jltv lockheed

Lockheed Martin’s JLTV offering

AUSA: A recently retired general officer summed up the mood among many Army officers and defense industry officials here yesterday: “This is the worst, most depressing situation I’ve seen in 34 years of service.”

The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program is just one indicator in that depressing scenario facing the Army. The service still plans to buy 49,000 of the armored tactical vehicles designed to replace the Humvee and the Marines plan to buy at least 5,500, But that commitment is under intense pressure, program officials made clear here.

It faces what the Army colonel who is the program manager — John Cavedo — called “a perfect storm” of the Continuing Resolution, sequestration (and the dual-track planning for two different budget levels it requires), civilian workforce furloughs, and the federal government shutdown. “But despite all of that we still have the train on the track,” Col. Cavedo told reporters here. “We’re not going to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.”

Doing that will not be easy. Part of the reason for the glum faces here is the incredible uncertainty generated by the combination of congressional inaction and vacillation, sequestration and the impact this is all having as the next budget is built.

“It used to be you could make a plan and work on it. Now it seems we are planning and executing for 15 minutes,” the colonel said. “On any given day there are five or six different [budget] drills.”

Combine that with uncertainty about the future size of the Army and the Marines (aka “force structure”) over the next few years and the JLTV program is basically clinging to its old plans and hoping nothing changes too much.

Meanwhile, the program basically froze during the government shutdown, not because JLTV funding stopped but because testing stopped. Now they are “several weeks behind” and the testing grounds are still coming back up to speed after being shut down with four hours notice.

There was no talk of the Marines pulling out or curtailing their commitment to JLTV at this AUSA — but there were hints that the Marines’ acquisition strategy may change: Instead of buying the first 5,500 to come off the production line, the Marines may stretch out their buy and share some of the first production vehicles with the Army.

Lockheed Martin, AM General and Oshkosh are competing for the JLTV production contract, with each building 22 vehicles for testing.

Comments

  • Don Bacon

    A recently retired general officer summed up the mood among many Army officers and defense industry officials here yesterday: “This is the worst, most depressing situation I’ve seen in 34 years of service.”

    Money shortage? Baloney.
    Depressed generals? ‘Cuz they’re ignorant.
    Uncertainty rules? Sure, with them it does.

    I’ll betcha that the generals who are depressed that the Army budget isn’t increasing as fast as they would like, and they can’t buy everything they want, aren’t even aware of how the Army is wasting money.

    The generals probably don’t know that in the last two weeks, as I recapped here, the Army has spent a total of one and a half billion dollars on debris management, energy conservation, tactical vests and inflatable antennas.

    Surely they could purchase a fleet of JLTV’s for that wasted money alone. More of these wrong-thinking generals need to retire.

    There was no talk of the Marines pulling out or curtailing their commitment to JLTV at this AUSA

    CaptCavCovan • 12 hours ago

    There are three combat-ready Marine divisions and three air wings. When you care enough to send the very best…

    Yes, the USMC is a can-do outfit. And I’m ex-Army (but embarrassed to say so).

    • Sam Pensive

      I sense the funds are there for critical core projects but the political indecision is the worst. especially when it comes to any ‘new’ equipment or systems.
      military planning isn’t like stop and go Washington DC government.
      btw this is the same line of commentary we hear from people predicting the end of the Universe if Washington shuts down.
      and it did shutdown and I do think the “face slap reality is a biTTT**” was a good reminder to the government that they are in the same boat as the rest of the Nation. the Universe didn’t end btw

    • Curtis Conway

      All this reflects . . . LEADERSHIP ? . . or lack of it?