January 11, 2006

Hillary's Heroes

A brave U.S. soldier risks certain death by heatstroke to satisfy the liberal cry for more body armor. (Picture source)
Posted by Confederate Yankee at January 11, 2006 01:28 AM | TrackBack

Oh, so that's what the ceramic plate the study called for. I thought a ceramic plate looked like a ceramic plate. Is that EOD gear?

Posted by: Fred at January 11, 2006 04:25 AM

When will Hillary learn that ROBOCOP was just a movie!

Posted by: Tom T B at January 11, 2006 04:35 AM

'tis called sarcasm, Fred, or in your case sarchasm: the gaping void between some one who makes a sarcastic comment, and the person who just doesn't get it.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at January 11, 2006 07:04 AM

Okay, now put chemical protective gear on him and watch him melt before your very eyes.

Congress can screw things up quicker than the enemy. I've been on the receiving end of congressionally mandated programs that usually are discarded the moment no one is looking.

In a nut shell; a manufacturer (in this case, body armor) goes to their representative and says, "we can save lives on the battlefield. We have developed this armor system that protects 85% of a soldiers exposed area. All we need is an order for purchase." Next thing you know the Appropriations Bill is amended to include $X million for armor suits for soldiers from Acme Armor Company. The service has no choice but to accept the product, because it was "ear marked" by congressional bill which became statutory.

The military way of developing new systems is quite different. A need is first identified by the end users. That need is then reviewed for development into an acquisition program (or not). Requirements are established, competitors’ products are reviewed and a source selected. The end product usually fits the need initially identified. It is a longer route, to be sure, but the development of requirements is purely military; not the Acme Armor Co.

Posted by: Old Soldier at January 11, 2006 07:24 AM

There are two problems with the military way, Old Soldier, at least in this particular case. First, to identify the need, many soldiers have to die. Second, the process you describe takes years and during that time soldiers are dying because of ineffective armor and the enemy is developing stronger attach mechanisms.

With the technology developed in the space program there is no excuse for using heavy=weight armor like Yankee describes above. Lightweight materials are available to strengthen protective gear and save lives. The more argument there is and the more delay, the more people die.

Posted by: Sunnye at January 11, 2006 08:19 AM

Sunnye, would you like to don the armor pictured plus a basic load of ammunition, grenades, water, etc. and go house to house in Fallujah for say 12 or 14 hours a day for several days? Oh, yeah, in 100 plus degree heat!

Yes, the military acquisition way takes longer. I never portended it didn't. But the end result is a much more effective system as specified by the warfighter! If there are NASA developed materials that are better than commercially available materials, the acquisition process would ferret them out. A congressman's push for up-armoring of troops now will most likely yield what CY has pictured. ...and the infantryman will not wear it; so where is the benefit? The only result is the armor manufacturer gets richer because of congressionally mandated procurement and the tax payers get poorer needlessly.

In case no one remembers, this is war. People die in war. That's the result. Our goal is to make the other guys die in larger numbers. We could do that much more effectively if the PC police would just shut up and quit demanding our troop’s blood in lieu of collateral blood.

We took unnecessary casualties in Vietnam because of political correctness. We took unnecessary casualties in Somalia because of political correctness and we’re taking unnecessary casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan because of political correctness. War is not a chess game and it certainly is not a gentleman’s sport. Turn the generals loose and let them do what they are supposed to do – win wars! Our military leaders will fight as moral and ethical as possible because that is who we are – but for crying out loud; stop constraining them unnecessarily!

Posted by: Old Soldier at January 11, 2006 08:53 AM

You'll have to trust me on this. We build body armor; the bad guys figure out how to work around it; we build better body armor; repeat this infinitely.
The bad guys have built bombs that will kill tanks. No amount of body armor will help. IEDs are getting better and the ones we don't find first are remarkably effective. We are turning around body armor solutions in record time. The bad guys are doing the same with IEDs.
Sorry, guys. That's the facts.

Posted by: olddawg at January 11, 2006 09:34 AM

Unless I'm mistaken, this particular soldier is still going to be susceptible to having his feet blown off (that looks like standard issue boots), and he could still have his head blown off.

This posting at Neptunus Lex is quite illuminating on the subject of armor.

Somehow the issue reminds me of a story coming out of the days of Vietnam-era attack aviation. A couple of engineers were reviewing the history of aircraft that had landed badly damaged by anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air missiles. The junior engineer turns to the senior guy and says, “You know, there’s a real pattern developing here of aircraft taking hits to the horizontal tail and on the trailing edge of the wings. Maybe we should put more armor there?”

The senior engineer, concerned as always with the impact of adding weight to an aircraft design disagreed, chiding the junior guy gently, “No, you’re seeing the pattern exactly wrong. All of the battle damage you see is from aircraft that returned. It’s the places where you’re seeing no damage that we need more armor. Those aircraft didn’t make it back.”Of course, if a 155mm IED shell explodes next to this soldier, his chances at survival are slim to none, but that doesn't seem to matter. Any decision to change a soldier's equipment is a cost/benefit to be determined. If we increase the weight by even a pound, what does that do to combat efficency? The NYT doesn't seem to care about that...

Posted by: lawhawk at January 11, 2006 10:16 AM

I can't speak about being on the front lines, my armor consisted of an Aircraft Carrier beneath my feet but I was in the desert and floating around in the Gulf, all I can say is it was bad enough in just a T-shirt, I couldn't imagine all the added layers that don't breath.

Posted by: Retired Navy at January 11, 2006 12:37 PM

Why not just get Tony Stark to share the plans for his latest Iron Man suit while we're at it?

(Or low-profile powered armor from Schlock Mercenary for that matter...)

Posted by: Patrick Chester at January 11, 2006 03:41 PM

That soldier's armor is starting to look like the stuff worn by Clone/Storm Troopers in Star Wars.

Posted by: MikeM at January 12, 2006 08:32 PM