He told the soldiers at that town-hall style meeting that it was a matter of physics, no expense was being spared on upgrading the armor on their vehicles. Turns out, that statement was "inoperative".

The company who supplies the vehicles says they could upgrade their production run 20% or more per month no problem, just send them the order
to do so…

Lying is absolutly the first instinct with these guys.


Armor Holdings Could Boost Humvee Armor Output 22%

Dec. 9 (Bloomberg) — Armor Holdings Inc., the sole supplier of protective plates for the Humvee military vehicles used in Iraq, said it could increase output by as much as 22 percent per month with no investment and is awaiting an order from the Army.

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said yesterday the Army was working as fast as it can and supply is dictated by “a matter of physics, not a matter of money.'' A Pentagon spokeswoman declined comment.

Jacksonville, Florida-based Armor Holdings last month told the Army it could add armor to as many as 550 of the trucks a month, up from 450 vehicles now, Robert Mecredy, president of the company's aerospace and defense group, said in an interview today.

“We're prepared to build 50 to 100 vehicles more per month,'' Mecredy said in the telephone interview. “I've told the customer that and I stand ready to do that.''

Insurgent attacks on the vehicles with homemade bombs and rocket-propelled grenades account for as much as half of the more than 1,000 U.S. deaths and 9,000 U.S. wounded in Iraq, and have fueled criticism by members of Congress such as Representative Ellen Tauscher, a California Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, that the Pentagon didn't adequately equip U.S. troops.

Tesia William, a spokeswoman for the Army Materiel Command, which handles the armored Humvee program, had no immediate comment on the status of orders.

"Best Possible Equipment"

President George W. Bush said concerns raised by soldiers in questions to Rumsfeld yesterday in Kuwait are being addressed,'' Bush said in response to a reporter's question. “We expect our troops to have the best possible equipment. If I were a soldier overseas wanting to defend my country I'd want to ask the Secretary of Defense the same question, and that is are we getting the best'' equipment, he said. “They deserve the best.''

U.S. troops preparing for deployment to Iraq told Rumsfeld yesterday in Kuwait that they are salvaging armor from landfills to install “hillbilly armor'' on their Humvees. Rumsfeld replied that “you have to go to war with the Army you have.''

Senator Chris Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, called Rumsfeld's remarks “unacceptable'' in a letter sent to the secretary.

“Our troops go to war with the Army that our nation's leaders provide,'' Dodd wrote. “Our military should spare no expense to ensure the safety of our troops, particularly as they confront a hostile insurgency and roadside bombs throughout Iraq.''

Higher Output

Armor Holdings has already boosted output from 60 vehicles per month a year ago, said Mecredy, 58. As a result of the increased output, Armor Holdings has cut the price for the armor its supplies for the trucks to $58,000 per vehicle, from $72,000 per vehicle a year ago, Mecredy said.

Shares of Armor Holdings rose $1.82, or 4.5 percent in New York Stock Exchange composite trading at 12:37 p.m.

When he was asked about current production yesterday, Rumsfeld said he wasn't sure of the exact figure. “It's something like 400 a month are being done,'' he said.

“It's a matter of production and capability of doing it,'' Rumsfeld, 72, said.

Making the armor has to be coordinated with output of the actual trucks by AM General LLC of South Bend, Indiana, Mecredy said. AM General spokesman Lee Woodward also said that truck output could also be increased.

`Not Close to Capacity'

“If they ordered more trucks, we'd build more trucks,'' Woodward said. “We're not close to capacity. It might take some time to ramp up but we can do it.''

Woodward declined to provide exact details on production capacity.

The main reason there isn't enough armor is because the military has underestimated its own needs, said Meghan Keck, spokeswoman for Senator Evan Bayh, an Indiana Democrat. Bayh wrote a letter to Rumsfeld in October calling for a more accurate estimate of Humvee needs.

“If the Army would be up front about the number of Humvees needed, the companies would be able to set their production accordingly to meet the need,'' Keck said in a phone interview. At Camp Arifjan in Kuwait, Capt. George Petropoulos came up with a design for armor cut from steel plates bought locally or imported and welded on to Humvees.

“If an improvised explosive device hits the armored Humvee, it “would destroy the vehicle but save a life,'' said Petropoulos, a 32-year-old reservist from Milwaukee, who commands the 172 Transportation Co., in an interview at Navistar, a staging area for convoys to Iraq.

To contact the reporter on this story: Edmond Lococo in Boston at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rob Urban at

Special thanks to David Milstein for forwarding me the article.