manufacturer to produce that many vehicles. By May 2007 the requirement grew to 7,774 vehicles; by September of that year the requirement increased again to 15,374.
In the months following the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the military transitioned into an occupying force responsible for establishing security and assisting in government reconstruction and nation-building efforts. Shortly thereafter, insurgents turned to the improvised explosive device (IED) as their weapon of choice against U.S. and coalition forces. IEDs were cheap, unsophisticated, plentiful, easy to employ, and often produced devastating and catastrophic results. By 2005, IED related casualties were the number one killer in Iraq, prompting DoD to find a solution.
In 2006, consensus began to form within the Marine Corps and CENTCOM that MRAPs were needed in response to the IED threat. On May 21, 2006, the MNF-W Commander in Iraq submitted an urgent universal need request for 185 MRAP vehicles and followed with another request for 1,000 additional vehicles on July 10, 2006. Designation of these requests as a JUONS by the CENTCOM commander on October 26, 2006, clearly established the warfighters’ need and effectively started the MRAP program.
The perceived reluctance within the DoD to accept the MRAP as a materiel solution to the IED threat is one of the most controversial and criticized aspects of the MRAP program. Such criticisms, however, overlook the escalating actions the DoD took from 2004 through 2006 in response to the numerous escalating threats. Lieutenant General (Retired) Joseph L. Yakovac, Jr., the former Military Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology, points out that the DoD undertook numerous initiatives early-on to include fragmentation kits, up-armored HMMWVs, bar armor, and the JIEDDO in response to the range of threats. In addition, no consensus existed within the user community, and particularly within the Army, on how to best address the IED threat (personal communication, October 1, 2008).