WASHINGTON – Hundreds of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have experienced shortages of key protective equipment including armored vehicles, roadside-bomb countermeasures and communications gear, a Pentagon survey released Tuesday shows.
The Defense Department Inspector General's Office polled roughly 1,100 service members and found they weren't always adequately equipped for their missions. The troops were interviewed in Iraq and Afghanistan last May and June.
Those surveyed reported shortcoming with vehicles outfitted with armor; "crew-served weapons," which are weapons it takes more than one person to handle, such as artillery or a large machine gun; electronic countermeasure devices, such as equipment designed to foil roadside bombs by interfering with cell-phone signals that may be used to detonate them; and communications equipment.
The survey found that those not getting needed gear include troops performing untraditional missions such as training, reconstruction, detainee operations and explosive ordnance disposal.
In some cases, they went ahead with the work anyway, used informal means to get what they needed or canceled or put off operations while waiting for equipment, the report summary said.
The report found the U.S. Central Command and the Army's internal equipment controls inadequate and recommends improvements.
Only a summary of the findings were made public; much of the report is classified.