In 2004, then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld famously told a National Guardsman serving in Iraq, "As you know, you have to go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you want." The soldier had been inquiring about the readiness of Humvees for combat conditions--specifically, the need to "up-armor" the vehicles to provide better protection against enemy fire.
But even if a nation's military has to do the best it can with the gear it has, it can also plan ahead for the gear it knows it will need. That's the dual premise behind the U.S. Army's recent recognition of what it calls its "top 10 greatest inventions for 2006." Fittingly, several of the honored inventions deal specifically with the threat that improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, pose to vehicles--and the soldiers riding in them.