Advocates of the Marines' Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle won't be encouraged by comments made today by Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Staff, after his presentation to the Space and Missile Defense Conference in Huntsville, Alabama. The close-to-finished Quadrennial Defense Review is looking at EFV in the context of "amphibious writ large", Cartwright says, and the high-speed combat vehicle "will have a significant challenge moving forward".
Cartwright went on to brand the EFV with the scarlet "E" for "exquisite": "As we look at anti-access threats, is the exquisite nature of the vehicle appropriate? It's going to have a hard time."
"Now I can't be a Marine any more", he added. According to other sources, the QDR may downplay the Marines' role as a forced-entry assault force versus security assistance and the Corps' currently dominant role on the ground.
Under development by General Dynamics since the early 1980s, the EFV is intended to combine payload and protection with 25-knot overwater speed and long range. It has been criticised for high cost, technical snags and delays, and for the potential vulnerability of its flat-bottom design to mines.