NBC News reporter Lisa Myers recently reported that the Army had erroneously delayed deployment of an Israeli military technology named Trophy that would detect and shoot down rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs).
Instead of producing and deploying Trophy, the Army has chosen to pursue its own anti-RPG project, the $70 million Quick Kill project, with military contractor Raytheon. Myers cites this decision as proof of the Army’s entrenched bureaucracy and nepotism.
In fact, the Army has avoided the deployment of Trophy due to operational issues.
Despite Myers’ claims, the Army’s deputy of acquisition and systems management, Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson, has repeatedly stated that the Israeli system wasn’t up to snuff.
“If this thing was ready to go, my question would be, why wasn’t it on the particular tanks that went into Lebanon?” Sorenson told the Armed Forces Press Service.
Sorenson also delivered convincing testimony to the House Armed Services Committee, citing that the Trophy device, when detonated in the air as designed, could harm large amounts of civilians nearby.
The Trophy device, which Sorenson avows is not a “produceable item,” operates by launching counter-projectiles toward oncoming RPGs, fragmenting them in the process. In an urban setting, says Sorenson, “the Trophy system may take out the RPG, but we may kill 20 people in the process.” This would likely be an undesirable effect during the course of a public affairs war with radical Islam.
This did not stop Myers from citing successful missile tests performed at the behest of the Pentagon’s Office of Force Transformation by General Dynamics, Inc.—a developmental partner in the Trophy project.
“The commercial testing environment is rarely as rigorous or thorough as Army testing,” said a former senior officer within the Development Test Command, one of the Army’s premier testing groups. “The vendor’s motivation is to demonstrate that the product is ready for purchase,” he added. “The Army’s motivation is to determine if the product is ready for combat.”
Sources in multiple testing agencies agree with this assessment, noting that the majority of contracting partners test military technology in a sterile environment as opposed to an operational environment, making it easier to produce encouraging results.
Myers also failed to note that many senior military officials—including general officers—have children who are serving or have served in Iraq, making their technological decision-making a matter of personal as well as professional concern.
This is not the first time this year that members of the liberal media have chosen to politicize the war.
In February, the Los Angeles Times reported on another purportedly ready-to-go system that would detect and diffuse improvised explosive devices (IEDs)—to which a large portion of U.S. deaths in Iraq are attributed.
Contrary to the claims of both the Times and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D.-Calif.), who wrote a letter to the Pentagon urging them to save lives by deploying the program, the Joint IED Neutralizer (JIN II) simply didn’t work. “After extensive testing and operational assessment in theater, JIN II was found not to meet current battlefield needs as identified by theater commanders,” said Brig. Gen. Dan Allyn, deputy director of the operation overseeing JIN development.
Another senior military source told Human Events that, “[JIN] was a dog.”