Does GCV Death Let Army Think Bigger?


From Aviation Week's DTI

By putting its $40-billion ground combat vehicle (GCV) procurement plan on hold, the U.S. Army is giving itself a breather to come up with a new strategy for its ground vehicle force.

The Army canceled the GCV request for proposal (RFP) this summer and froze funding and development for all major ground-vehicle programs -- even Block 2 work on the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, which the GCV is supposed to replace.

Army ground programs -- particularly the GCV -- are victims of the Pentagon's obsession with reviewing and revamping the Defense Department procurement mindset for big-dollar programs. The Army and Pentagon also want to put the brakes on the service's ground-vehicle programs to ensure it buys the right equipment for the mission. The Army and Defense Department are analyzing whether they are buying -- even developing -- the right vehicle for the job. Indeed, the military could move away from tracked vehicles, except for specific missions.

"Tracked vehicles are not necessarily the best option for what we plan to be doing," says John Gresham, a defense analyst and author of books on military equipment and operations. That would be a point of departure for the Army, whose doctrine and checkbook has heavily favored tracked vehicles.

The Pentagon reported about $13.7 billion in transactions for those vehicles in 2008, a 57% increase from 2007, according to an analysis of data provided by the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting. Procurement of those vehicles ranked 10th in Pentagon expenses in 2009 and second in 2008, racking up $16.8 billion in contracts and modifications, the analysis shows.

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