The Unintended Consequences of a Government Fix

Thousands of pounds of armor added to military Humvees, intended to protect U.S. troops, have made the vehicles more likely to roll over, killing and injuring soldiers in Iraq, a newspaper reported.

"I believe the up-armoring has caused more deaths than it has saved," said Scott Badenoch, a former Delphi Corp. vehicle dynamics expert told the Dayton Daily News for Sunday editions.

Since the start of the war, Congress and the Army have spent tens of millions of dollars on armor for the Humvee fleet in Iraq, the newspaper reported Sunday.

That armor - much of it installed on the M1114 Humvee built at the Armor Holdings Inc. plant north of Cincinnati - has shielded soldiers from harm.

But serious accidents involving the M1114 have increased as the war has progressed, and the accidents were much more likely to be rollovers than those of other Humvee models, the newspaper reported. . . . .


Anonymous Scott Ganz said...

I just read (well, mostly read) a series of INCREDIBLY long screeds on the subject at a site called combatreform.com. Basically, their whole hobby-horse is that the army has 13,000 M-113 APCs, most of which are in storage, that should be used instead of Humvees for non-linear warfare.

The Humvee is a non-combat vehicle designed to ferry men and material to the outer lines of battle, but since every single unit is technically on the front, any rubber-tired truck vehicle is too vulnerable for use.

The M-113, on the other hand, weighs 10 tons (the up-armored Humvees weigh 6), and with modern birdcage setups or reactive armor, coupled with ballistic shields for the gunners, and hybrid-electric drives, will be easily as capable as the Humvee in some ways and far more effective in others, including pure combat abuse.

But since it's a tracked vehicle, the army considers it "heavy", even though it's smaller than the Stryker, which has rubber tires and is generally considered to be a deadly boondoggle.

It's a pretty venomous rant, but it's not without merit.

6/12/2006 12:49 AM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Thanks, Scott. I appreciate the insight.

6/12/2006 2:31 AM  

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