Panel restores $112 million to Army budget

The House Armed Services Committee Wednesday agreed to restore $111.6 million to the Army's budget for several technologies the service is salvaging from the canceled Future Combat Systems program.

The amendment to the fiscal 2011 defense authorization bill, offered by Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, and agreed to by voice vote during the early hours of what will be a marathon markup, reduces to $779.4 million the overall cut to Army modernization efforts that the panel's Air and Land Forces Subcommittee made last week.

The so-called Early Infantry Brigade Combat Team, which includes small, unmanned air and ground vehicles and other systems that struggled through testing last fall, emerged last week as one of the biggest targets for cuts in the bill.

Last week, Air and Land Forces Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., cut all $682.7 million requested for procurement and another $208.3 million in research and development from the Obama administration's $2.3 billion total request for the EIBCT.

But Reyes, whose district includes Fort Bliss -- the Army base that is testing the new equipment -- fought to boost the funding for some of the technologies despite their lackluster test results last year.

Specifically, the amendment would add $34.7 million to procure a small unmanned aerial vehicle built by Honeywell Aerospace and $21.3 million to buy a small unmanned ground vehicle built by iRobot Corp. In addition, the amendment would add $55.6 million to the research and development account for the EIBCT.

Offsets come from small reductions in the Army's other procurement accounts.

In January, lawmakers received a Pentagon report saying the UAV could be seen four kilometers away and heard two kilometers away during tests last year, making it a poor platform for stealthy reconnaissance and surveillance work.

But Honeywell disputes the Pentagon report, particularly its finding that the small UAV can be seen from such a distance. A Honeywell spokeswoman said the company also is developing a rotary engine and exhaust system that will make it quieter.

Smith's subcommittee found that the unmanned ground vehicle is overweight and has limited utility at night because of the limitation of its sensors.

Later Wednesday, Seapower and Expeditionary Forces Subcommittee ranking member Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., is expected to introduce an amendment that would add eight F/A-18E/F Super Hornets to the fiscal 2011 budget, congressional aides said. The planes are built in St. Louis, near Akin's district.

The amendment comes just days after the Pentagon notified Congress that it plans to proceed with a multiyear procurement deal with Boeing Co. to buy 124 F/A-18 aircraft between fiscal 2010 and fiscal 2013.

The Navy's fiscal 2011 budget request, sent to Congress Feb. 1, includes $1.9 billion to buy 22 Super Hornets and $1.1 billion for 12 E/A-18G Growlers, electronic attack aircraft that use the same airframe. The multiyear deal, according to the Pentagon, would save 10 percent on the cost of each plane, for a total savings over the next four years of $590 million.

To offset the cost of the additional funds, Akin's amendment is expected to target the "Rapid Innovation Fund," which was created in the chairman's mark of the bill to get technologies to the field faster. But Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., is expected to oppose the amendment, even though he also hails from Missouri.

Also Wednesday, the battle over the Air Force's aerial refueling tanker contract could take center stage during markup. Boeing and the European consortium EADS are vying for the contract, whose potential value is $40 billion.

Smith is expected to introduce an amendment that would require the Pentagon to consider in its bid evaluation a World Trade Organization finding that EADS received illegal government subsidies. His state is home to the Boeing manufacturing site where the company plans to build its tanker, a modified 767.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.