Soldiers in Iraq are dying in increasing numbers from improvised explosive devices planted in roads by insurgents. Up-armored Humvees offer little to no protection. Specialty vehicles with v-shaped bottoms to deflect blasts had been developed in South Africa and Rhodesia in the 1970s.The MRAP Vehicle Joint Program Office's mission is to procure up to 20,000 of these commercial off-the-shelf vehicles and get them to Iraq within 30 months. Yet U.S. production is fewer than 10 vehicles per month because not enough tires, ballistics-grade steel, and other raw materials are available. The daunting task: to undertake the fastest vehicle procurement since the Jeep in World War II, ramping up the industrial base, and overcoming the bureaucratic logjam in Department of Defense procedures.
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