The Marine Corps just awarded a $51 million contract to issue every Marine the Enhanced Combat Helmet, Marine Corps Systems Command announced on June 9.
Currently, only Marines shipping out on a deployment are issued the Enhanced Combat Helmet, but the new purchase will see that all Marines are able to use the new headgear during training.
The lightweight helmet, currently used by the Army and the Navy, provides enhanced ballistic protection against some small arms and frag. It consists of a ballistic shell, suspension pads, a four-point strap, and comes with a reversible helmet cover, a bracket for night vision goggles, and attachments for additional hardware and devices.
“Right now, we have three helmets fielded, but the future vision is a single helmet for all operating forces, which greatly simplifies logistics considerations and increases cost savings,” project lead Nick Pierce said in the statement.
The five-year contract award went to the Gentex Corporation in Simpson, Pennsylvania for the company to produce and deliver enough helmets for every Marine — roughly 185,000. Gentex is the same company involved in creating the Army’s new ballistic helmet.
The helmets were tested by the Marine Corps in January, and the first order of 35,424 are expected to hit the fleet for follow-on testing in September 2017. Then, if that goes well, in spring 2018, the I, II, and III Marine Expeditionary Forces will begin receiving the helmets.
“The ECH is the helmet of the future Marine,” Maj. John Draper, the Enhanced Combat Helmet project officer said in the statement. “It’s important for Marines to train with the same gear they will bring into combat.”
With the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a gaggle of B-52 Stratofortress bombers flexing their muscles in the Middle East, lawmakers are mounting yet another effort to repeal the post-9/11 legislation that could be used as a potential legal justification for a military conflict with Iran.
The House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday voted along party lines to add an amendment to the annual defense budget that would roll back the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force that, passed just days after the September 11th attacks, provided a legislative blank check for the U.S. military to pursue terror groups around the world.
In what appear to be his first public remarks on U.S. national security since his resignation as Secretary of Defense, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis offered a word of caution to President Donald Trump amid escalating tensions with Iran on Tuesday.
"The United States should buy time to keep peace and stability and allow diplomats to work diplomacy on how to keep peace for one more hour, one more day, one more week, a month or a year," Mattis said during remarks in the United Arab Emirates.
"Iran's behavior must change," Mattis added, "[but] the military must work to buy time for diplomats to work their magic."
To many, he was the homegrown face of terrorist treachery who left a comfortable Marin County life to train for jihad with Osama bin Laden and fight for America's foes in Afghanistan. To others, he was a wayward teenage spiritual seeker swept up in the Global War on Terror.
This week, a generation after 9/11, the "American Taliban" will be a free man.