There is an ongoing problem in the special operations forces community: They lack the basic gear to perform their jobs properly, and as a consequence are spending thousands of their own money to buy it. From helmets and GPS units to medical supplies, our brave men and women in some of the most dangerous jobs on the planet are spending their own hard earned money on basic supplies to do their jobs.
Sean Matson, a former Navy SEAL, CEO of military supply company Matbock, and member of the military’s unofficial civilian-side supply network is working to fix that problem with some members of congress. He can remember from his own service exactly how rough of an impact this was. He had this story to tell Stripes about a ballistics helmet the military measured him 4 times for that never showed up:
“There was never a clear solution to it, so guys were going out spending $800-$900 on their own ballistic helmet.”
This sentiment was echoed by Aaron Negherbon, the executive director of Troops Direct, a non-profit that sends needed supplied to service members who cant get them from their command.
In the days following the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, he got call from the commander of the Marine Corps Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team being deployed their. He was looking for basic supplies like batteries and sniper equipment. Negherbon said:
“They came to us for…batteries because they didn’t have any of those … It is kind of like, ‘What the heck is going on?’…The question is, why can’t you get this?”
The problems are twofold. Either the higher command doesn’t have the money budgeted or the approved equipment isn’t available from the vendor.
In Congress, a group of Republican Congressman are conferring to come to a solution on the issue, including veterans Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr., Rep. Adam Kinzinger, and Rep. Chris Gibson.
According to Hunter there is something messed up with the military supply chain that runs from the military vendors to the troops that need them which needs to be located and fixed.
Kinzinger notes that the military needs to get the battle between supplying the troops properly and giving them the newest equipment, to some sort of equilibrium. If not, and the U.S. engages in a new major war, the military is in for a big hit.
Gibson is leading the charge to pen a letter on behalf of these troops and the members of Congress to Defense Secretary Ash Carter to fully investigate and rectify this matter.
It is truly messed up that these heroes, already underpaid, must dump more of their paycheck into buying equipment that they should be given by their command.
What should be done? Sound off in the comments below!