The Department of Homeland security has made yet another outrageous purchase, adding 2,700 MRAP ‘military grade, mine-resistant domestic tanks’ to their stockpile of over 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition and other heavy duty vehicles.
Update: While it is clear the Department of Homeland Security has these vehicles as evidenced by the DHS quotes and video below, the initial mainstream reports regarding the purchase of these particular 2,700 vehicles was actually not in the same category. The 2,700 were part of a separate contract. Therefore, the question as to why the DHS is using such vehicles on the streets is still highly valid, but the 2,700 extra light tank vehicles are not in the same fleet. This update was made to help you be as informed as possible on the issue while still getting to the root problem. – Anthony
I was originally skeptical as to the validity of this report as the sources were mostly a list of blogs, which although they can actually be more reliable than major news sources under certain circumstances, are generally a poor source to base such a large article on. After digging through non-English reports, it turns out the Spanish version of Russia Today confirmed the purchase by DHS of 2,700 MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicles that have actually been used in Afghanistan to protect against landmines.
The story was then also reported on by Business Insider, which actually utilized information made available by a Texas-based NBC affiliate WOAI. The affiliate, which went straight to the source, was able to reveal that these ‘light tanks’ used in Afghanistan by the United States military were even further modified for ‘special usage’ by DHS agents for ‘high risk’ scenarios domestically. According to the report, this entails serving dangerous warrants, drug busts, and basically any other ‘high risk’ scenario. You can also view the release from the vehicle developer, Navistar Defense.
From specifics provided by Navistar, the vehicle stats include:
- RPG-resistant blast armor upgraded especially for DHS domestic use.
- A length of 21.2 feet and a width spanning 8.5 feet.
- An advanced V-shaped hull to improve ‘survivability’ of the vehicle and crew.
- The addition of a new ‘MaxxForce® 9.3 engine’ into the DHS version of the vehicle.
MRAP Heavy Vehicles Used in ‘High Risk’ Domestic Scenarios
The DHS actually authorized a spokesperson, Ross Feinstein, to break down the usage of the heavily armored vehicles which contains features designed to withstand IEDs and mount high-powered weaponry. Open ‘gun ports’ offer the ability for DHS agents (and marines in training) within the crew to fire from within the vehicle behind bulletproof shields. Feinstein explained to Business Insider:
“[The vehicle] is used in the execution of high-risk warrants — including drug trafficking, smuggling, and contraband.”
Holding 10 to 11 agents and offering firing points for heavy weaponry in addition to enhanced protection from bullets and other projectiles, this ‘light tank’ is not just beyond any domestic type vehicle we’ve seen in the past — it’s literally a military vehicles with even further upgrades. A military vehicle that has not only transitioned from Afghanistan war zones to the streets of US cities (namely Texas where the DHS is actually generating PR videos about the MRAP), but has transitioned into an even higher powered weapon of warfare.
The addition of MRAP vehicles into the equipment arsenal of the DHS follows the mass bullet purchases seen by the organization over the past year, which now totals over 1.6 billion (while simultaneously calling for gun bans). The department has also purchased other bizarre items like bulletproof booths for traffic control and previous domestic-based heavy vehicles. The recent acquisition of over 2,700 MRAP vehicles fits right in line with the purchase history of the organization and will likely not be the last on the list for 2013 and beyond.
Watch the video of the MRAP ‘light tanks’ below and see for yourself: