Senators Toomey/Casey, Rep. Perry go to bat for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle
Pennsylvania’s two U.S. Senators, Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Bob Casey have joined in urging the Secretary of Army to maintain funding for Bradley Fighting Vehicle in future budget requests. The vehicle is built by BAE Systems which has a plant in York. BAE Systems estimates that 7,000 jobs across 44 states could be lost if the Bradley Industrial Base shuts down.
In a bipartisan letter to Army Secretary John McHugh, Sens. Casey and Toomey were joined by U.S. Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) in commending the Army for its recent budgetary report to the House Appropriations Committee, which contains a fiscal year 2014 request of $288 million for the modernization of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle during fiscal years 2014 and 2015. The letter asks Secretary McHugh to consider funding modernization of additional vehicles as the Army develops its budget for fiscal year 2015 and beyond. Continued manufacturing would protect the Bradley industrial base by preventing the loss of engineering talent, a skilled workforce and key suppliers.
“The Bradley Fighting Vehicle will play an important part in the Army’s mission capability over the next 20-30 years,” Sen. Toomey said. “Halting the modernization of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle could adversely affect the Bradley industrial base. With this in mind, I am requesting that Secretary McHugh consider continued modernization of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle beyond fiscal year 2015. I believe this will provide our nation’s soldiers with weapons they need while serving the best interests of our taxpayers.”
“The Bradley Fighting Vehicle has a critical role to play in keeping the country safe in the coming years,” Senator Casey said. “Modernizing this vehicle will make sure it’s ready to respond to the challenges our service members face, and I’m encouraged by the initial steps that the Defense Department has taken. I’ll continue to work in a bipartisan fashion with members of our delegation to ensure the Bradley Fighting Vehicle continues to serve our troops and keeps important manufacturing jobs in Pennsylvania.”
In January 2013, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2012 was signed into law. The NDAA included a bipartisan amendment sponsored by Senators Toomey and Casey which requires the secretary of the Army to conduct a study on the Bradley Fighting Vehicle industrial base, including the quantitative and qualitative impacts of a production break for the vehicle. The report, which was supposed to be completed by May 1, 2013, has been delayed until as late as December 2013.
The entire letter:
August 5, 2013
The Honorable John McHugh
Secretary of the Army
1400 Defense Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20301-1400
Dear Secretary McHugh:
We write to express our appreciation for the Army’s recent report to Congress on the Bradley Fighting Vehicle industrial base dated 17 May 2013. However, we also write to express our continued concerns over the long-term future of the vehicle and its industrial base.
This report, required by the House Appropriations Committee, outlines the Army’s plan to use $140 million in the FY 2013 DOD appropriation beyond the $148 million for Bradley in the President’s budget request for a total appropriation of $288 million. We are pleased that the Army worked with its industry partners, specifically the Bradley Fighting Vehicle original equipment manufacturer and its suppliers, to develop a plan that sustains the Bradley industrial base through fiscal year 2015.
Further, we commend the Army for its plan to provide fully modernized, digital Bradley Fighting Vehicles to combat engineer units. We look forward to timely contract awards to vendors for the plan the Army presented in the 17 May 2013 report.
As you are aware, the fiscal year 2013 defense authorization law directs the Army to submit a separate plan on sustainment of the Bradley industrial base. We understand that delivery of this document to Congress, which was due on May 1, 2013, has been delayed until as late as December 2013. It is our expectation that this plan will provide necessary and detailed data to assuage our collective concerns about the Army’s long-term plan to sustain the Bradley industrial base, provide our nation’s soldiers with modernized weapons systems and serve the best interests of our taxpayers. We look forward to receiving this report which is already seriously overdue.
While the Army should be commended for potentially mitigating fiscal years 2014 and 2015 Bradley Fighting Vehicle manufacturing issues, we believe there are still challenges. In particular, the Army’s fiscal year 2014 budget submission to Congress would cease Bradley Fighting Vehicle manufacturing after the currently programmed conversion program for the M3 cavalry variants to an M2 engineer configuration is complete. The administration’s fiscal year 2014 budget request would not restart the Bradley manufacturing line until fiscal year 2017 at the earliest.
Building upon the fiscal year 2014 budget request, we ask that you consider funding continued Bradley Fighting Vehicle M3 to M2 conversions as you construct the Army’s fiscal year 2015 budget request. We believe this could be the most fiscally responsible plan to avert a large scale shutdown of the Bradley industrial base and reduce future risk to the Army’s mission capability given its envisioned use of Bradley Fighting Vehicles for the next 20-30 years.
We look forward to working with you and your staff on this important issue.
Pat Toomey Robert P. Casey Scott Perry
United States Senator United States Senator Member of Congress