InsideDefense.com is reporting that Defense Secretary Robert Gates wants to get to the bottom of any and all obstacles to increased production of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protection family of vehicles. In a memo obtained by Jason Sherman at InsideDefense.com (subscription required), Gates designates the MRAP as the "highest priority" acquisition program.
The relatively new MRAP program has been a darling of the media, Congress and military officials recently, mostly because its unique V-shaped hull deflects fragments from roadside bombs and improvised explosive devices, and because no soldier or Marine has died in one.
The Gates memo, dated May 2, directs Pentagon staff to answer a few questions for the secretary by May 11. Among them are what "funding, material, program, legal or other limits currently constrains the program," how to overcome these constraints, and what statutory authorities are available to the secretary or president to accelerate procurement of MRAP vehicles for the war.
The Defense Department has previously said it has a requirement for 7,774 MRAP vehicles and has contracts with nine different companies to build multiple varieties.
--Catherine MacRae Hockmuth