In choosing a new carbine, the U.S. Army must navigate a maze of requirements, prioritizing them and likely leave some of them unfulfilled in order to field a rifle. It must also recognize that against the backdrop of more expensive modernization efforts, such as the effort to produce next generation helicopters and infantry fighting vehicles, procurement budgets in the 2020s and 2030s will be tight and there will be a temptation to “make do” with the M4. The new weapon must be as budget friendly as possible while still offering enough improved performance to justify the expense. The “M5” is such a weapon, offering improved lethality and range without breaking the bank.
Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national security writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in the Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring and the Daily Beast. In 2009 he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch. You can follow him on Twitter: @KyleMizokami.