America's lean, mean fighting machine may get a bit more lean in the coming years when it comes to ammunition. The Marine Corps is close to picking up a new polymer ammo for its tried-and-true M2 Browning .50 caliber machine gun to lighten the load for grunts downrange.

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U.S. Army Sgt. James R. Moore of Portland, Ore., a logitstics NCO with the 642nd Regional Support Group, shoots at the Fort Pickett rifle range as part of the Mortuary Affairs Exercise Aug. 15, 2018. (U.S. Army/Sgt. 1st Class Gary A. Witte, 642nd Regional Support Group)

Editor's Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

The head of Army Materiel Command said recently that he is putting a high priority on munitions readiness to make sure Army units are prepared for the next war.

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It's official: After months of testing, the Army is moving forward with an intermediate round between the traditional 5.56mm and 7.62mm calibers for its M4 carbine and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon replacements.

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U.S. Marine Corps/Cpl. Aaron S. Patterson

A bullet that zaps you with an electric jolt like a Taser.

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Conflict Armament Research

Ever since President Barack Obama launched Operation Inherent Resolve against ISIS in Iraq and Syria in 2014, U.S. military personnel and their regional allies have increasingly been forced to stare down the barrels of their own weapons. An exhaustive new investigation of ISIS weapons caches details just how many small arms and ammo caches are falling into terrorist hands — and highlights the Department of Defense’s cavalier attitude towards funneling weapons there, helping to fuel what investigators called “[an] industrial revolution of terrorism.”

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Photo via DOD

The Department of Defense has faced some serious obstacles with regards to keeping track of all of the U.S. military equipment transferred to the Afghan government (let alone the security forces ostensibly wielding them), since efforts to reconstitute the country’s standing national army began in earnest in 2002. But according to a new report, the command tasked training the Afghan national security forces can’t even keep count of its bullets.

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