Logistics: Qatar Sustains Stryker


January 19, 2008: The war has gone on long enough in Iraq to make it cost-effective to establish local vehicle rebuilding operations. This is particularly the case in a campaign where the most frequent cause of casualties are roadside bombs. While nearly 2,000 troops have been killed by these bombs, more than ten times as many vehicles have been damaged, but not destroyed, by these attacks. In fact, most roadside bombs that go off don't kill, or even injure, any troops. The vehicles are more frequently damaged, sometimes badly, but not so much that the vehicle cannot be repaired. But that calculation has to take into account transport costs, to get the busted vehicle to the repair shop. With the large quantity of banged up vehicles, it quickly became obvious that it would be cheaper to bring the repair crews and their equipment (tools and replacement parts) to the Persian Gulf.

The most lucrative repair jobs are for combat vehicles, which contain lots of expensive electronics and weapons. For example, the U.S. Army set up a Stryker rebuilding operation in Qatar that refurbishes about a dozen blast damaged Strykers a month. When broken vehicles had to be shipped back to Europe or the United States, it took about 200 days to get it back. But with the Qatar facility, it only takes about two months, and you save transportation costs. Many truck and combat vehicle rebuilding operations are already in Kuwait, whose economy is booming because of work like this. Now other nearby nations, like Qatar, are starting to get some of these support operations. The Stryker rebuilding operation is staffed by nearly a hundred people, about a third of them local hires (the rest U.S. troops or civilians).


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