At a Pentagon press briefing April 10, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel cited the revised acquisition strategy as an example of cost-cutting weapons program restructuring, noting it “will save over $2 billion in development costs.”
The delay, which some Army officials saw as a way of getting GCV out of the line of fire during fiscal 2013, when sequestration cuts are expected to be the largest, was welcomed by the contracting teams. “This . . . allows us to align our design to the new Army requirements,” said Karl Oskoian, a General Dynamics representative.
Sequestration imposed $42.7 billion in defense spending cuts for the remainder of fiscal 2013.
But the Pentagon's budget woes are not going away with the new fiscal year, says Todd Harrison, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Analysis of Washington. At a briefing before the April 10 rollout of the Defense Department's fiscal 2014 budget request, Harrison noted that political, strategic and economic uncertainty lingers and could result in delays and sequestration in fiscal 2014.
Asked if that meant programs such as the GCV could be vulnerable, Harrison says: “I don't know if it would even get the go-ahead from Congress in fiscal 2014 because the Army hasn't nailed down what they want in the vehicle. If you look at the CBO report this week, it throws a lot of it into question.”