In a recent war game, a lieutenant colonel of the elite marine amphibious recon unit showed that he was wearing some equipment paid out of his own pocket. The officer’s act called immediate media attention when he posted what he had bought on his own social networking site. Asked why he did it, the colonel replied that it was because the standard-issued equipment was not fitted for combat.
The top brass felt pretty awkward when they were questioned by lawmakers why soldiers had to pay for their own equipment. The generals only said that the marine officer would not be reprimanded for what he did and new equipment were ready to issue to the troops.
Following this incident, the media reported that American soldiers also bought their own equipment like telescopic sight for rifles and magazine clips that would cause bullets to jam in desert weather. And American commanders only asked that all weapons with self-purchased accessories must be zeroed at the shooting range before using them in combat.
It is a fact that the military procurement of both hardware and software is often too slow to meet the soldiers’ need in the battlefield. Mandatory use of standard issued equipment is of course required; however, what’s more important is a soldier’s own ability to protect himself and survive in combat.