Pentagon Wars – Bradley Fighting Vehicle Evolution


From the movie “Pentagon Wars”, Bradley Fighting Vehicle design and development. Any design engineer will love this scene. The Pentagon Wars is a 1998 dark comedy film from HBO, produced by Howard Meltzer and Gary Daigler, directed by Richard Benjamin, that stars Kelsey Grammer, Cary Elwes, and Richard Schiff. The film describes the dishonesty associated with the 17-year development of the M2 Bradley fighting vehicle. The movie based on the book chronicles a broader history from the 1950s to the mid-1980s, encompassing the time when the “Reformer Movement” sought to bring the Pentagon equipment acquisition process to a requirements-based system rather than the then-prevailing equipment-based system that leans on supplier promises. The reformers were led, philosophically, by US Air Force Colonel John Boyd and Franklin C. “Chuck” Spinney, and went on to include members of both houses of the U.S. Congress. They were receiving input from disaffected members of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. This largely uncoordinated group used the media to disseminate the true evaluations of equipment acquisitions that were going over budget and over time with lower than expected performance. Meanwhile, they created the atmosphere that led to acquisition of useful equipment such as the A-10 Thunderbolt II and F-16 aircraft, which were disliked by the “establishment” Pentagon hierarchy. The Bradley was extensively redesigned in response to Burton’s demands, which significantly reduced casualties from its use during the Persian Gulf War and M2 Bradleys destroyed more Iraqi armored vehicles than the M1 Abrams. However, the system was too strong: Partridge and his cronies earned their promotions and lucrative private sector jobs, while Colonel Burton was forced to retire.

Pentagon Wars - Bradley Fighting Vehicle Evolution

Pentagon Wars – Bradley Fighting Vehicle Evolution

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