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Lobbyists fight for WIN-T funding

Mar. 28, 2014 - 03:45AM   |  
By LEO SHANE III   |   Comments
The Warfighter Information Network-Tactical Increment 2 Point of Presence is powered by a satellite antenna mounted under the dome on the rear of this Army MRAP.
The Warfighter Information Network-Tactical Increment 2 Point of Presence is powered by a satellite antenna mounted under the dome on the rear of this Army MRAP. (Army)
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The prime contractor for the Army’s Warfighter Information Network-Tactical isn’t overly concerned about the nearly $200 million cut the program faces next year.

But the company -- General Dynamics C4 Systems -- also wants to keep it from going further.

This week, officials from the company flooded Capitol Hill with about 100 WIN-T suppliers to lobby on behalf of the tactical communications system, arguing that it provides vital resources to soldiers in the field and important jobs in lawmakers’ districts.

Chris Marzilli, president of GDC4, said this was the third year his group has helped coordinate the lobbying event, part of a larger effort to convince lawmakers of the value of WIN-T to the Army.

“Investments are tough right now, but we still think the priority is there,” he said. “So we’re reinforcing the message, talking about how positive this has been on mission effectiveness.”

The service itself has been among the best lobbyists for the program, Marzilli noted. Reaction from brigade combat teams in Afghanistan working with new WIN-T increments has been positive so far, and lawmakers familiar with the program have commented on that upbeat feedback.

“At the end of the day, this really is about soldier safety and mission effectiveness,” he said.

But Marzilli also noted that 8,000 jobs in 39 states are connected to WIN-T and HMS radios, a figure difficult to ignore for lawmakers preaching job creation and retention in their campaign stops.

He expects that lobbying to continue when lawmakers return home, led by local suppliers. Meanwhile, Marzilli said his company will shift focus back to “job #1 -- continuing to produce the program.”

Related: 10 more WIN-T unitis coming in 2014

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