DOD moves to shift $3.9B to pressing wartime needs

Helicopters, video terminals would get additional funding

Defense Department planners want to shift a significant chunk of funding away from programs that are struggling or of low priority to more pressing needs to support the war effort in Afghanistan, reports Kate Brannen at Defense News.

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The proposed changes, which are set forth in a reprogramming request sent to Congress by DOD Comptroller Robert Hale, would impact nearly $4 billion in previously allocated funding.

Army programs that would lose a portion of their funding include the Army’s Bradley Fighting Vehicle, Army’s Combat Vehicle Improvement program and the Joint Assault Bridge, a vehicle that carries a 60-foot bridging device capable of supporting M-1 tanks.

The proposal also calls for trimming funds for the Air Force’s Global Hawk program.

“Obligations are late due to delays in the development test program, late and poor quality proposals from contractors, and reprioritization of the acquisition activities to meet urgent Combatant Commander requirements,” the document states.

The reprogramming directs funds toward equipment needed in Afghanistan, including Army helicopters, and also toward more secure network communications in the country.

The funding revisions include $100 million for the purchase of 15,000 One System Remote Video Terminals, which provide soldiers with access to full-motion video shot by unmanned aerial vehicles.

The revisions also shifts $35 million in Army funding for the Joint Tactical Radio System to the Navy’s research and development accounts for the same program. The “funds are available because the Rifleman radio is not prepared for Milestone C in fiscal year 2010 due to deficiencies found during the Limited User Test,” the document states.

Instead, the money will be spent on accelerating the delivery of the Handheld, Manpack, Small Form Fit systems for test and potential deployment to theater.

The Navy’s MQ-8 Fire Scout and ScanEagle programs would receive modest increases in funding under the proposal.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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