Gun buffs throughout the Gunosphere chomped at the bit when it was announced the United States Army was looking into adopting a 7.62×51 rifle platform back in August. It was intriguing, plus any research and development would ultimately benefit civilian gun owners as even the losers would bring their rifles to market to recoup development costs.
Well…it looks like those who were so stoked will be a little disappointed.
The US Army’s program to field a new standard-issue 7.62mm caliber rifle is dead in the water, it seems. Multiple anonymous sources have informed TFB that the Interim Combat Service Rifle program has been cancelled as part of a massive review of US Army small arms programs. The program was officially announced on August 4th, and lasted just over a month before its cancellation.
Few specifics about the cancellation have been revealed, but TFB’s sources cited the lack of a pressing threat necessitating the change, poorly written requirements, little or no support from the ranks, and no backing holistic DOTMLPF assessment. If these reflections are accurate, then it indicate that ICSR may have been a poorly-constructed program driven by the preferences of the brass and not the needs of the actual soldier.
None of this is to say that this won’t be revisited at a later date.
After all, requirements can be rewritten to be more clear and the ranks can be convinced that a 7.62 rifle is a good thing. The DOTMLPF assessment can be done as well.
All that leaves the lack of a pressing threat.
However, is there a pressing threat that the DOD isn’t interested in talking about just yet? Russia is still siding with Assad in Syria, and the United States is backing groups of rebels. While both sides are fighting ISIS, there’s no reason to see the enemy of our enemy as anything but the enemy of our enemy. Is the Army trying to procure weapons capable of defeating Russian body armor?
After all, not declaring Russia an enemy can make a certain amount of diplomatic sense. After all, the current administration doesn’t necessarily want to rile them up unnecessarily, though I suspect there won’t be any fear of riling them up if it’s time to do so. As a result, no one wants to say, “We need these weapons to take out armored Russian troops.”
Of course, this is all mere speculation on my part. There may actually be no pressing threat. There may be no plans for further American involvement in Syria. There may be no reason at all for a 7.62 rifle except that the powers that be simply thought it would be a good idea.
Either way, it appears this particular weapon system is dead as a doornail for the time being, which means we’re not going to get new guns to drool over as a result of development for a lucrative Army contract. Again, at least for now.
At least we still get to discuss the other applicants for the Modular Handgun System. At least we have that.