MRAP : marketing military innovation
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Military procurement has a generally poor popular perception, as costing too much, taking too long, and generally underperforming expectations. We might assume that wartime, emergency procurement of military materiel would be easier, but it too can be surprisingly difficult. Conflicts over military priorities, industrial unpreparedness, and politicians’ access to information can pose serious challenges. Fortunately, there are many pathways to military innovation, but industry – the agent which actually produces new materiel – is one that is systematically under-appreciated in the literature. I ask how, when unexpected battlefield problems arise, industry, the military, and government can work together to bring innovative, wartime solutions. To answer this question, I examine the case of a disruptive military threat during the American counterinsurgent campaign in Iraq – that of the improvised explosive device, or IED, and of the response with a particular type of military vehicle – the Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected vehicle, or MRAP, largely from 2003 through 2007. I have used this case to propose new theory on the under-appreciated importance of marketing in military procurement.