As we saw a little while ago, the Army has already had to change its thinking on the costs for its new Ground Combat Vehicle, because its own estimates have now exceeded its own top end targets. (DoD's office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation gets even higher figures with whatever dark arts it uses.) This, given the grim budget projections for Austerity America, has led some observers and insiders to quietly conclude there's a good chance GCV will go the way of so many major Army programs over the past 15 years -- into oblivion.
Not if Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin has anything to say about it. The Detroit Free-Press asked the Michigan Democrat about the prospects for its home-state defense industry for a story Tuesday, and Levin assured the newspaper not only that its prospects were good, but specifically that GCV would play a major role.
Here's how the Freep's Peggy Walsh-Sarnecki broke it down:
Cuts will come first to U.S. bases abroad, said U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee. The last to be cut will be research and development of weapons and other equipment aimed at the post-Afghan war military. And R&D is one of the biggest items Michigan sells to the defense industry, especially with the Army's key research and development arms located here.She continues:
"The focus is going to be on a new ground combat vehicle with new technologies on it, and that's where our great strength is," Levin said.
The Army's main focus, despite any cutbacks, will be developing a new ground combat vehicle, said Levin. Both General Dynamics and BAE are expected to be major competitors for the contract to develop the next generation of vehicles. And even if neither company gets the contract, some of the subcontracting work almost certainly will come to local companies, Levin said.With armed overwatch like that, it sounds like this program's chances are pretty good after all
"We're going to have a couple of good competitors in that effort, and the parts suppliers will be involved as well," Levin said.