As of October 21, 2008, more than 9,000 MRAP vehicles have been fielded to warfighters in Iraq and Afghanistan, with nearly 4,000 more progressing through the integration and transportation process (MRAP JPO, 2008, October 21). Considering MARCORSYSCOM released the original RFP in November 2006, this is an unprecedented DoD acquisition accomplishment that required flexibility and priority of effort within the DoD, industry, and Congress. Although detailed data indicating MRAP effectiveness in saving lives is held at the classified level, substantial anecdotal evidence, as well as significantly reduced casualties in Iraq through 2008, indicates that MRAP vehicles are indeed survivable. By these criteria, the MRAP program has been effective in meeting the program objectives of fielding as many survivable vehicles as quickly as possible.
The question of whether the program has met warfighter needs is more difficult to address, given the requirement was largely top- rather than user-driven. Again, however, substantial anecdotal evidence suggests that MRAP vehicles have largely met warfighter needs by providing survivability and the required mobility for most missions in Iraq. For Afghanistan and the much more restrictive terrain associated with that country, however, the question is more difficult to answer. Effectiveness in meeting warfighter needs is therefore best assessed in how the program addressed the range of needs. In this case, the final LRIP purchases of smaller vehicles and the latest evolution of the program, the MATLCV, demonstrates that the MRAP program is not forcing an ineffective solution, but is tailoring the solution for maximum effectiveness in the operational environment. From this perspective, the MRAP program has met warfighter needs.
The success of the MRAP program is attributable to many factors, all of which point back to the overall program objectives of fielding as many survivable vehicles as quickly as possible. This chapter summarizes the key factors, starting with a comparison to prior research and an overview of additional factors that contributed specifically to the MRAP program and concluding with the significant trade-offs involved.