The U.S. Army has remarkably little to show for the hundreds of billions of dollars it has spent on modernization since 9-11. Its helicopter fleet is in reasonably good shape because the service decided to keep buying systems like the Apache, Black Hawk and Chinook that had already proven themselves, but its plans to field next-generation ground vehicles are in disarray. From Crusader to the Future Combat System to the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, the service can’t seem to bring new vehicle programs to fruition. Senate appropriators recently moved to kill both JLTV and a replacement for the venerable M113 troop transport, while drastically slashing funds for the Ground Combat Vehicle. That probably means that Bradley and Stryker — the only really successful armored-vehicle development program the service has executed in a decade unless you count a pile of specialized trucks — will remain in the force for many decades to come. I have written a commentary for Forbes on this sad spectacle, which can be found here.
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