Thursday, January 27, 2011

M-16

I had heard about this history before, but this article is just heart-breaking.

Some elaboration, and interesting comments, from '03.

Tempting to say this is a parable of government incompetence. But it's unfair to call MILITARY incompetence "government." All military procurement, everywhere, is aggressively snafu-ed and always will be.

(Nod to Mr. Overwater)

4 comments:

Eric said...

I don't think the term SNAFU would exist were it not for government.

dima0170 said...

The "Jammin' Jenny" was the result of an overlooked design flaw in the cartridge, not the weapon. It was quickly corrected, and the weapon has an admirable track record since... none of which addresses the sleazy way the weapon first reached the troops.

Pelsmin said...

Reminds me of a line from Col. John Boyd, USAF. He was talking about procurement fraud on the safety of the Bradley Fighting Vehicles, which were tested with water in the fuel canisters instead of fuel, so they wouldn't blow up so easily. He described Generals as men "who would put their lives on the line for their country, but not their careers."

enoriverbend said...

Chivers' analysis may be insufficiently cynical, however.

"This would have been a matter of proposing specifications for caliber, muzzle velocity, weight, accuracy, and any number of other characteristics. These specifications could then have been provided to government designers and private industry — to Ruger, to Colt's, to Remington, to Winchester, to Browning, to Cadillac Gage, and others — with a deadline for design submissions."

Yes, but given past history, the best gun still wouldn't have won, and whatever firearm "won" the test wouldn't matter, since the requirements would be rigged, even post-test, if necessary, to make sure that the desired favorite ended up appearing to win.

The history of the federal armory and firearms selection is the history of rigging tests and political influences, together with outright cluelessness. See for example the history of the adoption of the Springfield 1903.