DID has covered the USA’s Base Realignment and Closure process before, a fairly unique effort whereby a commission draws up a list of bases to be closed, and the Congress must vote yes or no to the entire list. The result is that it becomes much harder (but not impossible) for Congressmen to protect each base, and easier to create a basing system whose priorities are shifted toward military rather than political needs.
The 2005 BRAC Commission’s recommendation to realign and consolidate facilities in the USA’s National Capital Region, in order to meet the medical and security needs of the 21st century, includes the realignment of all tertiary medical services currently located at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. The new joint operational medical facility will be named the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and will be staffed by personnel from the Navy, Army and Air Force. The existing Walter Reed main installation is mandated to close by 2011, according to the BRAC law.
DID thought this was an interesting BRAC initiative to cover going forward as a Spotlight article… and then the controversies hit. In their aftermath, the first contract has now been issued for construction of the new facility. DID chronicles the contracts – and the controversies – in this DII public-access article.
The dreaded Ankle-height ammunition (“ammo”) boots with nailed soles were worn by generations of British Army soldiers, and as recently as the 1982 Falklands War, British soldiers were still using puttees – strips of cloth wound round the leg above low boots. The BCH (Boot Combat High) became standard issue a few years after the Falklands war, bringing the UK into line with other NATO forces. Now the bar has been raised again to keep up with developments in other militaries and civilian industry – and lessen the shock of putting on those “hard leather squarebashers,” as Britain’s Ministry of Defence calls them. Colonel Silas Suchanek, leader of the Defence Clothing project team, said:
“We were looking for boots that would minimise the impact of working in temperatures that can go as high as 50 [degrees] centigrade, that would provide support to the foot when carrying heavy loads, and that could withstand the rigours of operating in conditions ranging from sandy desert to very abrasive stony ground.”
Fllowing trials in Autumn 2007 that tested 22 different brands, Britain will offer 4 new kinds of boot: For winter yomping, the Prabos cold wet weather boot has a stiffer sole and is the one generally used for operations. While the Iturri cold wet weather boot has a softer sole and will be more widely used for recruit training. In warmer climes, the Meindl and Lowa heavy-duty desert boots are designed to cope with the desert heat, provide more support, and offer easier “break in” than traditional hard leather footwear. The Lowa boot also has a womens’ model, which avoids the unisex problem of being too wide at the heel. The Meindl combat boot is already being issued to all troops who require it, and the Lowa boots will be available to all combat troops. The UK MOD hasn’t yet built up the same stocks, however, so priority will go to those in the dismounted combat role. UK MoD release.