The secretary of the Army said today that the service could not rule out future cuts to the service's new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program — a vehicle that he said was essentially designed for the last war, not the next.
In March, the Army announced it would cut funding in the proposed fiscal 2020 budget for its new, high-performance JLTV to free up money for future modernization projects. The Army plans to buy only 2,530 JLTVs in the fiscal 2020 budget request, compared to last year's purchase of 3,393.
"We will have a mixed fleet of Humvees and JLTVs; we know that, and we will buy a lot of JLTVs, we know that too. But I can't tell you today whether the cut we made in this budget is the last or not," Army Secretary Mark Esper told a group of reporters today at the Pentagon
"They were, in many ways, designed for a different conflict. It doesn't mean we won't use them in future conflicts, but now my emphasis has to be rebuilding my armor, rebuilding my fighting vehicles, having aircraft that can penetrate Russian and Chinese air defenses and shoot down Russian and Chinese drones and missiles and helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft."
As the Army refines its new multi-domain operations doctrine, the service will run a series of wargames that will decide the total number of JLTVs and other systems it will need for the future, Esper said.
"I think we will be finished in a year or 18 months; then we run all these numbers. And all these numbers tell you, to beat the Russians, you need X tanks and you need Y tankers and you need X number of JLTVs. And that is where I will have the final number," Esper said.
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An otherwise sleepy confirmation hearing for Defense Secretary nominee Mark Esper was jolted from its legislative stupor after Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) grilled the former Raytheon lobbyist on ethical issues regarding his involvement with his former employer.