Congress' Plan: Spend $436M on Tank Army Doesn't Want
To keep us safe, or something
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 29, 2013 10:23 AM CDT
This undated file photo provided by the General Dynamics Land System shows the production of an Abrams tank in Lima, Ohio.   (AP Photo/General Dynamics Land System, File)

(Newser) – The Abrams tank sounded pretty remarkable in reports chronicling its arrival in Afghanistan more than two years ago: The 68-ton machine is propelled by jet engines and has a main gun that can destroy a house from more than a mile away. But since its debut, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have been pushing to upgrade the tank, devoting $436 million to the cause. Except as the AP explains, senior Army officials keep telling Congress they're not interested. "If we had our choice, we would use that money in a different way," says the Army's chief of staff.

The Army says it doesn't need to buy more tanks until 2017; Congress wants the Army to buy earlier models that have been upgraded with things like better microprocessors and color flat panel displays, at a cost of about $7.5 million each. "The Army is on record saying we do not require any additional M1A2s," said the deputy director of the Army budget office this month. And while tank-proponents Rep. Jim Jordan and Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio insist our safety is at the root of it all—"we are supposed to spend taxpayer money in defense of the country," says Jordan—the AP notes the country's only tank plant happens to be located in Lima, Ohio. Such a pet project is nothing new, but the Abrams example is notable due to the certainty of the Army's position. "When an institution as risk-averse as the Defense Department says they have enough tanks, we can probably believe them," says a director with Citizens Against Government Waste.

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May 6, 2013 11:57 AM CDT
Another case of the politicians telling the end user, in this case the military, WHAT it should buy. We hire and train the best people we can get to lead then we let the politicians and general public tell them what and how they should do things! I am sure the Army can find better, more needed, things on which to spend their reduced allocations.
May 4, 2013 3:15 PM CDT
and here they are bitching about medicare
Apr 30, 2013 8:40 AM CDT
Put the money towards paying off the national debt.