Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Many More MRAPs in the Pentagon Appropriations Queue

USA Today is reporting that the Army wants a more MRAPs -- many more MRAPs:

WASHINGTON — The Army has decided to ask for 10,000 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected armored vehicles to counter the threat of makeshift bombs in Iraq, according to one of the program's top congressional supporters.

The new request is nearly four times the 2,700 vehicles, known as MRAPs, that the Army had sought. That's still not enough, said Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., who was briefed on the change by the Defense Department. Biden cited a request this year for 17,770 of the vehicles for the Army by Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, the No. 2 military commander in Iraq.


John Young, chairman of the Defense Department's MRAP Task Force, has said the Pentagon hopes to build 1,300 a month by December.


Army and Pentagon officials declined Tuesday to comment on the new MRAP request. So far, the Pentagon has ordered 6,500 MRAPs, valued at about $5 billion.


In June, an Army team determined it needed 17,770 MRAPs, enough to replace all of its armored Humvees. Days later, however, the Army backed away from that number pending further study.

To give you an idea of just how big this program has gotten, take a look at this:

In July 2007, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates asked Congress for approval to transfer nearly $1.2 billion to the Pentagon's Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) program to procure an additional 2,650 vehicles. If approved, the fund transfer will make MRAP the Defense Department's third-largest acquisition program, behind only the missile defense and Joint Strike Fighter programs.

In 2005 the missile defense program's budget was $10 billion dollars. The Joint Strike Fighter's annual budget for this fiscal year is $6.1 billion.

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