The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Tuesday, August 31, 2004  

It’s Worse Than You Think

After my two recent posts about the deployment of the 427th Transportation Company, based in Norristown, Pa. (“U.S. Troops Still Lack Adequate Armor,” August 26, and “Update: Insufficient Armor,” August 27), I received a message from a reader who maintains contact with a member of the unit other than my source.

According to the reader, the source says the 427th is woefully short not only of armor but also of GPS (global positioning system) equipment: There are just two GPS units in the company’s fleet of 50 vehicles. (For those unfamiliar with the technology, GPS allows the driver of a military vehicle to readily determine his location and can help the driver more easily find escape routes.)

Stepping up to the plate, as Rittenhouse readers so often do, the reader purchased a GPS unit and is shipping the machine to the 427th, which, as previously noted, is based in Kuwait but has been informed it will be sent into Iraq in September.

Imagine it: The U.S. military, notably reservists, relying on family, friends, neighbors, and perfect strangers to fill gaping holes in the Pentagon supply chain. Call it “Outsourcing in the Halliburton Era.”

[Post-publication addendum (September 1): Readers interested in learning more about the GPS units needed by the 427th Transportation Company, and who may be interested in purchasing a unit for these reservists, should send an e-mail to The Rittenhouse Review for additional details.]

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