Army 1 and 1 with Senate Authorization Bill


Here are a couple other things I picked up from the SASC Authorization markup.

So it looks like senators included the $102 million the Army wanted for another Land Warrior deployment.

This time it's for an entire brigade, rather than a single Stryker battalion. Lt. Col. Ken Sweat, who's been working on the Land Warrior system for longer than it was even called "Land Warrior," told me in Iraq last winter that if they got the money, the 5th Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division would get the next Land Warrior suite. This is huge news for a program literally on life support and a big win for LW backers who helped folks like me get over to Iraq to cover the system in combat.

Sweat told me 5/2 would be equipped with Land Warrior Next-Gen -- which will include a Blackberry-like soldier control unit instead of the ruggedized mouse device they have now. They'll also move the helmet electronics assembly off the helmet and place the unit on the soldier's chest, they'll shave weight by combining the navigation box and the computer and they'll ditch the GPS unit for Joes and use instead a radio location device so they can be tracked by unit leaders.

Of course, the money still has to make it through the House, then a joint committee markup, but it's a positive first step.

Also, the Senate put its foot down on the Stryker Mobile Gun System. You'll remember my story about the MGS from some interviews I did in Iraq. Now, I know there are some strong fans of the vehicle, but the Joes I talked to hated it.

The SASC lawmakers included language in their version of the bill to require "the Secretary of Defense to ensure that the Stryker Mobile Gun System (MGS) is subject to testing to confirm the effectiveness of actions taken to mitigate the deficiencies identified in Initial Operational Test and Evaluation and Live Fire Test and Evaluation..."

That's a blow to GDLS and the Army, who both think the MGS is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I'm agnostic on the whole thing and can only go with what the Joes told me. And it looks like the Senate is going to also.

-- Christian

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