Friday, June 12, 2009

House Panels Seek Restraints on Army, Navy Programs Seen as Wasteful

June 12, 2009 – 1:55 p.m.

Two House subcommittees voted Friday to put new restraints on the Army’s Future Combat System and a Navy program to produce coastal patrol ships.

The measure approved by the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Air and Land Forces would authorize $2.45 billion for the Future Combat Systems program, meeting the amount requested by the Defense Department.

But it would specifically limit fiscal 2010 spending on research and development for the program to 75 percent of the appropriated amount, until the department submits a review of how well it is hitting certain milestones for the program.

The subcommittee’s portion of the fiscal 2010 Defense authorization bill also would limit the Army to buying only enough Future Combat Systems equipment, such as advanced sensors and communications gear, for one infantry combat brigade.

Meanwhile, the Seapower and Expeditionary Forces Subcommittee voted to put a $60 million cap on procurement costs for each vessel in the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship program.

Chairman Gene Taylor , D-Miss., said contractors could “take or leave” the cap.

The small, speedy ship is designed to use interchangeable hardware for missions that include surface warfare, minesweeping, maritime security and submarine combat.

A third panel, the Readiness Subcommittee, approved its portion of the bill, which includes authorization for spending for military facilities.

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