29 August 2006

Transformation Out At Pentagon

The Department of Defense is shutting down its Office
of Force Transformation effective September 30, 2006.

UPDATE: Armchair Generalist is reading my mind. I could have written the material quoted below almost word for word (and indeed just did, in similar terms at Daily Kos).

I don't like SecDef Rumsfeld. You know that. But I did appreciate the idea of transforming the Cold War military into a new and more efficient machine, using top-down direction in developing joint concepts instead of letting the services bicker about their "service-unique" needs and capabilities and continue to waste billions of dollars on gold-plated acquisition efforts. Unfortunately, Rumsfeld may be in the process of giving up on the one thing that might have redeemed his career.

Hybrids Dead for Now At DOD

In related news:

“Right now, we do not have a current hybrid program that targets fielding,” says Gus Khalil, team leader of hybrid-electric research at the Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, or TARDEC.

Thus, like General Motors, European automakers, Korean automakers and Daimler-Chrysler (are they American or European?), they have no hybrid vehicles destined for the U.S. market.

A quote from Motortrend in the link above that "adapting it for larger vehicles isn't as easy", is just plain odd.

The two main uses of diesel-electric hybrid drives prior to the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius were in train locomotives and in submarines, both of which have far more horsepower than say, a Humvee or a tank.

Hybrid SUVs, which are somewhat smaller than Humvees, but still among the largest civilian passenger vehicles on the road, have four wheel drive, and are currently available in the U.S. market under Toyota (the Highlander), Lexus (the 400h) and Ford (the Escape) nameplates. A 2006 model year hybrid SUV gets better fuel efficiency in stop and go driving commonly called "city" driving than a conventional Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla, both of which are compact cars.

Every new vehicle design requires technological and engineering efforts, but a hybrid drive military vehicle is hardly revolutionary technology. Yet, by reducing the need to transport fuel in combat zones (about half of freight transported in the early days of the Iraq war was fuel), and providing greater vehicle range, it would confer real military advantages.

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