefield.
The report is written in military bureaucratese and avoids saying anything directly, but it sounds like another military boondoggle. The vehicle protects from IEDs but not from other weapons. The v-shaped bottom armor makes it top-heavy and it’s subject to rollovers. It’s hard to get in and out of quickly, and compared to other military vehicles serves only the purpose of protecting from a specific kind of threat. The military bought a bunch of them and wants to get rid of them.
Police departments love them. They don’t need them, but it makes them feel all strong and macho. The gap between the 16 owned by DHS and the 1700 widely reported to be purchased may be that the rest are going to various police departments either free or at very low cost, effectively covering up the essentially useless mistake they turned out to be for the military. I’m guessing here, but old articles suggest that the Military was required to purchase large numbers when our troops were being killed and wounded by IEDs.
I don’t know where the 1700 number came from, but though it has been repeated by everyone, it may not be factual. This is just what I find in a bit of Googling around. Overcriminalization is becoming a serious problems, and the use of SWAT teams with military style weapons and armor by government agencies is out of control. Deroy Murdock points out that in the Second Amendment battle, there is a serious problem with over-weaponized government agencies. Militarizing our police forces is not a good idea, and should be resisted.