September 03, 2012
Credit: Credit: USMC
John M. Doyle Detroit
After more than a decade of war under some of the harshest conditions and most demanding operational tempos, the U.S. Army and Marine Corps are shipping most of their worn-out combat and utility ground vehicles back home for repair, or “reset.”
Yet, with tightened budgets planned over the next 10 years and election-year politics threatening even more severe spending cuts if Congress cannot agree on a deficit-reduction plan to avoid the Budget Control Act, there will not be much money for big-ticket sales of new equipment.
In turn, the Marines have already evolved a complex game plan—known as the Marine Corps OEF Ground Equipment Reset Strategy—to evaluate what is fixed, replaced or discarded between now and when most U.S. forces depart Afghanistan in 2014.
While the Marines still intend to buy 300 heavy trucks under a 2006 plan, most of the fleet will be repaired and overhauled, Bryan Prosser, program manager at the Program Executive Office for Land Systems, told a ground vehicles conference here recently.
Except for the planned Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) to replace the 1970s-era Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV) and the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) program with the Army to replace most of their Humvees, the Marines have no plans for a wide-scale replacement of ground vehicles worn down in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Instead, existing vehicles will be repaired to a serviceable condition to have their usable lives extended by as much as two decades. Both the Army and Marines want to do most of the fixing themselves, at their depots. For the Marines, that means Barstow, Calif., and Albany, Ga.
Thus, while there will not be much of a post-conflict boom for large defense manufacturers, in the secondary market suppliers and refurbishing shops could see a bonanza—maybe.