In 2013 the U.S. Army brought home the last of its Abrams and Bradley tracked armored vehicles from Europe. It probably wasn’t a total coincidence that less than a year later, Russia began its campaign to dismember Ukraine. So now the Army finds its last front-line combat unit near Eastern Europe, the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, in need of more firepower fast. The regiment’s Stryker fighting vehicles are well-protected, agile and networked, but they need a bigger gun to defeat the kind of threats they might be facing from the east. The Army’s solution is to equip 81 Strykers with a lethal 30 mm. cannon that can sustain high rates of fire using air-burst and armor-piercing rounds. But U.S. troops can’t wait for this initiative to wend its way down the usual path that weapons acquisitions follow. Congress needs to add about $300 million to the Army’s budget this year to put the up-gunned Strykers on a fast track. If they get to Europe fast enough, that might help deter Russia from further military adventures in the east. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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