Marines’ New Ride Rolls Out Years Late
By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 3, 2009; A04
The Marine Corps is starting to deploy a jeeplike vehicle called the Growler, 10 years after conception and at twice the contract price, after delays that were caused by changing concepts and problems in contracting, development and testing, according to two reports.
Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, sought investigations by the Government Accountability Office and the Defense Department inspector general in light of complaints by the unsuccessful bidder on the project.
But a spokesman for Levin said the inspector general’s report, released last month, showed that cost increases and delays are so normal in defense contracting, particularly in contracts involving hundreds of millions of dollars, that they don’t raise great concerns.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, however, stressed the importance of reforming procurement in remarks before the Senate Armed Services Committee last week, saying that all services are feeling the effects of weapons programs that have “had repeated — and unacceptable — problems with requirements, schedule, cost and performance.”
The idea for such a vehicle was developed in 1999 by the Marine Corps, which wanted a vehicle that could be carried in the V-22 Osprey aircraft to support assault operations and that would tow a 120mm mortar and an ammunition trailer.
. . . The inspector general report said that the average cost of a single Growler has risen 120 percent, from about $94,000 when the contract was awarded in 2004 to $209,000 in 2008. The unit cost for the vehicle with mortar and ammunition trailer has grown 86 percent, from $579,000 to $1,078,000.
The Marines want their Jeep back. Who can blame them for wanting that vaunted WWII vehicle? I was driver for my Colonel back in the day and loved the Jeep I was assigned. They originally cost $750 each and were a hell of a vehicle.
Probably, the Marine Growler has GPS. But, other than that, you can hardly tell the difference from a WWII Jeep. Check out the article, which pictures a Growler (bet the grunts call them Jeeps anyway). The most apparent difference is the one thousand, three hundred thirty-three times the original price. A little over $1 mil a copy these days.
But hey, they don’t call it a military-industrial complex for nothing. It’s complex. It’s why we have $640 toilet seats and $7,600 coffeemakers in the military, but are short of body-armor.
Shop ’till you drop. It’s the American (military) way.