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Public Statements

Letter to Chairman Levin and Ranking Member McCain

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) has sent a bipartisan letter to the Senate Armed Services Committee urging support for the continued production of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, which is built in York. The Fiscal Year 2013 budget proposal will halt production for three years, but Senator Casey warns that stopping and restarting production will cost taxpayers more than any potential savings from a halt in production.

"As we work to cut costs and reduce the deficit, we can't make shortsighted cuts that will cost taxpayers more in the long run or compromise our industrial base," said Senator Casey. "Jobs and our ability to meet the needs of our military are at stake."

The production of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle supports 517 direct jobs in York. Additionally, BAE buys components from over 230 suppliers across Pennsylvania, supporting over 3,500 jobs and giving a $60 million boost the state's economy.

Modernization of the Bradley Tank is important to ensuring that our active duty and reserve component soldiers have the latest equipment to use to train and fight.

In their letter to the Armed Services Committee, Senator Casey along with Senators James Imhofe (R-OK), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), and Roger Wicker (R-MS) noted that the decision to halt production was made without a clear understanding of the associated shutdown and restart costs.

"We respectfully ask the Committee to examine this issue since the current proposal impacts our national security, jeopardizes almost 2,000 highly skilled manufacturing jobs and 13,000 suppliers across the nation, and most likely results in the negative use of taxpayer dollars in the long-run," the Senators wrote.

The full text of the letter is below:

The Honorable Carl Levin
Chairman
Senate Armed Services Committee

The Honorable John McCain
Ranking Member
Senate Armed Services Committee

Dear Chairman Levin and Ranking Member McCain:

As the Senate Armed Services Committee begins its consideration of the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, we would like to bring to your attention an industrial base issue associated with the production of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

The FY2013 budget proposal will end major Bradley modernization activities for three years. While the budget does request funds for Engineering Change Proposal (ECP1) field modifications to the Bradley suspension system, that work will not sustain the Bradley production line or the supply chain. In light of the cancellation of the Army's Future Combat system and other combat vehicle systems, it is our understanding that this procurement decision will further erode the supplier base, which has already experienced facility and production closures. It is also our understanding that the decision to stop the procurement of the vehicle was made without a clear understanding of the associated shutdown and restart costs. If it is the desire of the Army to begin modernizing the Bradley in FY'16 as outlined in the FY'13 budget exhibits, we are concerned the any short term cost reductions associated with the closure of the Bradley line will result in higher associated costs of the vehicle when the program is revived.

The Army has almost completed the modernization of the active components Bradley A3 variant, but has declined to modernize 500 analog Bradley vehicles. It is our understanding that these A3 Bradley's will be sent to the National Guard once the Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) comes online. Therefore, should the Army follow its plans to "cascade" the Bradley A3 variant throughout the active component, there would not be enough vehicles in the active force to modernize the National Guard's Bradley engineer vehicles. We are concerned that these engineer vehicles will not receive the survivability enhancements installed on the remainder of the Bradley fleet nor will they be digitally modernized to accommodate the most current or future network electronics and communications upgrades.

We are also concerned that this plan does not provide the Guard with the training it needs in the interim and it rests on the assumption that the GCV will be delivered on time. Since the Guard will continue to play an operational role in the military's national strategy, Guard members, especially engineers whose combat roles will continue to include breaching obstacles, clearing minefields, emplacing barriers, and/or fighting, need to be able to train on the same modernized vehicles as their active component peers.

Taking into consideration current fiscal realities and the need to reset the National Guard's equipment following a decade of continuous use, we recommend that the Committee consider upgrading 107 un-digitized Bradley Engineer Vehicles in the Army National Guard. We respectfully ask the Committee to examine this issue since the current proposal impacts our national security, jeopardizes almost 2,000 highly skilled manufacturing jobs and 13,000 suppliers across the nation, and most likely results in the negative use of taxpayer dollars in the long-run.

Sincerely,

Robert P. Casey
United States Senator

James Inhofe
United States Senator

Kay Bailey Hutchison
United States Senator

Roger F. Wicker
United States Senator


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