Should The Individual Carbine Competition Have Been Held? (Weekly DTIC)

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This report from the Department of Defense Inspector General’s office says “no”. From the brief:

Objective
We initiated this audit to determine whether the Army justified its competition to acquire a new Individual Carbine (IC) weapon and whether the Army was implementing an effective acquisition strategy.

Finding
The Army Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7, did not justify the requirement for a new carbine. This occurred because the Army Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7, did not follow the Small Arms Capabilities Based Assessment findings and recommendations, and inappropriately approved and validated the requirements document used to support the establishment of the individual carbine program. As a result, the Army wasted about $14 million on a competition to identify a source to supply new carbines it does not need. In addition, the Army plans to spend $2.52 billion over a 20-year life cycle to procure and maintain 501,289 carbines that its own analysis suggests can be delayed for another 10 years with no impact on readiness.

The writing is very straightforward and easy to read, so anyone with even a tangential interest in military acquisition programs (such as myself) should be able to follow it without issue. Because of this, instead of adding my own thoughts, I think it’s better to quote the document itself:

Small Arms Capabilities Based Assessment Methodology

The CBA included three analyses: functional area analysis, functional needs analysis, and functional solution analysis. As a group, the analyses identified required [small arms] capabilities, including identifying the tasks, conditions, and standards related to the execution of the required capabilities; and assessed whether the current and programmed force could accomplish the tasks to standards or whether capability gaps existed. The SA CBA then evaluated and recommended potential nonmateriel (for example, doctrine, organization, training, leadership and education, personnel, and facilities) and materiel approaches to close or mitigate the gaps determined to pose an unacceptable risk to the force.
The U.S. Army Infantry Center used a study team to conduct these analyses. As a part of these analyses, the study team used previous analyses, operational test data, validated and nonvalidated model results, data from recent operations, projected threat weapons estimates, and subject matter experts. In addition, the study team used professional military judgment to supplement quantitative data and analysis, relied on subject matter experts to identify conditions and standards where none were defined, and used warfighters to validate tasks, conditions, and standards.

Small Arms Capabilities Based Assessment Findings and Recommendations

The study team determined there were significant SA gaps in soldier and small-unit capabilities that needed to be addressed through a combination of materiel and nonmateriel solutions. In addition, the study team concluded that there were no “silver bullet” solutions to any one gap and that some capability gaps required
additional analyses around which solution combinations could be built. The study team also concluded that several materiel and nonmateriel solutions existed that could significantly mitigate some of the gaps within the time frame of the CBA. However, the CBA final report stated that none of the solutions for meeting small-unit effectiveness, lethality, and survivability start with replacing the M4. [emphasis mine]

In my opinion, I’d rather the competition have been held than not. However, the IG’s analysis and conclusion doesn’t really surprise me. It’s difficult to justify spending billions to replace a weapons system that has given satisfactory service for half a century, with many more units currently being built and purchased by the Army on a regular basis, with another system that isn’t materially different.



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • Jomo

    Actually, this report is another in a pattern of similar reports. I actually work in the industry and what we’re seeing is an increased politicization of Defense Procurement. In the last three presidencies (Clinton, Bush, and especially Obama) we’re seeing a heavier hand from the cabinet on the procurement scales. The various services used to identify their priorities and write the requirements but increasingly are being told ‘you don’t need that’ from on high. Part of it is the fallout of the wars just concluded. Part of it is sequestration. And part of it is an ongoing ‘war’ against military spending. The BHO administration doesn’t want to spend money procuring anything and so what we have seen is interminable delays I defining the requirements, the. A short period where a contract is let to study the problem followed by a sudden decision that ‘we don’t really need that after all’.

    • Joni

      Have to follow up my own post. Sorry. It has become the new normal to tack on an ‘improvement’ to an existing, fielded system to get around the resistance to change in the Pentagon. Witness the M-109 Paladin PIM program which is supposed to just be a ‘modification’ to already fielded guns but which essentially throws away the existing chassis and much of the internal hardware (engines, suspension, transmission, turret drives) for new machinery. These programs sadly offer only small incremental improvements but can still cost fairly large sums of money to execute. However it is more politically palatable to ‘improve’ an old weapon rather than start with a clean sheet.

    • Slim934

      Sequestration, yeah right. Or it could be that the DOD is a massive money black hole from which very little useful stuff (in comparison to the money spent) actually exits. I’m sorry but when the DOD is so dysfunctional that it cannot even be properly audited by an outside agency, then the problem is with the DOD. Not outside parties supposedly trying to sabotage it. Which is a silly enough idea by itself given we are spending gobs and gobs more money on defense spending than are actually required for our actual defense.

      Perhaps the report is more a matter of civilian leadership actually coming to grips with the fact that we are essentially spraying firehoses of money at the DOD, with no end in sight, and little to show for it.

  • Ralphie

    Nothing new here it’s called government slush funds.

  • Zachary marrs

    No, but if all the shady backdoor political stuff didn’t happen, then sure

    • Hudson

      The Trapdoor Springfield is a fine rifle, besides if we change over to repeating rifles, the ammunition costs will skyrocket!

      • I’d be interested to know what mature weapon is so dramatically different and better than the M4 to warrant that comparison.

        • UnrepentantLib

          In the current situation, does it have to be dramatically different to warrant adoption? Colt has a piston drive version of the M4. If it has, say, a 10% improvement over the DGI M4’s and the cost differential is small wouldn’t it make sense to start buying them to replace older M4’s and call it the M4A2?

          • Buying 500,000 rifles and ancillaries would be pretty expensive. The difference would have to be fairly dramatic.

            Also, there’s very little evidence, despite what salesmen will insist, that a new design would be any better.

          • Steve Truffer

            I’d be weary of anything Colt is offering the military…

  • Dracon1201

    No, of course not. They weren’t even there to consider what may be better, they were just there to try and reassure themselves that the M4 is acceptable.

    • Joshua

      Because we totally should have gone with rifle C that needed rebuilding nearly twice as often, you know instead of just keeping the M4A1 and issuing proper magazines(Pmags) that would fix 87% of the stoppages it experienced in testing.

      • Mike

        Which manufacture is “Rifle C”?

        • There has been some speculation that it was the 416A5. That would make sense to me, since it’s in my opinion the most mature design.

          • Shipbuilder15

            Rifle C is the rifle in the header photo for this article.

          • Another good guess, but I do not know for sure.

      • Gyufygy

        There was some kerfuffle a few years ago about PMags being banned by some of the services. What ever came of that?

        • tazman66gt

          Something about the plastic windows melting by chemical attack on earlier gens, now everything’s good

        • Steve Truffer

          PMags being designed for AR15s instead of Stanag, and early (gen 1 or 2) plastic not holding up well to certain chemicals (jet fuel + AGT temps I think?)

        • Zachary marrs

          It was the Marines and the hk iar

        • Geodkyt

          PMags didn’t fit the HK’s mag well. Not surprising, MOST polymer mags didn’t — HK made the magwell to minimum dims, whereas the M16s and M4s have been made to pretty much maximum dims from the beginning.

          Those problems have since been resolved, and PMags are again authorized.

  • Matrix3692

    I have a feeling that the AR family wouldn’t die down even after next-generation ammunitions, such as caseless or case-telescope ammo became mainstream.

    • Caseless and Telescoping ammo will NEVER become mainstream.

      • Never say “never”…

      • USMC03Vet

        whoa…

        LSAT caseless development reduced ammunition weight by half. That’s a huge improvement and I doubt that tech isn’t going to become the norm sometime in the future.

        • And simply using Polymer cases reduced weight that much as well, without all the additional problems caseless ammo brought to the game. Ammunition degradation, chamber sealing, cook-offs, heat dissipation, fouling, ammunition frailty…

  • Mr.T

    The thing is it doesn’t cost billions it cost couple of milions here and there ,army is constantly buying new and new M4s”FN’s contract with the Army is $77 million for the first 120,000 rifles, $642 per M4A1” you would just buy something else once these wear out done .In terms of cost firearms cost military penies ,US military probably spends more on toilet paper

    • Even at $642 a pop (keep in mind a new weapon would be much more expensive), circa ~500,000 rifles still costs well into the “billions”, even neglecting training, ancillaries, spares, etc.

  • valorius

    They should be replacing the m4 with the m16…

    • USMC03Vet

      I’m amazed that the US Army ditched the rifle and went for a carbine. I guess they fell for the tacticool hype machine.

      • I don’t see why they wouldn’t. The ballistic differences are negligible.

        • USMC03Vet

          I was in a track and helo company and we never had a problem with weapon handling in those except for larger crew served weapons obviously. Even in the Humvee it wasn’t that bad either. When I saw first implementation of who got the weapons it was obvious why they wanted them and it had nothing to do with tactical anything.

          I saw a lot of fucking awful weapons handling and gear setup preventing good firing positions though. Smaller barrel isn’t going to fix it those problems.

          • Neither is the ballistic difference that significant. I think the Carbine is handier, and no less capable, and that’s why it saw favor.

            Either one is fine, though.

          • Anonymoose

            What they should have done was stick M16A4 uppers on M4A1 lowers. The M4 is inherently less reliable than the M16A2/4 because of its carbine-length gas system, and the 14.5″ barrel really is lacking with NATO-standard M855/SS109.

          • I haven’t seen a lot of hard data backing those two assertions up, have you?

          • Weaver

            Can we say m855a1? That why that round was redesigned for the shorter barrels. The m855 was designed for 20 inch barrels.

          • Anonymoose

            The rest of NATO still uses M855 and we still have a lot of it in the pipeline, and M855A1 performs even better out of a 20″ barrel.

            When the M4 was introduced it was noted that its fragmentation range was much shorter than the M16’s. This might not be a problem in house-to-house fighting, but not every battlefield is a city.

          • The fragmentation range is still quite sufficient for the vast majority of engagements, though, and the jump in effectiveness between a tumbling and a tumbling and fragmenting bullet has been overstated.

      • valorius

        After fn won the exclusive m16 contract, the us army had to find some way to keep colt in the $$$.

        That’s my theory.

        The m4 is a joke as a primary infantry rifle (though its great for remfs, specops, vehicle crewmen and citizens)

      • LCON

        The Army and the Marines are two Service who took and adapted themselves to two different fights in two different wars.

        The Army did not fall for M4 because it was “Tacticool” Fighting in Iraq they took the lessons of Mounted and Urban fighting. A M4 is easier to move in compact spaces. it’s shorter length means it can be turned and cornered more easily in a Vehicle or a house. In Afghanistan they found foot matches and determined that a lighter weapon made it easier to to endure. they also found that armor being pushed more and more meant that the A2 fixed stock developed based on a averaging of the length of pull for a soldier in the prone was not working across the breath of the current crop of troops. Using this they pushed the M4 which was already in the system to the forefront. The Army then found it’s Troops Volunteers vs the Draftees of Vietnam were better and more professional shooters. The Adoption of Optics and Accessories was proof of that and with it too was that it’s shooters knew there systems and wanted better. M4A1.

        The Marines by contrast placed there emphasis elsewhere. They considered the adoption of optics and accessories creating the M16A4 which for a time was in both Army and Marine wants but the Marines tend to keep things longer. in Afghanistan they found the longer barrel and Acog gave them a slight edge on range and then the Marines got a commandant who pushed the Emphasis of MCMAPS and with it the want of a fixed stock for hand to hand battle. this locked the M16A4. and then pushed the M27 IAR with the want of a all rifle rifle squad.

      • Geodkyt

        That’s actually EXACTLY why they did it. The M4 was designed to replace the M3 GREASE GUN, as a primary PDF for armor crews.

        SF latched on them, because it fit their needs quite nicely for 90% of their missions, weighed a little less, and was handy and out of the way when they had a whole bunch of other stuff to deal with.

        The Airborne Mafia whined about how they needed cool new rifles, too. THEIR justification was that it was too difficult to do static line jumps with the massively oversized [/sarc] M16, but the M4 having 5.5″ less barrel and a telestock (that could have been fitted to the M16s easily) would fix that.

        Then the Mech and Light Infantry pointed out that paratroopers are just regular line dogs with a really cool commute to work. Mech tossed in that the massively oversized [/sarc] M16 (that the Bradley IFV was DESIGNED AROUND) was too big for their Bradleys.

        The sad part is, M4 priority went to the Infantry, when in fact it should have gone to the “REMFs” and Combat Support — the guys who really DID need rifles that were handier, and didn’t lose effectiveness by trading range. It’s the damned TRUCK DRIVERS, MEDICS, etc., that needed a handier weapon. . . and they were LAST on the priority list. because their jobs aren’t “sexy”. . . so a damned fine CARBINE was used to replace a RIFLE, instead of issuing the M4 the way it should have been — as the 1990’s version of the M1 carbine.

  • Mr.T

    Follow the money reason M4 and M16 are still in use is Colt was ‘robbing the bank’ and generals got their seats on the boards , only in 2012 was cold monopoly broken and magicaly prices droped 50% FN’s contract with the Army $642 per M4A1. Remington M4A1 was just $673 per. Colt’s previous contract, priced the rifles at over
    $1,200 a piece. Replacing M4 would only cost as much as keeping M4 ,in case of XM8 it could probably be even cheaper than keeping the M4 ,you do realize they buy new all the time

  • Michael R. Zupcak

    As long as the people making M4 carbines are playing golf with the powers that be, forget carbine competitions.

    • Actually, I should think folks like FN and Colt have a lot to gain by winning a sole-source contract for a new carbine.

      It’s just not needed.

  • Lance

    No I agree with them when ICC made it clear that 5.56mm NATO is a the only caliber they want then made no sense to goto a new rifle at all. Hate to say the whole thing started by a corrupt Senator Colbern who get money from FN to make this competition. Im glad it blew up in both there faces. What a waste money this is.
    Same goes for this attempt to replace the M-9 with another 9mm pistol WASTE OF MONEY when the DOD cant enough money.

    • The competition allowed the solicitation of rifles in new calibers, they just wouldn’t subsidize it. Which makes sense, seeing as how they’ve spent a lot of money perfecting 5.56mm.

  • MrSatyre

    So what happens to the folks who “did not follow the Small Arms Capabilities Based Assessment findings and recommendations, and inappropriately approved and validated the requirements document” which wasted $14M? Are they sent to Ft. Leavenworth to break rocks? In the civilian world, that would be known as fraud, and people would be going to Club Fed.

  • Joshz

    I personally think it should have. The M4 is a good gun no doubt. But it definitively has some issues. The magazine is one, The smallish and breakable bolt being another. Needing to run the gun wet to be reliable. Its 2014 you would think by now the ar15 platform would advanced a little more then it has.

    • Almost none of the M4’s competitors have a different bolt configuration.

      • Chase Buchanan

        Or different magazines.

      • 35Whelan

        XCR is the almost none. Small company, early bugs, eccentric/odd owner, and bad press from AR diehards put it in the back seat. If you want to look at something innovative, it is a good look see. Good hybrid of an AR with the AK operating structure. Army would never adopt it, but a nice personal use weapon.

  • USMC03Vet

    The range warrior gear rush during the war on terror transitioning from cold war era was something. Granted some were legit improvements, but a lot of it was wasted money especially redesigning packs, vests, and unfiroms. The rush into a carbine was no different and you can’t keep rushing into marginally better mass issued gear because it’s a gigantic waste of money.

    Big Army going full retarded with full M4A1 implementation is just mind boggling absurd.

    At the end of the day gear doesn’t accomplish the mission. Training and the will to get it done does.

    • Why were the M4 and M4A1 mistakes, in your opinion?

      • USMC03Vet

        M4 was chosen because it was lighter and smaller. That’s it. Not because it was performing better than what was already being used. In fact a lot of the war on terror gear happened because POGs started having to use it/carry it. I went through plenty of new gear a lot of just crap or unnecessary. Don’t even get me started on packs…

        Every soldier doesn’t need a fully automatic weapon. The supposed improved trigger pull claim is the biggest joke ever. Troops aren’t missing shots because a supposedly terrible trigger pull on burst fire weapons. Then you have the ineffectiveness of short barreled automatics with low ammunition pools before reloading. It’s a waste of ammunition plain and simple and I doubt the feature will even be used because it would be so ineffective.

        • Commonsense23

          M4A1 is a significant advantage of the M4, heavier barrel, and that trigger is horrible on the M4, due to three different trigger pulls on the rifle. Yes shorter barrels are worse with the M855, but with improved ammo like the MK262, MK318, and maybe even that 855A1, they are more than making up for it now. And what gear do you say was cause by POGs wearing it? Plate carriers? Optics?

        • Couldn’t being lighter or smaller improve a weapons performance, e.g. by allowing quicker dismount from vehicles, etc?

          I was under the impression that full auto was retrofitted to the A1 not because it was desired, but because the goofy burst mechanism on the M4 and M16 was undesirable.

        • Zachary marrs

          So what would be your thoughts on a mid length gas system?

  • Bubba

    Newer is always better, as many people think. Witness this latest debacle to replace the M16 series of weapons.

    Take for instance the 1911A1. A pistol that had served it’s purpose for decades upon decades. Only to be replaced by a piece of crap Italian 9mm. Say what you will. But the 1911A1 has soldiered for more than a century and it would be a better pistol to issue troops than any “modern” pistol out there. If myself, my brothers, our fathers, our grandfathers, could have used the 1911 without regrets, then today’s effeminate soldiers, sailors and Marines should be able to do so without incident. If not, they belong working at the local fast food mill.

    Remember, it hasn’t been, for years, about performance. In all things government, including our once never politically tainted military, it’s not about performance, it’s about politics.

    I used the M16A1 for more than 20 years as an issue weapon. Today I own several iterations of that fine firearm. And all things considered, I’ll take one of those over the vaunted AK series of weapons.

    Keep the M4. Make the 77 grain Black Hills round standard issue. Continue to improve optics. And get rid of the political correctness that has invaded our military. Start training warfare and killing the bad guys as a priority. Not effing tattoos and the hated diversity bullshit. And lastly, get rid of women from the military. They are not needed and only a hindrance.

    • Mk. 262 does not meet the requirements for a standard infantry round.

      • Bubba

        Oh really ? And just what are the requirements for a “standard infantry round” ? SOCOM uses it as their primary round.

        Your remark sounds like the proverbial bullshit to me.

        • Being able to produce a billion rounds per year, for a start.

      • Bubba

        Hey Smart guy Nathaniel….tell me, how is it the Israeli’s are using their 77 grain, 5.56mm round as standard issue with their 16 inch TAVORs ? It seems to meet the Israeli standards for issue to combat arms troops. That same round is being marketed here stateside as the Razor Core.

        The only requirement for the green tip 62 grain, 5.56mm round was that it was compatible for use with the SAW. Nothing “standard infantry round” about it. Just bean counter bullshit.

        • The IDF uses an SS109 variant, to my knowledge.

    • GUNxSPECTRE

      Phew, that last bit there.
      Should I get you a nice cold glass of iced tea, old man?

      • Bubba

        Hey Spectre….why don’t you respond with some specifics instead of ridicule. And that “last bit” you make reference to ? That’s for you effeminate, politically correct fools who don’t understand that a woman’s place is not on the battlefield.

        Here’s a challenge for you types who have chosen to abandon your manhood and the left-wing policiticians: I challenge DoD to create an all-woman infantry battalion, a provisional battalion of nothing but their beloved female “warriors”. Equip them as any proper, male infantry battalion would be equipped. Then drop them in the hills of Afghanistan for 30 days to hunt Hajii. Remember….no males allowed. Only DoD’s beloved females. Then, and here’s the catch, the evaluators are NOT active duty careerists beholding to their hopeful pensions. Only retired combat arms NCOs such as this “old man” you chose to ridicule, will do the evaluation of their performance.

        I can give you the answer to such a scenario that your beloved DoD would never conduct…..i.e., your beloved female “warriors” would fail to perform to the required standard. Hunt, close with, and kill the enemy.

        • GUNxSPECTRE

          You’re hilarious man. Please continue.

          • Bubba

            Hey Gun….be specific instead of foolish. What makes me a “hilarious” man ? Come on….grab your mangina and be specific instead of making ad hominem attacks. Try responding with sensible remarks to my comments. Or is it you can’t ? Too busy running the vacuum in between cooking dinner for momma and tapping out some ignorant comments here ?

            Sadly, you’re a perfect example of the state of affairs the USA is in. Rather than exhibit any sort of intellectual response you just make asinine remarks of ridicule.

            I wish I could say you’re hilarious. But unfortunately, you’re a sad example of today’s American male.

          • GUNxSPECTRE

            You should seriously be POTUS, dude. Looks like you got your shit together! I’d vote for you buddy.

          • Bubba

            Gun….let’s go….you remarked that my comments were hilarious. You wrote it in ridicule. Now man-up an give your sensible response to my remarks. I know you can do it. Make argument with me so that I an others can see your point of view.

            Your sensible thoughts on my remarks re: 77gr Black Hills ammo, 1911A1 displaced by M9, woman in the military, etc. Tell me where I’m wrong.

            Just do it Gun.

          • GUNxSPECTRE

            Nah I’m too lazy, because I’m a jobless hippie stoner that’s too high to do anything. I also happen to really distrust the government and all forms of authority.

            Have you had your prostate checked lately, old man? Because I heard having sticks in there too long can lead to some medical complications.

          • Bubba

            Well Gun, for a moment there I thought you had a glimmer of maturity. But in the end you’re a disrespectful and immature excuse for an adult.

            As I wrote earlier….you and a multitude of your types are why America is in the crapper. To think I spent a quarter of a century to preserve the freedom of folks like you is downright disgusting. But I understand I defended one’s freedom to be an asshole as well as being mature. Just remember, you can enjoy the freedom to spout your bullshit here. But the only thing that allows you that freedom is your anonymity via the Internet. Face-to-face, you wouldn’t have the gonads.

            Here’s some advice….grow up. Time is short.

          • GUNxSPECTRE

            Lemme clue you in on something old-timer. I’m having a moment of clarity amidst my marijuana smog. I’m guessing you’re literate. Good, because the name of this blog is “The Firearm Blog” with the subtitle of “Firearms Not Politics”, and not “The Military Politics Blog” with the subtitle of “Anyone Wants to Guess What’s Wrong With The Military”?
            And hey, I’m gonna say up front that your analysis of this article’s topic in the your first four paragraphs were fine. The last one? It steps into politics. No one here cares or should care what anyone here, yes even you, feels or thinks about “tattoos” “diversity” and “no women in the military”. Again, no one cares about what you think about those, but good on you for dropping those bombs at the end though. It’s clever I gotta admit.

            Now that whole business is out of the way, I had my time-machine warming up while I typed up that whole section above. It’s a one way trip to the 1940’s. Wouldn’t you like to take a trip to America’s most glorious and accomplished era? I thought so.
            Just pack your clothes and bring a few bucks. No, none of that dumb modern stuff now like cellphones and computers. Hey, write me a postcard when you get there.

            And no old man, I won’t grow up because I’m going to do exactly the opposite of what you’re telling me to. Because like I said before, I’m a hippie stoner that has a problem with authority. I’ll drink, party and shoot at shit like I’m still in my twenties until the day I die. You can’t tell me how to live my life, grandpa.

        • “Beloved females”…??? O.o

        • The Truth of the Matter

          I still find it kind of amazing, that in 2014, people are so open about their misogyny. “A woman’s place” today is wherever she deems fit, even if it offends your antiquated notions.

        • Nicks87

          Let me guess, you dont get laid much do you?

    • Jon R.

      Israel’s military is arguably one of the best and most battle hardened military’s around, despite women making up a large percentage of its personnel. One of Russia’s deadliest snipers during WWII was a woman that had over 300 confirmed kills. Women have proven to be capable warriors.

      • brainy37

        Women don’t make up a large percentage of their military. And definitely not the combat arms. They do have a higher percentage than western militaries combat arms but it’s still tiny. Their deployment has also been one of debate as they just don’t get deployed like other units.

    • n0truscotsman

      The 1911 was long in the tooth by the 1980s, and to be quite honest, it was illogical for the military to NOT replace it with a higher capacity 9mm semi-automatic.

      You can say what you want, but the M9 is one of the most reliable 9mm handguns ever created.

      We have the Mk 262 in service already, for certain applications. The M855A1 already solves the known lethality problems of the previous M855.

      Last, but not least, your opinions about “diversity” and women are needless distractions and rantings. Sure, the breakdown of discipline and setting aside of traditions and history are huge problems, but those issues have nothing to do with diversity or women in the military.

      The root of the problem is the military being used as a corporate welfare and jobs program for an elite caste of generals and staff, not to mention their cronies in certain industries that value profit over effective, robust weapons systems essential for winning a war. That has nothing to do with tattooed lesbians or any other boogeyman of “traditionalists”.

      and “effeminate”? Those “effeminate troops” were the ones slogging through the streets of Baquouba, Fallujah, Ramadi, North Baghdad, alongside Paktia, Khost, Helmand, etc etc, turning a lot of shitheads into worm food.

  • GUNxSPECTRE

    There hasn’t really been all that much fundamentally better in terms of firearms development in the past decade or so to really warrant a dramatic change of what we have now. That’s my cheap opinion. There are refinements sure, but not exactly industry-changing like the STG-44, or the AR and AK. I’m guessing it’ll be another decade or two just improving on existing tech until we decide to make the jump to hand-held railguns or whatever.

  • Uniform223

    Really when you look at it, what are the real advantages ( if any ) that these newer carbines and combat rifles give a soldier? In my opinion… none.
    Modularity? Sorry SCAR, ACR, and that new ARX100… the AR-15 did it first… well the Stoner 63 but you get my drift.
    A quick change barrel? Seriously if you need a QCB ( quick change barrel ) for you rifle out in the field, you’re an idiot. The only people that require a QCB capability are your SAW and general purpose machine gunners ( 240 ). If I went back into the suck right now and the US military got a new rifle that has a QCB capability, I’d just leave those extra barrels in my ruck back at my hooch over in the sand box. The whole hype over a QCB rifle is only beneficial BEFORE you go on mission or patrol. “oh no I gotta clear a hut or building. lemme reach into my pack and change out this 14.5inch barrel with a 10.5. Gimme a few seconds guys I’ll be right there”.
    Reliability? Has anyone who has served recently really believe that the M16/M4 series of rifles are useless? You know what there are a lot of enemies of the US military who are not walking and talking anymore because the m16/m4 went bang. Everyone always talks and hypes up these piston short stroke ( how ever much is out there ) designs. In reality a piston operating system is more beneficial for use with a suppressor and SBR designs. In my personal experience my old M16A2 and later M4 were just as reliable as any well built civi rifle out on the market.
    Ergonomics? Lets face it, the M16/M4 ergonomics is pretty much standard. Granted there are a few things you can change and tweak to make it better but there really isn’t much you can do. There is a reason why so many of these latest and greatest new rifles and carbines out there still hold onto a “AR-15 like feel”.

    the list goes on but really there isn’t anything out there.

    when you think about it the only two real ways to improve a modern day combat rifle is a change in caliber ( which would be a headache ) and some kind of new super highspeed type of firing operating system. If there was some kind of new operating system out there that vastly improves the weapon overall but isn’t too entirely complex and expensive, then it would have been used by now. Back then in the late 80s and early 90s the US Army tried to replace the M16 with new design concepts that incorporated the hyper-burst feature. I remember Metal Storm and how they tried to market the technology to be miniaturized for small arms technology. It was pretty much a modernized take on superposed loading.

    here is a good take and non biased read on the M855A1 if anyone wants to look at it.

    http://www.americanrifleman.org/article.php?id=33727&cat=27&sub=28&q=1

  • Professor Hale

    I won’t go into all the red meat in the comments here about the perfect infantry rifle, but I was at the heart of these decisions here in the Pentagon when it happened. I can let you in on a few facts that the report does not get into.

    1. The CBA is NOT “analysis”. It is a bunch of guys sitting around a table dreaming about their view of the perfect army. Their “gap analysis” is seldom something that is outside the box and normally describes in very general terms something that the community already knows they want. It is a starting point, not a conclusion.

    2. The Army ALWAYS has an enduring requirement for rifles. We don’t need to justify it. We are always looking for a better rifle and testing the candidates we find along the way.

    3. Congress has been demanding that the Army get a new rifle for years. Some congressional members are always asking the Army to justify why we are still using that “crappy M-16 that their uncle who was in Vietnam told them about”. In response to that, the Secretary of the Army directed a full and open competition. That is a valid requirement and a legal and proper way to get an acquisition program started.

    4. The full and open competition was ended because none of the candidates were measurably better than what we already had, the M4/M4A1.

    But the Army HAD to do this because Congress would not take no for an answer.

  • gaosmer

    look back to arms procurement after American civil war and post world war II, we get cheap and the next war always starts off bad. We will never learn.

  • Mike the Limey

    Unless & until the very basis on which SA are chosen ceases to be weapon based there will be no real improvement in performance.
    Choosing a new rifle should NOT be restricted to the ability of a cartridge/bullet combination to fit within the parameters of the current M4/M16 magazine.
    Rather it should be based of producing a rifle to use a cartridge/bullet combination that has the desired weight & terminal ballistics at a specified range.
    Virtually ALL studies of rifle & light machine gun ammunition since WW2 have pointed to a caliber between 6mm & 6.8mm as being optimal, yet all have been ignored either through expediency or outdated thinking.
    Combat ready caseless &/or telescoping ammunition is still decades away & can thus be discounted but retaining 5.56×45 will continue to risk the lives of those at the sharp end through its demonstrated lack of effectiveness past 300m.