The Marine Corps’ much-hyped M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle may have picked up a much-needed cost reduction, but the rifle’s troubles are still on full display.

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In their race to field a more powerful automatic rifle, the Marine Corps sidestepped the normal acquisition process and approved a contract to buy them at price tag five times that of the current M4 rifle. The $150 million deal, which may have involved a government employee who recently worked at the foreign arms maker that won the bid, is now under intense scrutiny from Congress — and raises questions about the Corps' aggressive focus on fielding more lethal gear into troops’ hands as quickly as possible.

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