When I was in the Army I remember hearing a story about how we got the M16. Don't know if it's true, but basically some general who was buddies with an arms manufacturer signed a deal for the M16s without the approval of Congress. The government, wanting to avoid embarrassment, simply went along with it seeing as how thousands of them had already been ordered and paid for.
On another note, the M16 would be the perfect weapon for our enemies to use against us. The premise is that the M16 will not kill, but rather wound and incapacitate a combatant. The result is that you take out two soldiers for every one hit - the second one being taken out of the fray to attend to his wounded comrade. Like I said, it would be a perfect tactic to use against us since those in the US military do all they can to never leave a wounded man behind. However, the enemies we face today have no problems purposely blowing themselves up. Frankly, the two for one tactic will not work against people who don't care for human life and are eager to die.
The time for the M16 has passed. We desperately need something with much more stopping power.
Worse: They can take advantage of the US adhering to the Geneva Convention. If one of theirs is wounded, they can simply leave him behind, and let the US care for him, further straining US resources.
Since I know about other stuff like McNamara pushing the F-111 because he liked GD's new computerized supply inventory system, it wouldn't surprise me if your M-16 story is true.
The General - C. LaMay, owner/operator of SAC, back in the "old" USAF.
The story I read was the M16 was a very good weapon that didn't jam (yes I can hear everyone gnashing their teeth). However, when the army got a hold of it they used a lower class of gunpowder that didn't burn as hot and clean and made some other modifications. The army brought the inventor to their lab to ask why they were having problems. His reply, " I don't know, that isn't the weapon I gave you." or something to that effect. I believe it.
If you were in the army back in the 90s, look at the pt sweats. Did those things fit anyone right. I could never understand why the army couldn't just go to Nike or some other company that made sweats and have them put US Army on it.