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US Army Official Defends GCV Against 'Attacks'

Feb. 25, 2014 - 04:00PM   |  
Heidi Shyu is assistant Army secretary for acquisition, logistics and technology.
Heidi Shyu is assistant Army secretary for acquisition, logistics and technology. (US Army)
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WASHINGTON — The decision to cancel the Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) program had nothing to do with performance, a US Army official said Wednesday, describing criticism of the program as “unfortunate.”

Heidi Shyu, the Army’s acquisition executive, said the decision not to acquire the vehicles was entirely based upon difficult budget math forced by spending cuts.

“Everybody attacks GCV, which is really unfortunate, that’s one program that’s doing remarkably well,” Shyu said speaking at the McAleese/Credit Suisse Conference. “Those contracts are not falling flat on their face, that program isn’t having technical issues, they’re executing really well. It is strictly the fact that we don’t have the money.”

The Army has faced criticism in recent years for canceling programs, including the high profile Future Combat Systems. A 2011 Army report found that the service had spent more than $30 billion on canceled programs since 1995.

The GCV has faced criticism for the cost as well as the weight of the proposed vehicle, with the Congressional Budget Office even recommending in 2013 that the Army not buy GCVs.

But Shyu said the decision to cancel was about the budget calculus.

“Even if you cut 100,000 troops today, you couldn’t squeeze out the money,” she said. “There’s no other place to squeeze the money. Our choice, literally, was do we cut the money out of the GCV and wait until we come out of the bathtub to give us a next generation capability, versus not funding any of the [engineering change proposals] on our existing platforms. That was the trade space that we were in.”

Shyu said that given the need to improve the service’s existing equipment, there wasn’t much of a choice.

“There’s no way to guarantee that the Army is not going to fight for the next seven years, therefore I put a freeze on our current existing platforms to just roll to the next generation.” ■

Paul McLeary contributed to this report.

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