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The Army’s Powerful New 7.62mm Service Rifle Is Officially Dead
The Army has officially canceled its search for an off-the-shelf 7.62mm Interim Combat Service Rifle (ICSR) meant to replace the standard-issue M4 carbine — a major setback in the branch’s search for a new infantry rifle to augment soldier lethality.
Army Contracting Command announced the cancellation of the ICSR program on Nov. 28, citing a “reprioritization” of funding for the commercially made service rifle to the Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW) as a replacement for both the M4 and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon and “a long-term solution to meet the identified capability gap instead of the ICSR, which was an interim solution.” The announcement did not disclose the scope of the funds involved, and PEO Soldier and U.S. Army Contracting Command did not immediately respond to inquiries from Task & Purpose.
The saga of the ICSR has been a turbulent one. In May, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told lawmakers that the current 5.56 mm rounds chambered in the M4 and M16 assault rifles ubiquitous among infantry troops (namely the M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round) cannot penetrate modern enemy body armor; the same month, he told Senate Armed Services Committee members that Maneuver Center of Excellence officials at Fort Benning, Georgia, had engineered a new 7.62mm round capable of defeating plates similar to U.S. military-issue Enhanced Small Arms Protective Inserts.
Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Daniel Allyn translated Milley’s testimony into a directed requirement for a new 7.62 mm rifle. Shortly after his appearance before SASC, the Army issued a request for information to “identify sources for a combat rifle system” that could deliver up to 50,000 weapons over a truncated timeline; in August, the branch issued a formal solicitation with a simple objective: “to acquire and field a 7.62mm ICSR that will increase soldier lethality.”
On paper, the ICSR looked like a sweet little rifle upgrade. The Army’s original RFI detailed needs for a rifle platform with either a 16 or 20-inch barrel with collapsible buttstock, a 20 to 30-round magazine in support of the standard 210 loadout, noise and flash suppression, compatibility with the Family of Weapons Sights-Individual system that connects rifle sites to a soldier's night-vision goggle, a standard Picatinny rail system for optics, and other accessories. Had the Army moved forward with the program, the ICSR would’ve chambered either the new M80A1 or XM1158 Advanced Armor Penetrating rounds.
Unfortunately, the cancellation of the ICSR has been rumored for months: Military sources told The Firearm Blog on Sept. 20 that the program had become subject to a “massive review of U.S. Army small arms programs.” That review coincided with a three-month continuing resolution on the federal budget in Congress that Secretary of Defense James Mattis, in a Sept. 8 letter to Sen. John McCain obtained by Defense News, warned would jeopardize the ICSR effort along with 17 other Army programs. While the Army’s 7.62mm M110A1 Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System program is still in the works, the ICSR simply wasn’t as lucky.
While PEO soldier program executive officer Army Brig. Gen. Brian Cummings in early October rebutted cancellation rumors, telling Military.com that the ICSR program “is not dead” and a decision “[had] not been made.” But sources told Military.com that Milley had already opted to ditch the requirement detailed by Allyn in May and formally established in the August solicitation.
At the same time, the ICSR’s demise was always meant to be, y’know, “interim.” In an Oct. 3 update on the Army’s Modular Handgun System, Cummings noted that the “long-term way ahead” for the branch’s focus on lethality was always the NGSW. And Cummings hinted that if any program would get the axe, it would be the ICSR: of the two Army programs focused on “[getting] a 7.62 inside the squad,” he said, the squad-designated marksman role addressed by the CSASS sniper rifle trumps the ICSR as a equipping priority.
Photo via Heckler & KochThe Heckler & Koch M110A1 7.62mm semi-automatic sniper rifle selected for the Army’s Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System (CSASS) program on display at AUSA on Oct. 11, 2017.
Don’t worry, though: the NGSW is no peashooter. After conducting a two-year comprehensive Small Arms Ammunition Configuration examination of ammo and fire control systems, the Maneuver Center for Excellence plans on using the NGSW as the primary platform for the next-generation small arms systems that Army researchers are pursuing in accordance with Milley’s laser focus on infantry lethality. The final vision for the weapon includes a heads-up display embedded in a conventional rifle scope, and, as Cummings told Marine Corps Times on Oct. 8, is “a wireless fire control system that senses wind, calculates distance and compensates for ballistics, all while being able to spot heat signatures through thermals.”
Speaking at the annual Association of the U.S. Army convention in October, Milley promised that the NGSW would provide “10 times improvement” in individual Army soldiers’ small arms capability “over any other system in the world,” a bold promise given his dire warnings delivered to Congress back in April. And while the NGSW may not see action downrange until 2022, the Army’s six-month emotional roller-coaster ride over the ICSR may just indicate how focused the branch is on trying anything and everything it can to make America’s soldiers deadlier than ever as soon as possible.
Moments before Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia went back into the house, journalist Michael Ware said he was "pacing like a caged tiger ... almost like he was talking to himself."
"I distinctly remember while everybody else had taken cover temporarily, there out in the open on the street — still exposed to the fire from the roof — was David Bellavia," Ware told Task & Purpose on Monday. "David stopped pacing, he looked up and sees that the only person still there on the street is me. And I'm just standing there with my arms folded.
"He looked up from the pacing, stared straight into my eyes, and said 'Fuck it.' And I stared straight back at him and said 'Fuck it,'" Ware said. "And that's when I knew, we were both going back in that house."
Former Army Special Forces Maj. Matthew Golsteyn will plead not guilty to a charge of murder for allegedly shooting an unarmed Afghan man whom a tribal leader had identified as a Taliban bomb maker, his attorney said.
Golsteyn will be arraigned on Thursday morning at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Phillip Stackhouse told Task & Purpose.
No date has been set for his trial yet, said Lt. Col. Loren Bymer, a spokesman for U.S. Army Special Operations Command.
John Wick is back, and he's here to stay. It doesn't matter how many bad guys show up to try to collect on that bounty.
With John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum, the titular hitman, played by 54-year-old Keanu Reeves, continues on a blood-soaked hyper-stylized odyssey of revenge: first for his slain dog, then his wrecked car, then his destroyed house, then ... well, honestly it's hard to keep track of exactly what Wick is avenging by this point, or the body count he's racked up in the process.
Though we do know that the franchise has raked in plenty of success at the box office: just a week after it's May 17 release, the third installment in director Chad Stahleski's series took in roughly $181 million, making it even more successful than its two wildly popular prequels 2014's John Wick, and 2017's John Wick: Chapter 2.
And, more importantly, Reeves' hitman is well on his way to becoming one of the greatest action movie heroes in recent memory. Few (if any) other action flicks have succeeded in creating a mind-blowing avant garde ballet out of a dozen well-dressed gunmen who get shot, choked, or stabbed with a pencil by a pissed off hitman who just wants to return to retirement.
But for all the over-the-top acrobatics, fight sequences, and gun-porn (see: the sommelier), what makes the series so enthralling, especially for the service members and vets in the audience, is that there are some refreshing moments of realism nestled under all of that gun fu. Wrack your brain and try to remember the last time you saw an action hero do a press check during a shootout, clear a jam, or actually, you know, reload, instead of just hip-firing 300 rounds from an M16 nonstop. It's cool, we'll wait.
As it turns out, there's a good reason for the caliber of gun-play in John Wick. One of the franchise's secret weapons is a professional three-gun shooter named Taran Butler, who told Task & Purpose he can draw and hit three targets in 0.67 seconds from 10 yards. And if you've watched any of the scores of videos he's uploaded to social media over the years, it's pretty clear that this isn't idle boasting.
The Navy's electromagnetic railgun is undergoing what officials described as "essentially a shakedown" of critical systems before finally installing a tactical demonstrator aboard a surface warship, the latest sign that the once-beleaguered supergun may actually end up seeing combat.
That pretty much means this is could be the last set of tests before actually slapping this bad boy onto a warship, for once.
The Justice Department has accused Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) of illegally using campaign funds to pay for extramarital affairs with five women.
Hunter, who fought in the Iraq War as a Marine artillery officer, and his wife Margaret were indicated by a federal jury on Aug. 21, 2018 for allegedly using up to $250,000 in campaign funds for personal use.
In a recent court filing, federal prosecutors accused Hunter of using campaign money to pay for a variety of expenses involved with his affairs, ranging from a $1,008 hotel bill to $7 for a Sam Adams beer.