Heavy armor, heavy lobbying

Heavy armor, heavy lobbying

General Dynamics has been quite open in its opposition to the Army’s proposed three-year closure of its tank plant in Lima, Ohio. But what has that actually meant, in practical terms?

The Center for Public Integrity detailed GD’s fight against the Pentagon in an excellent story this week, detailing the nuts and bolts of a high-stakes effort by a powerful company to protect one of its key interests. Multiply this story by the Defense Department budget and the many brand-name contractors that depend on it, and you’ve got a look inside the workings of the Iron Triangle.

As CPI’s Aaron Mehta and Lydia Mulvany write, official disclosures show that General Dynamics’ contributions to key lawmakers coincided with important events on Congress’ calendar:

Sharp spikes in the company’s donations — including a two-week period in 2011 when its employees and political action committee sent the lawmakers checks for their campaigns totaling nearly $50,000 — roughly coincided with five legislative milestones for the Abrams, including committee hearings and votes and the defense bill’s final passage last year.

After putting the tank money back in the budget then, both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees have authorized it again this year, allotting $181 million in the House and $91 million in the Senate. If the company and its supporters prevail, the Army will refurbish what Army chief of staff Ray Odierno described in a February hearing as “280 tanks that we simply do not need.”

They continue:

Top Army officials have so far been unable to get political traction to kill the M1. Part of the reason is that General Dynamics and its well-connected lobbyists have been carrying a large checkbook and a sheaf of pro-tank talking points around on the Hill.

For example, when House Armed Services Committee member Hank Johnson, D-Ga., held a campaign fundraiser at a wood-panelled Capitol Hill steakhouse called the Caucus Room just before Christmas last year, someone from GD brought along a $1,500 check for his re-election campaign. Several months later, Johnson signed a letter to the Pentagon supporting funding for the tank. Johnson spokesman Andy Phelan said the congressman has consistently supported the M-1 “because he doesn’t think shutting down the production line is in the national interest.”

The contribution was a tiny portion of the $5.3 million that GD’s political action committee and the company’s employees have invested in the current members of either the House and Senate Armed Services Committees or defense appropriations subcommittees since January 2001, according to data on defense industry campaign contributions the Center for Public Integrity acquired from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

These are the committees that approve the Pentagon’s spending every year. Without their support, the tank — or any other costly military program — would be dead.

Kendell Pease, GD’s Vice President for Government Relations and Communications, said in an interview that the company — which produces submarines and radios for the military as well as tanks — makes donations to those lawmakers whose views are aligned with the firm’s interests. “We target our PAC money to those folks who support national security and the national defense of our country,” Pease said. “Most of them are on the four [key defense] committees.”

But Pease denies trying to time donations around key votes, saying that the company’s PAC typically gives money whenever members of Congress invite its representatives to fundraisers. “The timing of a donation is keyed by [member’s] requests for funding,” he said, adding that personal donations by company employees are not under his control. He said the donations tend to be clumped together because lawmakers often hold fundraisers at the same time.

In other words, contractors don’t even need to watch the House or Senate calendars to see when topics of interest are going to come up — lawmakers just ask forthrightly for donations when they need them.  Sometimes, however, outside events will prompt an increase in donations, as Mehta and Mulvany write:

During the current election cycle, General Dynamics’ political action committee and its employees have sent an average of approximately $7,000 per week to members of the four committees. But the week President Obama announced his defense budget plan in 2011, the donations spiked to more than $20,000, significantly higher than in any of the previous six weeks. A second spike of more than $20,000 in donations occurred in early March 2011, when Army budget hearings were being held.

General Dynamics isn’t the biggest contributor of the big brand names, according to data analyzed by the Center for Responsive Politics, and defense is only the 13th biggest giver by interest group for this election cycle. Overall, defense firms have given more than $16.7 million since 2011, and the biggest givers are Lockheed Martin with more than $2 million; Boeing with $1.8 million; Northrop Grumman with $1.8 million; Raytheon with $1.4 million; and then General Dynamics with more than $1 million.

“Although the defense sector contributes far less money to politicians than many other sectors, it is one of the most powerful in politics,” as the Center for Responsive Politics puts it. Part of the reason is that lawmakers have an inherent political interest in protecting their districts, and part of the reason is the industry’s spending on lobbying: In 2012, “defense aerospace” firms have spent $28.8 million on lobbying, according to the center; “misc defense” firms have spent $18.4 million; and “defense electronics” companies have spent more than  $18 million. Taken together, that’s more than $65 million as of this month. Last year’s total was $133.9 million.

So who are some of the lobbyists who advocated for GD on the tank question? Many of them are former staff members from the House or Senate Armed Services Committee, and Mehta and Mulvany include thumbnail profiles here.

Join the Conversation

What the nation needs is serious lobbying/campaign reform. All any of these reps have to do is make a phone call saying its time to donate and money arrives? Hopefully I’m not the only one that sees the problem with this.

OTOH, there are various technologies that are very difficult to retain if you lose them: the design and construction of nuclear submarines being one of them. Tanks are simply not as complex though I am certain that there are skills (and perhaps facilities) that it would pay to retain.

But at the root of all this is a defense acquisition system that is rotten to the core, and only occasionally is able to buy weapons we really need that arrive on time and on budget. The USA would be better off to scrap the entire system and replace it with one similar to that used by the British. They have a board of experts (civilian and military) that analyze the threats, determine the force structures required to defeat those threats, and order hardware/systems accordingly. The only thing Parliament does is approve the funding — and nothing more (this would serve to largely take congressional meddling out of the picture). And they get far more for their money than the USA does.

The Brits have the same budget overruns on their systems, and the Treasury often cuts off programs at the knees, so even if they’re going well, the services don’t get what they planned (see the Sea Harrier fiasco, the Type 45 destroyers, the new subs). I wouldn’t call that any better.

On second thought, rereading what I wrote, maybe it’s just the Royal Navy that gets hosed all the time…

The British not only have similar problems, they are planning to outsource to contractors the outsourcing of their weapons contracts. That is a system that leaves contracting to the contractors. It your dream and democracy’s nightmare. A system certain to drain the Treasury faster than Medicare. It fact, it is Medicare for contractors. They get to prescribe for themselves.

health care is a much greater threat to nation’s treasuries than defense. have you looked at the numbers?

Really , how come Canada and every other western country can do heathcare properly and not stick a family with $15000 pa cost, if they can get it.

Easy solution. have G,D, do more export. The Germans had much success with selling Leopard 2s why not compete with M-1A2s.

The Germans had much success selling surplus Leopard 2’s. Selling surplus M-1’s wouldn’t do much for General Dynamics or keep the skilled workers at the Lima Tank plant from leaving if the plant were to shut down.

They rely on the U.S. for defense of their interests abroad.


You have the right to pursue happiness; not have it provided to you by a government program. Besides, the U.S. health-care problem points more to the strangle-hold of big insurance companies that lobby and help write the Federal and State law. Whole swaths of basic health care are not overly complex (MD check-ups etc.). A two-person shop (Doctor and nurse) should be able to practice and make money without a punitive government looking over their shoulder and demanding mountains of paper-work and other periodic fief to feed a system that is a self-licking ice cream cone. We already have a strong legal industry to take out out doctors that malpractice. We don’t need a blood-sucking insurance scheme in coordination with government red-tape which makes the small shop unprofitable. And, it is the United States of America; not the United Federal Government of America. Health care could be much cheaper by reducing government influence and letting the free-market (the real one not the federally mandated one) take effect. Doing all this at least gets the basic stuff out of the way. Another thing is the Rocko and Moose RICO statute behaviour of prescription drugs. We have off-shored everything else. Why scare-monger over foreign suppliers? We have a Food and Drug Administration to police quality/safety, yet somehow they can’t do that. Foreign suppliers should be able to compete for best price. Finally, the idea that an employer has to provide health insurance is mafia-government-anti-business thinking at its’ best.

No its the natural effect of letting the idiots who cause these problems make the decissions.

Hint: the same people who are on the job now would be on the panel they would just have more sway and the panel would go far left or right depending upon who was in power.

Until we can admit WE are the problem and the way we vote we are fucked

OH YOU MEAN LIKE Egypt! Oh wait they built them there and now their Islamist POS.….

The only groups who would buy them we dont want to have them.

Oh my…we need we need this, we need that. But yet we want to shut down tank plants, cut defense spending,and shut down military bases. Mean while, 50% of America’s workforce are out of work and starving.…Gee, want to cut the budget now? Stupid.

It could be that the Army is just wrong. It could be that military leadership, selected for compliance by the Obama administration sees the end of heavy armor as another way to limit the nations offensive potential in the future. The obama wet dream is to end the nations industrial ability to support power projection. Certainly GD wants to retain the contracts to build tanks. Im not sure that is a bad idea. The day will come when we lose the ability to build Aircraft carriers, submarines and aircraft. The military then will be just another government welfare program designed to soak up unemployed and turn them into cheap labor for the UN

Heh — their system is better — but hardly perfect. OTOH — at least they don’t usually end up buying weapons they don’t need — a common US problem.

Fantastic post @ELP

This situation was completely avoidable. By cancelling FCS MGV and EFV, and by reducing the portion of HBCTs in the active force the administration created an artificial gap in the demand for armored vehicles. Just another procurement holiday… but nobody should have been fooled by this trick. Eventually you have to pay the piper, and modernize your equipment. All these guys are doing is kicking the can down the road.

I have heard (but not seen) that there will be 21 new taxes to pay for Obamacare! Does anyone know what they are, if true?

Who says Canada does healthcare properly? Certainly not the Canadians. Just met 2 Canadians at EAA AirVenture last week who said Canadian healthcare sucks and people are dying in the ER waiting rooms since it is first come first served system, and not triaged like US ER rooms. Many Canadians go to the US for urgent care at their own expense. The problem with the US DOD procurement system is that they are usually multi-decade contracts that can be cancelled on a whim when the politicians change. Because of this threat the contractors charge more upfront in case of cancellations or changes. We do the same in construction for a Design-Build project compared to a fixed bid job. The DOD should have fixed contracts and pay a penalty for changes or cancellations like the rest of us.

FCS and EFV were both horrible failures on so many levels they deserved to get killed. Both programs suffered from the continuous “lets cram every cool feature into it whether its been invented yet or not” syndrome, making both so complex and expensive that they simply smothered themselves.

Why in the heck doesn’t let the Military decide what it needs and what it doesn’t need!!!!???? After all their’re the ones doing the fighting and dieing——-not the Damn scum sucking politicians.

It is unfortunate GD has been part of horrible failures, many stem from within-don’t make the improvements needed until they can hit DOD for more money on Eng. Chg Notices, even when their program is near failure to comply –cancellation. They sold Fort Worth to Lockheed and that same team (paycheck with differant name) has proven systematically behind schedule & far over budget-they say garaunteed 15% profit over spent. Us in Industry and DOD know the M1 has the worse record for being 20 years late, 20 times (2000%) over budget and met less than 50% of the requirements. It’s too bad those employed there do not hear the truth from the customer or they are tone deaf.

Do you know what the tax rates in Canada are? And how shoddy THEY think their OWN health care is for what they pay?

If you’re ignoring the ancillary effects and benefits, it does, yes. If you are acknowledging them, health care spending far outpaces defense spending for job creation, maintenance of stability, etc than defense spending ever will. Try using some facts next time. Or would you care to throw our seniors out in the street?

The ones making the decisions on what to buy aren’t and wouldn’t be the ones fighting and dying. They’d be, as it is now, the O6’s and above who are shortly going to leave the service and look for jobs in the industry they’ve been dealing with. Now, if your proposal is that procurement should be run by captains, lieutenants and sergeants who’ll be going back out where they get shot at, you might be on to something.

How was the M1 20 years late? Development began in 1972, the first XM1 prototypes were being tested in 1976, and by 1980 it was entering service. 20x over budget and 50% of the requirements? What are you talking about?

The M1 has been one of the most successful tanks of all time. You might notice the gomer making the stupid claims has AERO in his name (hint– just another throttle jockey that thinks the air dales should get all the money)

How many people will loose their jobs if ythe plant is closed? No one seems to talk about this much except moesizlack.

How any M1’s would it take to line the US/Mexico border? To me that would be a show stopper for illegal aliens. Oh wait, they vote democrat don’t they? Oh well, sorry fpor the workeris in Lima, Ohio.

“… defense is only the 13th biggest giver by interest group for this election cycle.” So, while it may be beyond the scope of the Center for Public Integrity (no comment), I wonder where such groups as the AFL, NEA, UAW, Teamsters, etc. fall on the top ten list?

There is no simple answer. There may never be a viable solution. As long as military authority is subordinate to civilian authority, politicians, and by extension, major companies and related interest groups will always have substantial influence as to who cotrols the public purse strings.

Yet another strike by the Special Operations mafia running the military against any weapon system that can’t be carried on your back. What the Hell are we going to fight with when a real enemy (ie, one with actual military technology and capability) takes out communications and GPS with EMP and destroys our satellites. Look ma, no drones! Heavy mechanized forces can fight and survive in a heavy combat environment where light infantry is a liability.

I know several folks in Canada, that were put on a waiting list for a needed preventative surgery operation. They had to cross the border into the US to get it done! I don’t know how good their system really is — but ours(US) is cruising for disaster, that is for sure.

They should spend the money on weapons WE NEED! This would not affect employment, and would get us badly needed upgrades, like a new Marine EFV.

Yes, the British defense acquisition system is SO much better (sarcasm for those of you with a public school education). That’s why the Typhoon carries ballast instead of a functioning gun. That’s why the Typhoon still has only rudimentary ground attack capability compared to it’s marketplace rivals. That’s why soldiers were riding Snatch Land Rovers into IED-land. That’s why the Type 45 destroyer doesn’t have an anti-ship missile capability. That’s why the Nimrod program resulted in a deadly crash and multiple inquiries.

It’s not even a better system. They often end up buying equipment that does not have all of the required capability. Don’t know where you guys get these dumb ideas.

There are no easy solutions. It we have excess M-1s to sell, how does that keep production plants going?

Having worked for DoD, I saw numerous acquisitions the Brass deemed wasteful and didn’t need but after a phone call from a Congressman who was looking at a check written from GD, Lockheed, SAIC or some other deep pocket firm with a ton of lobbyist the project was not cancelled. It’s legal corruption at it’s finest!

What Spec Ops Mafia? Are they riding around in those black helicopters out of Area 51?

Maybe this isn’t about lobbying — which is protected by the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution — but the realization that if Lima closes, we’ve got no tank factory, anywhere, left in the U.S.
And maybe politicians have a legitimate concern about the national security impact of losing a uniquely talented and trained workforce?
If Obama hadn’t had Mubarak put in a cage and Ghaddafi whacked, the Saudis and Qatar wouldn’t have just place a combined order for $14,000,000,000 (yes, billion) in German Leopard II A7 tanks, instead of ordering M1s from the U.S.

There are two issues here that are not totlly related.

Corporations buying decisions is wrong. That’s black and white.

Losing defense industry capability is a real problem. We may not need more tanks right now but closing a plant for years and expecting it to be able to reopen is a fantasy. The people and the experience simply won’t be there and what happens in the meantime?

While the story demonizes “evil” corporations it also throws the baby out with the bathwater. Don’t the politicians deserve some responsibility? It’s like blaming drug dealers for corrupt cops.

The article seems to do a decent job pointing out that the Congressmen hold their hands out and the lobbyists are former Congressmen and staffers. The politicians are responsible for all of it. The CEO might sign a check and asks for favors, but the politician cashes it and makes the decisions.

I’m guessing he’s maybe counting the MBT 70 as part of the M1 program? If it was, then his statement wouldn’t be too horribly out of line.

Of course the only relationship between the two is that the M1 wouldn’t have happened if the MBT 70 had not failed and been eventually killed.

We need this money to buy more votes, food stamps, birth control pills, yada, yada, yada! Just for info most of our Abrams fleet has been refurbished three times. No such thing as a new Abrams tank!

True only for those “policy wonks” who are really into self-fulfilling failure. If I really believed that either of these programs were stopped because they failed to execute the program of record, it might be a different story. But I don’t believe that one bit. There is too much evidence to the contrary. In order to make that hypothesis true — at least in the case of FCS, there would have had to be an utterly huge deception campaign going on inside the Army. People who would have had no reason to lie would have had to lie all in unison and in exceedingly fine increments. Now maybe there are a couple hundred people who know the real back story, but have managed — for their own best interests — to keep the real reason why FCS was cancelled a secret this long. Generally speaking, I never ascribe to mendacity what can be explained by stupidity.

When the Army says that it does not need 200+ tanks, that reminds me of the 1937–40 mentality which says something like, the Battleships and Bombers will ALWAYS get through! Tell that to the 50,000 bomber crews lost in Europe in WWII. I have a book which I just finished, blasting the Navy and the congress for not funding the military and not thinking out of the box. Why do we need destroyers, cruisers and aircraft carriers which cost BILLIONS??? Why can’t we take old retired ships, look at the needs of the Navy and determie what CAN be rebuilt at a modest cost … and evenif we don’t need them now, you can bet your ass that we will be into it BIG TIME against China in less than 5 years! That is why I am advocating the construciton of 250 little ships of 250′ lengths, with a single VTOL fighter, and “Attack Boats”, about 160 feet long armed to the teeth with 57 mm and bigger guns and missiles, plus one Army Apache Helicopter with 16 Hell Fire Missiles … 250 of these too. We don’t need current Navy screwball designed ships with little or no speed or firepower! IF we build warfighting machines, build them to take names and kick LOTS of ASS! Patriot in Arizona

The British The Canadians The Australians…the Japanese.…and please go ahead and add to the huge list of nations that depend on The U.S.A. for their defense…and you say we should imitate the once great British Naval and Millitary Forces by squandering our Top Dog status…are you blind?…go back to your garden and raise some cabbage or some thing your good at…Almighty God …Guns ..and Gutts will continue to keep America great..Zap me on my E-Mail;…mauibra1@yahoo.com.…lets talk theory and philosophy…and always ask yerself “What would Joshua do”?

Is Europe doing healthcare properly? The last time I checked Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland were on the verge of financial collapse.

This corruption has been ongoing since WW2 but has grown exponentially. Ike, gave us the scoop but we were too interested in our own bread and butter to be concerned. Now; we have lost our Democracy and soon to follow will be our Constitution.

In the old world (cold war) heavy armor was the ideal. Today things are different, surgical strikes are the new way of doing things. Remember WWI (that is I not II). The generals believed that the way to fight was to send in waves of troups against machine guns, barbed wire and land mines (part of the new way of fighting). 1000’s would die in each wave, but what did the generals do??? They did it again over and over. Today our generals are fighting with cold war tactics and call the enemy cowards for not fighting the way WE want them to fight. (WWI all over again)

I think it’s time for GD to retool their plants, we have enough M1’s to last a life time. The heavy tank is pretty much a thing of the past, the time has come for a much lighter tank that do the same job of the heavy tank. I saw the mock-up of the M1 all the way to the M1A6, it did get lighter, according to the mock up, that was back in 87. They are still making the same tank with the A2’s. GD made a promise, they should at least be making the M1A4 according to their contract. If you sign a contract you should at least honor it, GD have not done that up to this point.

It is time to adopt the British form of defense equipment acquisition and get the political prostitutes ont of the picture. We have lost our ability to produce defense weapons without having to acquire certain components from offshore sources. In WW2 the US produced all defense supplies and equipment from domestic companies only. Some small arms are purchase completely from other countries. Why are we not keeping shese types of purchases in the US. Cost over-runs should not be allowed. A bid is a bid. The company should live or die by it. Per one of the above comments, how much equipment have been purchased by the defense department that is and was not necessary but gotten only in the name of contributions to the political prostitutes.

No FCS was a bad idea.

Too many requirements/systems, too much unproven tech, too expensive. The EFV wasn’t much better.

“we’ve got no tank factory, anywhere, left in the U.S. “____________________________________________Well thats not true. Now, why would say something thats not true? It’s not necessary.

Which tank factory other than Lima are you referring to?

Can’t the Lima plant be kept open by overhauling as many M1-A2’s as possible? Theres more than 1 way to skin a cat.

With approximately 4500 M1A1’s & A2’s in .U.S. service, and a similiar number of M1’s in storage, one might reasonably ask whether that number is sufficient to deal with any reasonable scenario in the Middle East, India or Africa (forget about China, ain’t gonna happen). I agree with the commentors who say the defense acquisition system is badly broken, and the M1 situation is one of the smaller/less obvious symptoms of a MUCH larger problem — witness the debacle with the LCS, the F-35, etc. The question is: how bad does it have to get before we get serious about fixing it? It ain’t gonna be pretty (or cheap) however it turns out.…

Great Idea!
By the way, thats what it has been doing for many years now. Straight up production at Lima in any significant numbers ended a very long time ago and the majority of work going on there consists of refurbishment (overhaul) and upgrade.

Having served in an Armor unit in Desert Storm and later in the gulf I will tell you that the average groud pounder loves the M1. There is nothing like having a tank show up in support. I’m not talking about bradleys or personnel carriers but a tank with a 120mm cannon and 2 feet of armor capable of taking out anythin within 4kms. Just keeping the last tank plant we have open seems vital to our national defense and yes sometimes when justified our offense.

You are apparently clueless about all aspects of both production and the British system. First is once you close down the plant you lose both the expertise AND the infrastructure (suppliers) needed to build a tank. NASA can’t even build a bad copy of the Saturn Rocket anymore because of doing that. They have no idea how to do it. Close that tank plant down and we will have to outsource any future tank to China.
Next, the British system is so screwed up they cant do anything, The largest defense contractor in england is BAE and they are so screwed up they couldnt survive without sucking every penny of profit they can from BAE USA! They have no ability to defend England at all. No ships, rifles that are marginally useable, limited availability of ammo, poorly maintained heavy vehicles and worst yet politicians that are more politically correct than ours. The only thing going for them is having good soldiers! BTW the parliment retired the britains 3 carriers 3years before the first supercarrier is delivored so they sold the US all of their Harrier Jets. Now they dont have any jets to put on the carrier when its delivored! Just how smart is that?

Funny how you say the heavy tank is a thing of the past. They have been saying that since 1966.….….…..

“50% of America’s workforce is out of work and starving”? Where the hell do you get your news, the next guy over in your Occupy squat? The US needs to let the military run its acquisition programs, and get the self-serving politician out of the decision process. The Abrams fleet we have now is adequate for the threat, but there are serious concerns about maintaining the technical skillsets to restart the Lima plant in X years if it is shuttered. What will those people do for work if the plant is shut down?
I agree–exports are the way to go.

A new M1 hasn’t been built since 1997 (and I think that was for export). The M1 program is a victim of its own success. They built several thousand of them with only a handful lost in combat or accidents. With the Army having shrunk quite a bit since the end of the Cold War, there are probably as many in storage as there are in active service. Building new tanks would be beyond a waste, and I want to say that the entire active fleet has gone through a couple overhauls since the war started. I believe that is the root of the opposition to keeping the plant open is that there simply isn’t any more work to be done.

If you want to go head to head w/ Iran, you’ll ned a ton of Abrams and Bradleys, racing accross the Eastern Iraqi and Western Afghani deserts into Iran. These guys are dedicated. All the IED clearing light stuff won’t help in oper desert warfare. the Abrams/Brad combination is a world beater. this time, technology weighs out over manpower!

When did the bulk of the Army upgrade to M1A2 SEP standard? I thought the larger portion was still M1A1 variants?

Wow!! Really get rid of the Abrams, that is just stupid. Your right the Abrams is not a nuclear sub and may not be as complex, but its just as important to the ground forces as the subs are to the surface fleet. You want to talk about design, construction, and technologies? I bet you have no idea how the chasis of the Abrams is even constructed? In case you failed to notice how the U.S. conduct’s warfare (when we are allowed to win) we use an overlaping system of support. Almost every MOS the Marine Corps. and the Army has supports the infantry. The Abrams may not be perfect, but that is the point to keep the program open so things can be improved and fine tuned to improve the combat readiness of the vehicle.

Former Marine Corps Tanker ’09 -’12

The Army as had M1A2 for years now. The Marine Corps. as the bulk of the M1A1 the difference between the two is pretty obivous if you know what you are looking at.

Think outside the box? Are you kidding me? Jerry I think your trapped inside the box! A single VTOL per ship interesting , so what happens when that fighter get’s taking out, and since we are talking Navy the 1 attack bird would be a Super Cobra and again when that bird does not come back then what? It seems you have no clue what is onboard an aircraft carrier. Since you are clueless I will let you know each Nimitz Class carrier holds 90 fixed wing and helicopters. Don’t under sale the Carrier it was not just designed for combat each Carrier group provides tools and equipment that range from electrical warfare all the way over to humanitarian support. We are in 2012 not 1937. And the bombers did get through twice . Your talking about building ships with lots of guns and crap, we made those once they were called destroyers and the bigger versions were called battleships. Granted the destroyer no longer looks like its armored past, but the current surface fleet is trying to adapt to modern warfare. You need to remember all those guns will do no good if the enemy can blow your butt out of the water at a 100 miles away.

Without going to much into it some numbers for you Bomber missions in Europe 754,818, Enemy aircraft destroyed 35,783, American bomber planes lost 9,949, and the lost of crew fighter and bombers comes out to 79,265. And yeah China not going to happen.

So, instead of having something in the way of modernization, the Army got nothing…and will continue to get nothing. Happy ? MAJ Rod’s reply reminds me of he scene in Amadeus where Mozart asks the Kaiser how he liked The Abduction from the Seraglio, and the Emperor replies that it has “too many notes. Just cut a few and it will be perfect. Too many requirements ? Really ? Is that how you measure the goodness of a program ? By counting the shall statements ? So now the analysts have what they wanted — simple trade-offs, easy to manipulate on command, who cares whether the Army gets what it needs, or what would provide value in action. As long as the numbers work out, who cares ? Way to go, Major Rod.

They ordinaried their ships and sold the Harriers because of funding issues related to building the QE2’s in the first place. The ship build over-ran projections, so something had to go.

You’d think all the tanks in storage at Sierra Army Depot aren’t up to the latest standard, but it’s unlikely they are stored in a ready-to-go condition.

That said, the tanks coming home from OIF likely need overhauls.

The problem is that these days export contracts for large numbers of ground units come with stipulations to make them in-country: like with Egypt.

Though we are exporting to the MidEast, and as long as KSA has the money to pay for Abrams without the industrial expertise to build its own tank plant…

The tanks in storage probably don’t have all the upgrades the active force has received, but at the same time, how many active tanks in our fleet even saw action in Iraq? From what I’ve read, it seems like every tank on active duty or in the Guard received significant electronics and urban warfare upgrades over the course of the war whether they were deployed or not. I guess the question now is whether or not its cost effective to push tanks through the factory for upgrades that were hardly ever used and will probably never be used again.

And your reminding me of the scene where Hitler is in the bunker moving imaginary armies around the battlefield to save Berlin. At this point there just too much wrong with the guy to help him. He’s lost touch with reality. Verstehen?

Having something instead of nothing only works when it’s “something”. We’ve taken and fielded what works from FCS.

Never say never. Seems everytime someone says the tank is dead a conflict comes along to prove them wrong.

Don’t get me wrong majrod, I’m far from saying “tanks are dead.” I was just commenting on the countless tanks we have in storage.

There’s no such thing as an M1A6 except in video games. It has “stealth” armor and the A7 has a laser cannon.

Gotcha, your original comment didn’t say that.

There’s no doubt congress is buying votes with our money — best scam in history, don’t you think? However I don’t remember saying we needed more Abrams, or even an upgraded Abrams. I talking about things like a new battlefield network system, a new Marine Fighting Vehicle, you know — things that take us away from 1980, or even earlier, and put us in the future!

I believe I am better qualified to consider what the Navy needs in the future and how we can get there than you … I served for 32 years, commanded 3 destroyers and two cruisers and served on a carrier twice. I know what arms are on each and every ship in the Navy and I know their ranges and capability. The modern Navy is just too Expensive to support, especially when China builds LCS ships for 40 MILLION versus BILLIONS! The mealy-mouthed President we have right now is partially to blame for the financial melt-down we are in and he is letting the military go straight down the toilet. No, sonny boy, it is you that are in the box. Sometimes we send carriers to help support humanitarian missions but more often than not it is a hospital ship, with a cargo ship and perhaps an oiler. Sorry, but even a super cobra is a has-been piece of equipment without the firepower needed to take ships on. Army Apache helicopters flying at night with 16 hell-fire missiles will help a lot.

“End of Heavy Armor”? The Chinese and Russians are still building. There is no doubt that we don’t need to build as many armored vehicles as we did at the height of the “Cold War”. Is that the same as saying we should shut down the nations ONLY tank plant? Perhaps there is something else they could build there, if in fact ALL (including National Guard) of our Tanks have been updated to “current*” standards. (I toured a training facilty where Saudi Takers were receiving training on M1A2s in 199(4?), I’m really not sure how current this vehicle is today.)

The answer may also be found in the A7 that follows Leopard II. What upgrades have we not made to keep this vehicle current? One might be an interchangeable Diesel power-plant for use in those times (like the last nine years) when frugality of fuel consumption was as important as Presence, Survivability, Stopping Power et all. Maybe it also has to do with the M1A3 being late to the party and the GCV being so far in the future, it is irrelevant. Still, if the only tank plant is closed where would these new vehicles be built?

GD runs the plant. The Tank Design and the requirements that it is to meet belong to the Army. Closing the plant wouldn’t be necessary if there was another design being produced. There isn’t.

A new tank would use a 2 stroke diesel engine, perhaps operating as a generator, with electric final drives, a two man crew, an automatic loader, and a hypervelocity gun coax with howitzer, and a camouflage system that is really sweet. That isn’t the M-1.

It is a matter of religion or faith that political prostitutes are better, or worse than corporate prostitutes.

The US didn’t produce all defense supplies from domestic sources. 80% of the German army was destroyed by soldiers with US helmets, rifles, jeeps, uniforms, boots, but Russian bodies.

As a retired army soldier that served during Vietnam and the “Cold War”, ( which wasn’t so cold” as many of us know that served on the Korean DMZ and the border areas in Europe, armor will always be needed. It is nice to have all this new fancy stuff that can pin point a target and take it out, but in order to get the true results, there has to be someone on the ground to be sure of a kill. Just because there is a huge blast on a target, doesn’t mean you got the person or persons you wanted to take out. The U.S. has made the mistake in the past to not realize the use of armor in any combat area, and after so many losses due to old tactics, went back to the drawing board of war and came back to the use of armor. In my time in armor, which was my career, I helped to come up with an armored vehicle, better known as the M551. It was frowned on by many service members of all ranks, yet, it was used in Vietnam, Panama, Grenada, and Desert Storm. The vehicle was in the inventory for 28 years before being sent to the bottom of the ocean, used as monuments, museum pieces, and targets, and some used in the Mojave Desert for training purposes. It was replace by the STRYKER, (joke) and the last battalion that used the M551 was in the airborne armored battalion from Fort Bragg. It may have had its’ faults, but it out lasted anything in the inventory other than the M1 which is not that old yet. Go ahead and shut down the plant and put those folks out of work and the U.S. without modern tanks, and the government will be sorry. History always repeats itself.

This president is gutting our military one link at a time. Now tanks, then jets, and then homeland security weapons. If you don’t vote Romney/ Ryan that’s what you will get more of. Why do you think he got the nobel peace prize. The leftys in europe knew his secret plan, too, the same one he told mevedev when he thought the mic was off. Just give me time to get rid of the rest of our defenses after I get reelected. They are turning cavalry into infantry for a reason. Although, sadly mr. o. will continue to use the “hollywood” forces because he perceives them as vote getters (not because they are the best in the world at what they do) but because they increase his popularity ratings. His ratings went up after the seals got binladen so we can expect more of that easy button phone-in armchair maneuvering as well.

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