29 January 2014

Pentagon to give away 13,000 armored vehicles

The Pentagon wants to give away 13,000 mine-resistant, ambush-protected trucks because they have outlived their original purpose.

Although the trucks' armored bodies are credited with protecting U.S. troops from roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan, military planners want more-versatile vehicles that can be deployed quickly as troop levels decrease. A full-size MRAP (pronounced EM-rap, of course) weighs about 40,000 pounds, stands 10 feet tall and costs the Pentagon about $500,000 new...

Interest from foreign militaries has been tepid. But they are a hit with stateside police agencies. Almost 200 trucks have been distributed to police departments since August and requests are pending for an additional 750 trucks. The vehicles, many of which feature machine-gun turrets, are off-limits to private citizens and businesses.

Lucky recipients run from the Ohio State University campus police force to Florence County, S.C., which replaced an armored vehicle from the 1970s that the sheriff department's SWAT team had used for about 15 years. A new armored truck would have cost at least $188,000...

"Nobody will want them," says Dean Lockwood, an analyst with Forecast International Inc. "The Afghan terrain is hell on vehicles. It's eating them alive."

For police, though, the bulky trucks project a show of force at hostage incidents, civil disturbances and other situations where SWAT officers with military-grade weapons, uniforms and helmets are deployed.
Thirteen thousand surplus vehicles that cost a half-million dollars each.
Going to American urban and campus police forces.
To be replaced by even more vehicles.

I'm going to defer commentary.

22 comments:

  1. What could possibly go wrong?

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  2. Flushshshs....
    [The sound of your hard-earned tax dollars going down the drain]

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  3. MRAPs are a tough sell. They are a very purpose-built vehicle not very well suited to conventional war. Beyond police forces, there's very little market for them.

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  4. Why wouldn't police forces need more armored vehicles to "project force"? We all know that's an important job of law enforcement...

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    1. One of my concerns is that these are specially-built vehicles, the maintenance and repair of which may be extraordinarily expensive. I doubt they use standard carburetors and struts and brake linings. I suspect the taxpayers of the local communities will be in for some sticker shock in the future.

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    2. Actually, the real concern should be what the hell a PD needs to do with an armed vehicle. They are the police, not the army. I hate the idea of my local sheriff getting a hard-on on owning an armored vehicle. If we want to stop all the domestic 'wars' (on drugs, for instance), we need to stop the militarization of the police force.

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    3. Amen. The increasing militarization of US people departments over the past 50 years is a bad thing. See this: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887323848804578608040780519904

      Having lived in Australia for a bit now, my sense is that the cops here and in England are still cops, not wannabe soldiers.

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  5. Used to have police "service" Now we have police force.
    http://cx500forum.com/forum/attachments/general-discussion/4557d1379011509-pulled-over-waterloo-regional-officer-question-my-dot-approved-helmet-police-state-swat-when-did-become-.jpg

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  6. The larger issue is the terrible waste of taxpayer money. Congress--or at least the majority of the House--keeps voting for more stuff for the military that the military has said they don't want and can't use. The military then leaves materiel in the country where it was used rather than ship it home because shipping costs too much. In this era of computers and, dare I say, drones, it seems to me that there will be less and less need of huge armored vehicles. But will Congress keep on voting to build them? Think about this before you vote.

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  7. Armored vehicles for campus police, too? Ohio State seems to still be leading the way....

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  8. Oh wow, did you remove my comment? No fun?

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    1. Man, and I thought I was so hilarious :/

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  9. I work for a municipality in Washington State. I'm not in the police department, but the city's police department received one of these vehicles. This particular vehicle did not see any service - it had less than 50 hours on it.
    Stan - you are absolutely correct. I spoke with our mechanics, and they were kinda pissed. Not only are they quite large (where do you store such a vehicle? Regular service bays / lifts are also too small), but where do you source parts and who knows how to work on these things?
    Further, the community raised an eyebrow - this is a military vehicle. Do you really want an armored military assault vehicle responding to calls? Won't that ratchet up an already tense situation? Questions were raised about whether historical response calls necessitate owning such a piece of equipment (the city is about 35,000 population).
    Personally, I think it illustrates that so much of our military spending is really just a "jobs bill," particularly since the vehicle the city obtained had never seen service.

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  10. That's not counting the ones being chopped up for scrap - http://tinyurl.com/korjb4n

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  11. so, why not give them to the afghan army or police force? they ride around in toyota pickups and might appreciate some less-than-rudimentary-equipment from their employer's employer.

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  12. Yep. Just the thing needed for sleepy West Lafayette, Indiana (home of Purdue University). <sigh> The increasing use of military equipment and tactics against civilians is deplorable.

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  13. Hey, at least we have created jobs for thousands of returning vets, the only ones who know how to repair these things. But I agree with previous posters in saying its insane for campus police to get these things. Big boys want big toys.

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  14. I live in California in a town with one of the highest gang populations in the US, and our police force was able to get one of these for their SWAT team to use to replace a 1986 Ford money carrier they were using previously, which had a leaking roof, was constantly breaking down & just in general not as safe as it should be. We used it in the first week. It's not to use against citizens , it's to keep the police officers protecting us protected when they go into a dangerous situation, of which we have a lot of in this town.

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    1. What town would that be, if you don't mind. Just curious.

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    2. Salinas, CA
      We've had 3 shootings on my street alone in the last few years--one just a couple of houses down. We had a meth house blow up around the corner. I'm not in the bad part of town, either, but no section is the "good part of town" or safe anymore.

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    3. Wow. I guess if Steinbeck were alive today, he'd be writing "Of Meth and Men."

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