Washington, DC – Today House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO), along with other Congressional leaders, met with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to discuss DoD’s request to transfer $1.2 billion from other DoD accounts  to provide additional Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles to service members serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      “Our committee will continue funding the MRAP needs of our brave service men and women to the fullest extent possible, and I am happy to see the DoD finally acknowledge the true magnitude of this need.

       “Our Committee has long been at the forefront of this important force protection issue.  In the FY2008 Defense Authorization Act, we provided $4.6 billion to fully fund the current MRAP requirement.  This amount was over $4 billion more than the President requested.  I commend Secretary Gates for now declaring MRAP vehicles to be the highest priority acquisition program at the DoD, and I look forward to evaluating the impact of his request to move resources into this critical account.

      “Our commanders in Iraq estimate that MRAP vehicles could reduce casualties in vehicles from IEDs by as much as 80 percent.  When IEDs still account for 60 percent of all casualties in theater, it is imperative that we get these vehicles delivered to the field as quickly as possible.”