Jim Schatz, in National Defense, makes an irrefutable case for replacing US primary-issue small arms. US forces need a more reliable rifle and both new rifles and new pistols firing more potent rounds.
Since the end of World War II, only 10 U.S tank crew members have been killed in warfare. This is an amazing testament to fighting vehicle technology and the money spent to develop and sustain that tactical edge over our enemies.
In that same period, the United States has lost some 60,000 soldiers in small arms engagements, an approximate one for one exchange.
Few foes on the planet could hope to dominate America in a tank, air or naval battle. Yet every bad actor with an AK-47 takes on U.S. and NATO ground forces in a small arms fight. We are no longer suitably armed to prevent it.
This happens because the current U.S. Army small arms development and acquisition system is dysfunctional and virtually unworkable, even for those within the system. It has not brought troops substantial evolutionary small arms and ammunition capabilities in years, or even decades, and too often not at all, and almost never on or under budget. Lives are often lost as a result. …
Small arms are the most deployed weapon systems in our arsenal, yet the age of Americaâ€™s eight most numerous conventional military small arms are on average more than 35 years old. While we have replaced uniforms, helmets, body armor, radios, rations and footwear countless times in three decades, the weapons and ammunition we use in 2015 are little more than variants of Vietnam-era technology possessing the antiquated capabilities of a bygone era.
The Army continues to procure weapons with old performance specifications that have been repeatedly eclipsed by superior commercial small arms used by our allies, our top-tier special operations forces and sometimes by our enemies. Elite units â€” with a few exceptions â€” do not use the standard-issue U.S. Army small arms or ammunition. Why? Because they are inferior to the more advanced weapons selected by these units. There is a fundamental difference between their acquisition process and that of the â€œBig Army,â€ where there are hundreds of decisions makers and countless agencies and offices involved.
Read the whole thing.
Schatz doesn’t get into it, but I think the root of the problem is cultural. America has become, in recent decades, much more a nation of metrosexuals than a nation of riflemen. The shooting sports are completely alien to the largest urbanized sector of American society.
We now have to look to Germany & Italy to buy military-quality small arms. Colt is in bankruptcy. The Winchester factory in New Haven closed years ago, and Winchester today is just a revived trade name building its products in Japan. The American chattering classes are not concerned in the slightest with feminization of American men or the decline of our domestic arms industry. They’d like to confiscate and destroy all our guns.