Democrats Defund Military Modernization

May 8, 2007
Press Release

Contact: Josh Holly; 202.226.3988 

WASHINGTON, D.C. Congressman Todd Akin (R-MO), ranking Republican on the Oversight & Investigations Subcommittee, and Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee criticized Democrat members of the committee today for refusing to restore $200 million in funding for the Army’s Future Combat Systems (FCS).  An amendment offered by Congressman Akin, which failed on a party-line vote at the full committee mark-up of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008, would have restored $200 million of the $867 million cut from the Army’s modernization program.

“The FCS is critical for the modernization of our military, and is essential to keep our armed services second to none when it comes to the demands of future combat scenarios.  The FCS program has been strongly supported by the United States Army which understands the need to find new technologies to optimize information flow and combat systems in the future.  The management of information and the timeliness of that information in the hands of the warfighter are critical elements in battlefield situations.  By degrading that future capability, the modernization of the army is seriously compromised,” said Mr. Akin.

“To strip funding for the project is dangerously short sighted.  Despite the Democrats’ reluctance to invest in FCS, the future is going to arrive and we had better be prepared for it.  Future U.S. servicemen and women deserve more than finger pointing and hand wringing about the lack of preparation or degraded equipment capability, and the time to act to prepare for the future is the present,” continued Akin.  “Given that such a project takes years of lead time and intensive engineering, I fear that if unchecked the myopic vision of the majority party will have serious consequences when it comes to future national security and force protection.”  

To pay for the $200 million increase for the Future Combat Systems, Rep. Akin would have utilized $134 million from the Army’s Joint High Speed Vessel and $66 million from the Defense Health Program (DHP).

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommended cutting $134 million for the Joint High Speed Vessel program, citing that approval for ship detail design and construction should be separated.  GAO found that $134 million of the budget request for Joint High Speed Vessel was targeted for ship construction even though detailed design has not begun.

The House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Expeditionary Forces agreed that first ship programs should limit design and build concurrency, citing problems with the Littoral Combat Ship, and successfully included an amendment earlier in the committee’s proceedings that would restrict construction of any first ship until detailed design is complete.

The GAO recently released a report stating that approximately $280 million is unobligated every year in DHP accounts.  Democrats on the Military Personnel Subcommittee had already taken $200 million of these funds to pay for their priorities in the Fiscal Year 2008 defense bill.  Rep. Akin would have shifted an additional $66 million from these unobligated balances to the Army’s modernization platform.