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Turner Leads 122 House Members in Support of Abrams Tank Funding

Calls on Army Secretary to Ensure Continuity of Industrial Base, Make Upgrades to National Guard Tanks

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Washington, May 22, 2013 | comments

Congressman Mike Turner, Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces, has lead 121 of his colleagues in writing to Army Secretary John McHugh in support of funding for the upgrading of the M1A1 Abrams tanks that our National Guard uses. The President’s budget has once again failed to adequately fund the program, leaving the responsibility of maintaining this critical capability to Congress.

 

“We are deeply concerned to learn that the Army has once again failed to fund production of the M1A2 SEP (Abrams) tank.  This decision neglects the Army’s responsibility to modernize the National Guard units, and undervalues the damaging impact to the highly specialized industrial base that supports the program,” the lawmakers write in their letter.

 

Upgrading the Army National Guard fleet to the M1A2-SEP variant would accomplish multiple objectives. It would keep the production lines running and would allow our troops to train on the tanks they will take to war, reducing post mobilization training time and insuring better trained, more lethal and survivable crews. Our troops in the Army National Guard can be called upon at anytime to deploy for combat operations as they have done in Iraq. We cannot afford to send our troops to combat with the second best tank available. The National Guard should be afforded the same protections and capabilities as their active duty counterpart.

 

“The industrial base cannot be turned on and off like a light switch.  Failing to fund the program in fiscal year 2014 would likely result in a production break in 2016 that would significantly impact the skilled workforce as well as drive many small companies out of business; leaving our Nation without the necessary industrial capacity to produce tanks when we need them,” write the lawmakers.

 

The Abrams program is supported by nearly 900 suppliers; Seventy-five percent of these suppliers are small business.  Twenty-one percent of the suppliers will have to be re-qualified if there is a production break.   This means that if there is production break, most of these small businesses will go away and when the Army needs them the Army may have to go overseas to find replacements.

 

NOTE: A copy of the letter follows below.

 

May 21, 2013

 

The Honorable John McHugh

Secretary of the Army

101 Army Pentagon

Washington, DC 20310 - 0101

 

Dear Mr. McHugh,

 

We are deeply concerned to learn that the Army has once again failed to fund production of the M1A2 SEP (Abrams) tank.  This decision neglects the Army’s responsibility to modernize the National Guard units, and undervalues the damaging impact to the highly specialized industrial base that supports the program.

 

The Congressional Defense Committees have repeatedly recognized that funding the Abrams is necessary to maintain a critical core capability.  The M1A2 is unquestionably the most lethal battle tank in the world, yet the National Guard still uses the less capable M1A1 Abrams tanks.    The National Guard has played a very large part in the contingencies operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.  They should be using the same variant of tanks as our active duty forces.

 

The Army has a responsibility to maintain the critical infrastructure that produces these vehicles.  The Joint Systems Manufacturing Center is a government owned contractor operated facility and is the only domestic facility with the capability to manufacture these vehicles.  By failing to adequately plan for future years and eliminating funds for tank productions, the Army has defaulted to a plan that will shutter the plant and drive away its highly skilled employees. 

 

It is our understanding that the Army believes that Foreign Military Sales (FMS) alone are enough to keep the facility at minimum levels of production until the next major upgrades to the Abrams tank take place in the 2019 timeframe.  Congress has consistently taken the position that FMS alone is an unacceptable level of risk.  FMS combined with a minimum level of United States based tanks for the National Guard is the most rational path forward until the next series of upgrades begin.

 

The industrial base cannot be turned on and off like a light switch.  Failing to fund the program in fiscal year 2014 would likely result in a production break in 2016 that would significantly impact the skilled workforce as well as drive many small companies out of business; leaving our Nation without the necessary industrial capacity to produce tanks when we need them.  The Army must manage these facilities in a responsible manner that does not require Congress to annually consider whether or not they are being properly funded.

 

We ask that you work with Congress to sustain this unique and critical capability and look forward to discussing this issue with you at future congressional hearings. 

 

Sincerely,

 

 


1.      Mike Turner

2.      Jim Jordan

3.      Tim Ryan

4.      Mario Diaz-Balart

5.      Rep. Leonard Lance

6.      Steve Stivers

7.      Trent Franks

8.      Richard Nugent

9.      Marcy Kaptur

10.  Candice Miller

11.  Morgan Griffith

12.  Mike Simpson

13.  Steve Chabot

14.  André Carson

15.  Bob Gibbs

16.  Robert E. Latta

17.  Tom Marino

18.  Nick Rahall

19.  Brad Wenstrup

20.  Steve Southerland

21.  Pat Tiberi

22.  Jim Renacci

23.  Peter King

24.  Bill Johnson

25.  Tim Griffin

26.  William Keating

27.  David Joyce

28.  Corrine Brown

29.  Lou Barletta

30.  Mike Fitzpatrick

31.  Ander Crenshaw

32.  Doug LaMalfa

33.  Tom Rooney

34.  Devin Nunes

35.  Bill Shuster

36.  Jon Runyan

37.  Jim Bridenstine

38.  Bill Huizenga

39.  Rob Bishop

40.  Peter J. Roskam

41.  Adam Kinzinger

42.  Kerry Bentivolio

43.  Tom Rice

44.  Marc Veasey

45.  Richard Hanna

46.  Roger Williams

47.  Mike Pompeo

48.  Tim Walberg

49.  Jim Gerlach

50.  John Carter

51.  Ed Pastor

52.  Mike McIntyre

53.  Mike Rogers (MI)

54.  Paul Cook

55.  Tom Latham

56.  Matt Cartwright

57.  Rob Wittman

58.  Frank Lobiondo

59.  Marcia L. Fudge

60.  Joe Wilson

61.  Pat Meehan

62.  James P. McGovern

63.  Vicky Hartzler

64.  Paul A. Gosar

65.  David McKinley

66.  Ron Barber

67.  Howard Coble

68.  Joyce Beatty

69.  Sam Johnson

70.  Doug Lamborn

71.  Bennie G. Thompson

72.  Lee Terry

73.  Bruce Braley

74.  Carolyn McCarthy

75.  Hank Johnson

76.  Scott Rigell

77.  Gerry Connolly

78.  Dan Benishek

79.  Charles W Dent

80.  Patrick McHenry

81.  Blaine Luetkemeyer

82.  Erik Paulsen

83.  George Holding

84.  Grace F. Napolitano

85.  Rob Andrews

86.  Rosa DeLauro

87.  William L. Enyart

88.  G. K. Butterfield

89.  Rick Crawford

90.  Mike Doyle

91.  Ralph Hall

92.  Dave Loebsack

93.  Sanford Bishop

94.  Dave Camp

95.  Matt Salmon

96.  Steve Israel

97.  Gary C Peters

98.  Sander Levin

99.  John D. Dingell

100.                      Dan Kildee

101.                      David Schweikert

102.                      Dutch Ruppersberger

103.                      Kyrsten Sinema

104.                      Bill Owens

105.                      Mike Kelly

106.                      Robert Pittenger

107.                      Pete Sessions

108.                      Suzanne Bonamici

109.                      Collin Peterson

110.                      Joe Heck

111.                      Tom Cole

112.                      Keith Rothfus

113.                      Doc Hastings

114.                      Robert Hurt

115.                      Bob Goodlatte

116.                      Cheri Bustos

117.                      Austin Scott

118.                      Walter Jones

119.                      Frank Lucas

120.                      Lois Capps

121.                      Rodney Davis

122.                      Niki Tsongas


 

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