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.
In the January/February 2015 edition of the Atlantic, retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert Scales argues that the M4, the rifle used by today’s infantry, is deeply flawed and a danger to soldiers in combat zones around the world. Specifically, Scales cites the deaths of nine infantrymen who were killed while fighting the Taliban at a combat outpost near the village of Wanat in Afghanistan. He ultimately blames their deaths on their weapons jamming and compares their experience to incidents that occurred in Vietnam 50 years earlier. Scales’ writes, “Over the next few decades, the Department of Defense will spend more than $1 trillion on F-35 stealth fighter jets that after nearly 10 years of testing have yet to be deployed to a single combat zone. But bad rifles are in soldiers’ hands in every combat zone.”