MISHAWAKA — On a visit to the AM General Military Assembly plant in Mishawaka Thursday, Secretary of the Army Mark Esper highlighted his plan to modernize the Army and emphasized the important role he said AM General and its HMMWV (Humvee) will play in that modernization.
"The Humvee is a very capable light truck. It's very versatile, it allows us to perform a range of missions," Esper said. "Like we like to say, it's one of many tools in the tool kit."
The Army's new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle offers the smoothest ride and the most creature comforts of any tactical vehicle they've driven before, soldiers told Task & Purpose. But officials say Army leadership is worried that its next-generation Humvee replacement might be too comfortable.
"For leadership, the ride is so smooth it brings its own concerns," 1st ABCT spokesman Maj. Pete Bogart told Task & Purpose. "My wife has a brand new Volkswagen Atlas, and it does so much for you, you often forget you're hurtling down the highway in a several-thousand-pound vehicle.
"Leadership wants soldiers to remember that they're in a tactical vehicle," he added, "not a Nissan Altima."
The Army's newly-fielded Joint Light Tactical Vehicle was supposed to be a worthy successor to the Humvees that so many veterans derided as "death traps" during the Global War on Terror, an up-armored modular infantry vehicle bristling with weapons.
But according to a Pentagon report, the new vehicles may prove as much of a headache for soldiers than vehicle it sought to replace.