Document Type


Publication Date


Subject: LCSH

Irregular warfare, Armored vehicles, Military


Defense and Security Studies | Political Science


The controversial MRAPs raise two questions. First, does the MRAP experience support the contention that the Pentagon is not sufficiently able to field irregular warfare capabilities? Second, what factors best explain the MRAP failure, whether that failure is determined to be their delayed fielding or the fact that they were fielded at all? We conclude that MRAPs are a valid irregular warfare requirement and that the Pentagon should have been better prepared to field them, albeit not on the scale demanded by events in Iraq. We also argue that the proximate cause of the failure to quickly field MRAPs is not the Pentagon’s acquisition system but rather the requirements process, reinforced by more fundamental organizational factors. These findings suggest that acquisition reform is the wrong target for advancing Secretary Gates’ objective of improving irregular warfare capabilities, and that achieving the objective will require more extensive reforms than many realize.


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Publisher Citation

Christopher J. Lamb, Matthew J. Schmidt, and Berit G. Fitzsimmons. MRAPs, Irregular Warfare, and Pentagon Reform. Joint Forces Quarterly, Issue 55, (October, 4th Quarter 2009), pp. 76-85.