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Senate Approps: Trim 580 U.S. Programs

Sep. 16, 2011 - 03:45AM   |  
By MARCUS WEISGERBER and KATE BRANNEN   |   Comments
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The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee this week cut $26 billion for the Pentagon's 2012 budget request, freezing defense spending at 2011 levels. To do so, the bill includes 580 reductions to programs requested in the budget, according to the committee's report on its bill.

Below is a breakdown of some of the committee's decisions, which must still be approved by the full Senate, reconciled with the House version of the bill, and signed by President Obama:

Army

Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV): The committee cuts $644 million from the Pentagon's request, providing $$240 million for the program. The committee would like to see the analysis of alternatives completed before the program ramps up any further. The committee is also concerned about the vehicle's cost, which is estimated at anywhere from $13 million to $17 million a copy. While the Army has over 25,000 combat vehicles, it only intends to buy 1,874 GCVs. "Given the limited niche the GCV will fill within the Army's overall combat vehicle portfolio, the committee is concerned over the affordability of the GCV program in this challenging fiscal environment.

Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV): The bill calls for cancelling the JLTV program, saying the Army and Marine Corps' effort to competitively recapitalize their Humvee fleets should fulfill most of the JLTV requirements. The committee notes the JLTV program has faced setbacks: schedule delays, requirements changes, and cost growth. The services have also scaled back the program, with plans for the JLTV to replace only a fraction of the entire Humvee fleet.

Armed Scout Helicopter: The bill would cut $90 million from the Army's armed helicopter account. The Pentagon's request included $73 million for a technology development contract award for the Armed Scout Helicopter, a program started after the service canceled the Comanche program in 2004 and the Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter in 2008. Because the Army doesn't plan to award a contract until fiscal year 2013, the committee zeroed out the money for it in 2012. The committee also cut $17 million from the Army's effort to upgrade its OH-58D Kiowa Warriors, a helicopter forced to fly longer due to other program cancellations. The cost of upgrading the older helicopters "are close to or exceed the cost of buying new aircraft," the bill report says. "The committee questions whether this is a prudent investment in 40-year-old airframes."

Medium Extended Air Defense System: The committee fully funds the Pentagon's request for $407 million for MEADS. After an investment of $1.2 billion and several years of effort, the Pentagon announced in February that it no longer intends to by the missile defense system it's been developing with Germany and Italy, with Lockheed Martin leading the industry team. However, the committee says it's been informed by the Pentagon that a unilateral withdrawal from the program would cost as much or more than funding the program over the next two years. Funding the remainder of the program is also the only way the United "can harvest technologies for future U.S. requirements."

Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System (EMARSS): The committee nixed the $540 million requested for the EMARSS program, citing production delays.

Navy

Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile: The committee cut $69 million from the Pentagon's $188 million request for Raytheon AMRAAM missiles, citing a "production backlog."

Navy Shipbuilding: The committee did not cut procurement funding from any of the Navy's major shipbuilding programs, including DDG 1000, Littoral Combat Ship.

V-22 Osprey: The committee cut $7.7 million for the Marine Corps $2.2 billion request for 30 Ospreys. It fully funded an $84 million request for advance procurement for future aircraft. In addition, the committee urges DoD to consider asking Congress for the OK to enter another multiyear procurement pact with Osprey-maker Bell-Boeing, citing $420 million in saving under the current multiyear pact.

Air Force

A-10 Warthog: The committee zeroed the Air Force's $146 million request for the Boeing-run A-10 wing replacement program due to problems in development problems. The program has experienced "significant delays" and the first test wing "included deficiencies that have further delayed the program." Senators want a report from the Air Force on how they plan to fix the problem.

C-130J Super Hercules: The committee added $120 million in advance procurement for 12 Lockheed Martin C-130Js, planned to be purchased in 2013.

C-17 Globemaster III: The committee removed $109 million in shut-down costs due to an increase in international orders for the Boeing-made strategic airlifter.

Defense Weather Satellite System: The committee recommends terminating that program, which is "challenged by a difficult and confusing set of management issues." The committee included $150 million for termination costs and $250 million for sensor development, requirements definition and source selection for a follow-on program.

F-22 Raptor: The committee recommended a $207 million cut to the Lockheed Martin F-22 fighter program due to "program growth." The Air Force had requested $718 million.

HH-60 Recapitalization: The committee cut $86 million from the HH-60 Recapitalization program, leaving $8 million in the account "to allow the Air Force to begin development" of a replacement aircraft. The program is expected to go into "limited production within the next 2 years." The committee also noted it is "concerned that the scope of development efforts will be expanded after the program is initiated."

KC-46A Tanker: The committee cut $135 million from the Boeing program that is not needed in 2012 due to a review of the program after the budget was submitted in February. At that time, the Air Force had not yet selected a winner in the competition.

MQ-9 Reaper: The committee cut all procurement of all 48 General Atomics Reapers from the Air Force's request. The $813 million request is early to need, the report states. The bill also cuts the Army's MQ-1 buy, reducing it by seven aircraft. The committee wants the Army to complete developmental testing before ramping up production further.

Defense-Wide

F-35: Joint Strike Fighter (JSF): The bill cuts $695 million from JSF, freezing production at 2011 levels for one more year and reducing production quantities in 2013 as well. Senate appropriators say they're concerned the Pentagon is buying too many of the aircraft before the testing portion of the program is complete.

Corrosion Program: The committee included $36 million for corrosion mitigation. DoD had only requested $3.2 million for the program. The investment, could save DoD hundreds of millions of dollars in the long run, the report said.

Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS): The bill would cut $570 million from the Pentagon's $776 million request for JTRS. It would cut $154 million from the Ground Mobile Radio and $257 million from the Handheld, Manpack and Small Form Fit version. The committee cites schedule delays as the main reason behind the funding cuts.

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