WASHINGTON, D.C. — Funding for the M1A2 Abrams tank program was included in the final conference committee report of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill is expected to pass the U.S. House of Representatives today, the Senate tomorrow, and be signed by President Obama as early as Friday. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced that the bill contains $136 million in additional funding for Abrams tank procurement and $129 million for modernization, which will ensure that the Lima plant can continue to operate at its current levels through Fiscal Year 2013.
“The Abrams tank is vital to our national security, and keeping its production and modernization going is critical to our military readiness and preparedness. The Defense Authorization conference bill is good for the Abrams tank program and good for Allen County’s economy. Continued investments in the Abrams tank program means that our Armed Forces will be properly equipped and that jobs in Lima will be saved.”
Brown has been a longtime champion of the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center (JSMC). Brown met with Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) to discuss funding for the JSMC, and in April 2012, sent him a letter urging preservation of the Abrams tank program. An excerpt can be found below.
He also sent letters to U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) and the Obama Administration in 2011 urging them to reject plans to end the M1A2 Abrams tank modernization program for Fiscal Year 2012, and met with workers and management at the JSMC in 2010.
An excerpt from Brown’s 2012 letter in support of the Abrams tank program follows:
The M1A2 Abrams tank is critical to the readiness of the United States military, as well as to our allies around the world. The highly skilled workforce that builds the M1A2 is also critical to the Lima, Ohio community. With the termination of the U.S. Army's Future Combat System, the Army must continue to rely on the Abrams for ground combat operations for years to come. Maintaining a steady production line for the Abrams tank is the right choice for our Nation’s armed forces and the defense industrial base. Eliminating this program would be more costly to taxpayers than continuing to build tanks until FY2017.
Ending Abrams production places at risk our ability to provide our soldiers with the most lethal and survivable tank in the world. Plans to end tank modernization threatens our ability to ramp up production should circumstances warrant. This proposal also threatens the manufacturing base needed to meet foreign military sales to our allies and strategic partners. The Lima plant would have built the U.S. Marine Corps’ Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle and will likely play a critical role in the follow on amphibious assault vehicle.
Allowing the Lima plant to close plant would place in jeopardy the highly-skilled, high-wage workforce that makes up the unique armor industrial base. In addition, over 600 subcontractors around the United States would be affected and it is estimated that 15 percent of critical vendors would close their facilities.