Senator Lisa Murkowski reached out to Army Chief of Staff General Raymond Odierno to inquire about the U.S. Army's aging fleet of M973 Small Unit Support Vehicles (SUSV), which are in the process of being discontinued. The SUSV is an amphibious vehicle, capable of accessing harsh locations and terrain found in Alaska's wetlands and tundra -- but also difficult territory like that of Afghanistan and Korea.
In a letter to Odierno (attached), Murkowski writes, "With increasing travel, exploration, and development in the Arctic region, the number of circumstances that will require the support of a vehicle like the SUSV will only increase. I am concerned that our fleet of SUSVs may not be poised to handle the future demand that will arise."
"As we have discussed previously, you have demonstrated an understanding of the importance Alaska plays in national security. The harsh, rugged terrain is similar to locations where our combat troops are currently operating," Murkowski continues. "We have soldiers in forward locations like Afghanistan and Korea where a durable vehicle capable of operating in hazardous conditions is necessary. An armored variant of the SUSV was employed with success in combat operations by coalition members in Afghanistan. Combined with the employment of the SUSV in daily operations in Alaska, this demonstrates a pressing need for the capability the SUSV brings to the table."