U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and U.S. Representatives Marcy Kaptur (OH-9) Jim Jordan (OH-4) sent a letter this week to President Barack Obama urging him to prevent the Department of Defense from cancelling the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) program. The EFV is manufactured by General Dynamics, which has a plant in Lima.
In the letter, Brown, Kaptur, and Jordan argue that the EFV is essential to the U.S. Marine Corps' operations--operations that are "vital to the success of the United States' military operation. The members urged the President to support the continuation of the EFV program at least until a critical testing program, currently underway, is complete.
Brown, Kaptur, and Jordan also wrote that the cancellation of the EFV program would lead to serious job losses in Ohio.
"Without the EFV, these facilities will be severely downgraded, hurting the local economies and eliminating hundreds of high-paying, high-skilled manufacturing jobs. The men and women building our armored vehicles are our nation's first line of defense. Protecting these jobs protects the troops we send into harm's way and ensures our nation will be ready to meet a wide range of future threats," the letter reads.
"Our Marines put their lives on the line every day for the sake of our nation, and they deserve the best and most advanced equipment that the federal government can provide them. The current amphibious assault vehicle is more than 40 years old, so this cut is completely unwarranted," Brown said. "The EFV is not only critical to meeting our current national defense requirements, but it ensures that our industrial capacity-- including the men and women with the skills to build armor systems--remains ready should our nation be faced with a large, conventional military threat in the future."
"I'm willing to work with Secretary Gates and the President to cut wasteful defense spending, but cutting the budget on the backs of Ohio's workers is unacceptable," Brown continued. "I urge the President to prevent this attack on our military and Ohio, and I will work with my Senate colleagues to make sure our Armed Forces and our industrial base remain strong."
"We must make sure our nation's Marines have the tools they need and that the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle provides," Kaptur said.
"Eliminating this program is simply the wrong fiscal decision: more taxpayer money is at stake by ending this venture and starting again. Marines need safe amphibious vehicles to fulfill their missions. As the EFV program turns a critical corner in the development of the vehicle, its termination erases the progress made at our Lima facility. There is still much progress to be made, so it is critical that we continue the work that needs to be done to protect our Marines," Jordan said.
The full text of the letter is below.
The President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
We urge you to prevent the Department of Defense (DOD) from taking any action that leads to the cancellation of the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV). The EFV is essential to the U.S. Marine Corps' ability to perform amphibious and expeditionary operations - operations that are vital to the success of our nation's military campaigns and an integral part of our military's readiness. We urge you to support the continuation of this essential program and reserve any decision on whether it should be altered or canceled until after the testing program currently underway is complete. Doing anything else will deny our Marines a much needed warfighting capability, will unnecessarily cost taxpayers billions of dollars, and will endanger the key ground combat vehicle industrial base in this country.
Maintaining the ability to achieve forcible entry from the sea serves as a credible deterrent to our nations adversaries and is a critical component of the Marines' operational requirements. Since before our nation was founded, the Marines have been the world's greatest amphibious assault force. Maintaining the Marines' ability to take and hold enemy controlled territory -- whether by land, sea, or air -- is critical to our national security.
Viable options -- such as purchasing 200 vehicles -- exist, that would allow DOD to save up to $5 billion over the cost of the current program while satisfying the Marine Corps' operational requirement to equip 2 Marine Expeditionary Brigades for amphibious lift. Terminating the EFV program before the testing is complete will shortchange the taxpayer and jeopardize the Marines' ability to carry out amphibious missions.
Finally, the EFV is a key component of the ground combat vehicle industrial base. Both the government and contractor program offices are located in Woodbridge, VA. Once in production, this key capability will be added to the tank production and modification line at Lima, OH. This additional workload comes at a critical time when work from tank modifications is dwindling. Without the EFV, these facilities will be severely downgraded, hurting the local economies and eliminating hundreds of high-paying, high-skilled manufacturing jobs. The men and women building our armored vehicles are our nation's first line of defense. Protecting these jobs protects the troops we send into harm's way and ensures our nation will be ready to meet a wide range of future threats.
We share the same concerns with regard to the issues our nation faces over the coming years. We must address our fiscal and economic challenges while simultaneously ensuring that our national defense requirements are met. Continuing the EFV test program -- and funding it in Fiscal Year 2012 -- is not only critical to meeting our current national defense requirements, but it ensures the industrial capacity -- including the men and women with the skills to build armor systems -- remains ready to scale should our nation be faced with a large, conventional military threat in the future.