Update 3/7/2013 (See update at the end)
Of the nearly 9,000 delivered MaxxPro units to the military, the Department of Homeland Security is apparently taking delivery (apparently through the
U.S. Army Forces Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico VA, via the manufacturer – Navistar Defense LLC) of an undetermined number of the recently retrofitted 2,717 ‘Mine Resistant Protected’ MaxxPro MRAP vehicles for service on the streets of the United States.
As these MRAP’s return from overseas/Afghanistan, and although it is apparently unknown exactly how many are being delivered, or have been delivered to DHS, I decided to dig slightly deeper and discover more about the vehicle itself…
The new DHS sanctioned ‘Street Sweeper’ (my own slang due to the gun ports) is built by Navistar Defense (NavistarDefense.com), a division within the Navistar organization.
Under the Navistar umbrella are several other companies including International Trucks, IC Bus (they make school buses), Monaco RV (recreational vehicles), WorkHorse (they make chassis), MaxxForce (diesel engines), and Navistar Financial (the money arm of the company).
From Navistar Defense:
The International® MaxxPro® is Navistar Defense’s Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle and incorporates the latest design in armoring technology. Extensively tested by the military and used in theater today, the MaxxPro features a V-shaped hull and other design features that greatly improve survivability.
MaxxPro® MRAP specifications:
Length: 254″ (21.2 feet)
Width: 102″ (8.5 feet)
Height: 120″ (10 feet)
Wheel base: 153″ (12.8 feet)
Curb weight: 37,850 lbs. (18.9 tons)
Engine: MaxxForce® 9.3
The MaxxPro MRAP is built to withstand ballistic arms fire, mine blasts, IEDs, and other emerging threats. Its V-shaped hull helps deflect blasts out and away from the crew and its armoring can be customized to meet any mission requirement.
The installation contract retrofits 2,717 vintage MaxxPro vehicles (work performed in West Point, Mississippi) with a new rolling chassis. This chassis enhancement included the addition of the DXM™ independent suspension, a MaxxForce® 9.3 engine, and a 570 amp alternator and driveline.
The work was completed at the end of May 2012. A subset of the work was completed May 2012, while all work is expected to be complete by the end of October 2013.
Observations and Questions:
These MRAP’s ARE BEING SEEN ON U.S. STREETS all across America by verified observers with photos, videos, and descriptions.
Regardless of the exact number of MRAP’s being delivered to DHS (and evidently some to POLICE via DHS, as has been observed), why would they need such over-the-top vehicles on U.S. streets to withstand IEDs, mine blasts, and 50 caliber hits to bullet-proof glass? In a war zone… yes, definitely. Let’s protect our men and women. On the streets of America… ?
It is understandable that these may be beneficial to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) in hot zones on our southern border, however these are being seen all over America, far from her borders…
There are rails along the perimeter windows/gun ports to help displace the impact of RPG rounds… seems a bit much for a Police/Rescue vehicle…
They all have gun ports… Gun Ports? In the theater of war, yes. On the streets of America…?
Seriously, why would DHS need such a vehicle on our streets?
What is DHS expecting or preparing for?
It is a ridiculous over-the-top display of force that is intended to intimidate, and associate the DHS name and logo with ‘FEAR’. The new normal. The new way of American life.
George Washington once said, “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.”
Update: One reader has suggested that the DHS vehicles are not Navistar MaxxPro, but Golan (Israeli made) armored vehicles, while another reader who apparently has worked for Navistar confirms that this vehicle is indeed made by Navistar. There have been numerous reports on this story swirling within the blogosphere with varying claims of make and model. While this new information may or may not be accurate, I still question the need for these types of military armored vehicles riding on the ‘free’ streets of America, regardless of who makes them.
Existing Reset Line Available to Service Vehicles Returning from Deployment
LISLE, Ill., March 15, 2012 Navistar Defense, LLC received an award to conduct the installation work associated with its January order to upgrade 2,717 International® MaxxPro® Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles with a new vehicle chassis.
These mods are for the “vehicle reset line”, meaning, for those that are or have apparently come home from overseas and are being re-purposed for use at home. Where are they exactly being deployed? It is difficult to say, because they have not exactly said. There are numerous pictures of these vehicles in America with ‘Homeland Security’ printed on the sides. The DoD and DHS have an apparent working relationship, and these returning MRAP’s are apparently being re-purposed here on American streets. On the one hand it may seem frugal to re-purpose, on the other hand… why are they showing up on our streets away from border hot zones… One could argue that we might simply mothball them until such time they’re needed again during war operations.
NAVISTAR DEFENSE RECEIVES MRAP INSTALLATION ORDER
“We are focused on increasing the capabilities of our existing fleet with minimal impact to defense funding,” said Archie Massicotte, president, Navistar Defense. “The vehicle reset line we established for this installation work can also be utilized to restore older vehicles to like-new condition. Therefore, we are poised and ready to reset vehicles returning from deployment…”
The installation contract retrofits vintage MaxxPro vehicles with a new rolling chassis. This chassis enhancement includes the addition of the DXM™ independent suspension, a MaxxForce® 9.3 engine, 570 amp alternator and driveline, while leaving a residual chassis with a beam axle that can be reused. The retrofits will be conducted in West Point, Miss., and work is expected to be completed by the end of May 2012.
The company has fielded nearly 9,000 MaxxPro vehicles and continues to anticipate needed vehicle capabilities, enhancements, reset and reuse options for its entire fleet of 32,000 vehicles.
source: Navistar Defense, LLC (March 15, 2012 archives)
The DHS and DoD report up the Executive branch to the Commander in Chief. The DoD / military is primarily limited to overseas actions due to the Posse Comitatus Act, while the new DHS (thanks to the Patriot Act after 9/11) is intended for operations on U.S. soil. The DHS is seemingly becoming the ‘legalized’ military here at home… and one could argue that it may be circumventing the Posse Comitatus Act to some degree.
It has recently been brought to my attention of (“ahem… cough…”) “official” word with regards to the apparent number of MRAP’s owned by the DHS according to a DHS spokesman.
Since this original post, an article written by Business Insider is excerpted as follows:
The Department of Homeland Security is using 16 military-style, mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles for use during “high-risk warrants,” according to an official spokesman…
The MRAPs were transferred to DHS from the Department of Defense, free of charge…
The vehicles are modified for use with the DHS Special Response Team — specially trained, fully armored agents dispatched during the most severe and high risk situations…
“[The vehicle] is used in the execution of high-risk warrants — including drug trafficking, smuggling, and contraband,” “We have 16 MRAPs nationwide.”
…and for more context on whether to believe ‘official’ government statements,
A Jan-2013 Pew Research Center survey found that only 26% say they trust the government always or most of the time…