Amid the awards and decorations on display in the Pentagon office of Ashton B. Carter, the departing deputy secretary of defense, is a metal bearing, larger than a golf ball, which wears the scars of battle.
If the signature weapon of tenacious insurgents over the past decade-plus of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq was the improvised roadway explosive, then the signature weapon of the American response was the Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle, or MRAP.
The ball bearing so prized by Mr. Carter came from one of the vehicles, easily recognizable by their angular shape, to deflect blast, and outsize outside armor.
First as the Pentagon’s under secretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, and then as the department’s deputy, Mr. Carter played a central role in the initiative to rush MRAPs to Afghanistan for the troop surge, circumventing the calcified procurement system that traditionally takes years to move a weapon from idea to the front lines.
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