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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 4, 2005 / 24 Adar II, 5765

The wheels are coming off the Future Combat Systems program

By Jack Kelly

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Four items in the news recently suggest the Army should reconsider it plans to put its future on wheels.

  • Major Gen. Peter Chiarelli, commander of the First Cavalry Division, gave a talk at the Fort Hood officers club March 14th. He said that one of big lessons his troops learned during their year in Iraq is that heavy armor —M1 tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles — are enormously effective in urban combat.

  • USA Today reported Mar. 18th that the number of soldiers killed or seriously injured in accidents involving up-armored humvees has more than doubled in the last four months. All but one of the 14 soldiers killed during the period died in rollovers. The Army suspects soldiers lack the skill to handle the heavier humvees and are losing control as they speed through ambush areas.

  • A study by the Center for Army Lessons Learned indicated the slat armor used on the new Stryker armored car stops rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) only about half the time, and the weight of the armor degrades the Stryker's performance and makes it harder to operate the vehicle safely.

  • The New York Times reported Mar. 28th that the estimated cost of the first phase of the Future Combat Systems — a family of wheeled vehicles the Army hopes will replace tanks and Bradleys — has soared to $145 billion. "We're dealing with a train wreck," said Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa) a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Most of the soldiers who have ridden in them and fought from them like the Stryker. "It rides very nice," said Lt. Daniel Leard, a platoon commander in the first Stryker brigade to see combat in Iraq. "We never had any major maintenance issues."

But others demur. "In emails from troops stationed in Iraq, the criticisms are numerous," said Eric Miller, a defense investigator for the Project on Government Oversight. "The Stryker has too many blind spots looking out from the inside; the 5,000 lb. "birdcage" armor makes it top heavy and prone to rollovers; it breaks down too often and chews up tires at an uncommon rate."

The weapons the Stryker carries — the .50 caliber machine gun or the Mark-19 40 mm grenade launcher — "will not penetrate most walls in Iraq, which are made of concrete and cinder block," said retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor, an expert on mechanized warfare.

"My big beef with the Stryker is the .50 cal," a soldier who was otherwise complimentary told me. "If you run out of ammo, you have to physically get out of the vehicle, get on the roof and grab another ammo can. That's insane."

With the slat "birdcage" armor attached, the Stryker is too bulky to fight its way through the narrow, winding streets of older Middle Eastern cities, and too heavy to maneuver effectively off roads, said defense consultant Victor O'Reilly.

Lt. Leard acknowledged his platoon couldn't take its Strykers into the center of Mosul. "We patrolled (there) on foot," he said.

The cost of the Stryker is approaching $4 million each, according to the Government Accountability Office, an arm of Congress. That's an awful lot to pay for an oversized armored car with thin armor and light weapons, say Macgregor and O'Reilly. They favor an upgraded version of the venerable M-113 armored personnel carrier.

The MTVL (Military Tactical Vehicle Light) is an M-113 with a new hybrid-electric engine; band (rubber) tracks; the same communications suite the Stryker has; upgraded armor, and (on some models) heavier weapons. United Defense, the original manufacturer of the M-113, estimates it can convert the older vehicles into MTVLs for about $400,000 each.

The knock on heavy armor is that large numbers of tanks and Bradleys can't be moved anywhere fast and they cost a lot to operate and maintain. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the advent of precision-guided weapons means armored divisions no longer make much sense. But we could put an armored cavalry troop in every brigade; an armored cavalry squadron in every division. This would give lighter forces punch when they need it.

Competition under real world conditions is the best means of determining which machines and systems of organization are superior. Before dumping a ton of money into the FCS, the Army should equip several battalions in Iraq with MTVLs, and compare their performance with that of the Stryker.

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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration. Comment by clicking here.

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