Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Mad (MRAP) Money

The tab for the MRAP program is getting bigger and bigger:

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates will go before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, when he is expected to deliver budget amendments to Congress that will substantially increase the president's 2008 war spending to $200 billion from the approximately $150 billion that the administration initially estimated it would need in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The supplemental funding request is expected to include some $17 billion for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (or MRAP) vehicles, which officials say will help step up production from the 82 MRAPs made in June to some 1,300 a month by December. The vehicles are designed to help deflect the effect of roadside bombs, also known as improvised explosive devices (or IEDs), which remain the biggest killer of U.S. troops in Iraq. The Pentagon has ordered a total of 6,415 MRAPs to date—orders expected to be completed by March.

That's less than the $23.6 billion Sen. Joe Biden is asking for, but considerably more than the $5.3 billion requested by the White House.

Meanwhile, doubts continue to surface regarding the anticipated efficacy of the MRAP program.

MORE: Here's a breakdown of where the MRAPs will be going:

Under the new authorized figure, the Marine Corps would still be allocated 3,700 MRAPs, the Air Force 697, the Navy 544, and U.S. Special Operations Command 333, Morrell said.

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