The Army may have more than its share of acquisition horror stories, but sometimes, it gets it right: Service officials last week celebrated a decade in service for the workhorse Stryker vehicle, which was developed and fielded in the blink of an eye compared to the time the service has needed for other programs — many of which never panned out. But as this week’s announcement makes clear, the Stryker story shows that when the Army has its act together, it can work quickly to field a vehicle it can both use and upgrade even as soldiers fight from it every day.
There’s a lot of folks out there that like to criticize the Stryker. And some criticism is fair. But the key thing is not whether the Stryker is the end all and be all of armored vehicles. The real key is, the Army now has mounted infantry that previously had no armor, no fire support, and only the mobility of footslogging.
And also note that the Army’s willingness to accept a reasonable, well defined level of capability led to a fast, relatively cheap, mostly trouble free program.