25 April 2012

Congress Authorizing Continued M1 Abrams Purchases, Despite Army Needs

The Army says they don't need them. Congress doesn't care, and is continuing to fund purchases of M1 Abrams tanks beyond what the Army needs.

Despite the U.S. Army’s insistence that its tank fleet is in good shape, congressional support for additional funding for the M1 Abrams tank is growing, with 173 members of the House of Representatives asking Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to sustain tank production in the 2013 budget.

In an April 20 letter, lawmakers from both political parties say the new strategic guidance, which the Pentagon released in January, ignores the combat vehicle industrial base, which “is a unique asset that consists of hundreds of public and private facilities across the United States.”

For the M1 Abrams tank, the most important facility is the General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) production line in Lima, Ohio.

Every House member from the Ohio delegation, with the exception of Republican House Speaker John Boehner and Rep. Dennis Kucinich, a Democrat, signed the letter.

The Army has told Congress that it would like to finish its Abrams buy in 2014 and then not begin upgrading its current fleet until 2017. Senior Army officials testified this spring that the decision was made to stop buying tanks it doesn’t need and instead to invest in higher priorities, such as aviation and providing a battlefield network.

So our force it too heavy, and it costs too much to train, and tanks have proven less-than-practical in current conflicts. But we're going to keep buying more. Yay, government budget (non)cuts!

By: Brant

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