National Guard January 2012 : Page 10

LETTERS & UPDATES Reaching N ATIONAL G UARD Letters Tell us how we’re doing or share your opinion on something you read in N ATIONAL G UARD in 250 words or less. Update: JLTV Survives Budget Knife It took the threat of execution by the Senate Appropriations Commit-tee to persuade the Army and Marine Corps to rein in spiraling costs and growing delays in the Joint Light Tacti-cal Vehicle program. But the services did and the Senate relented and the JLTV program survives. National Guard reported in the October issue ( “New Wheels & Tracks” ) that the program, which is supposed to begin replacing the Humvee in 2017, was in serious trouble. It won’t quite be the same JLTV program, though. The vehicle itself will be simpler and cheaper. And funding for it will be substantially less. In a draft purchase description issued in October, the Army said the JLTVs designed in the EMD phase should cost no more than $270,000, with add-on armor costing no more than $65,000. Current JLTV versions cost about $350,000 for the basic vehicle, but when combat equipment and extra armor are added, the price jumps to $500,000 or more. In one step to cut costs, the ser-vices agreed to let the vehicles’ weight increase by 2,000 pounds to 14,000 pounds. The higher weight limit reduces the need for costly lightweight materials, but it also reduces the vehicle’s trans-portability by helicopters. Three com-peting teams were selected in 2008 to develop rival JLTVs during the technology development phase—one led by BAE Systems, one by General Dynamics and one by Lock-heed. When the EMD phase begins, the Army and Marine Corps plan to open the competition to those teams and others. The new cost caps “could make the JLTV program less attractive to the origi-nal three competitors,” Daniel Goure, a defense analyst at the Lexington Insti-tute, said last month. Surviving in 2012 also provides no guarantee that the JLTV will continue beyond that, added Todd Harrison, a defense budget analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. Vehicle manufacturers “will have trouble meeting the cost” and still producing a vehicle that adequately protects troops, he said. —By William Matthews Last Word Send us your commentaries on Guard or defense-related topics in 800 words or less. Additional Submissions Submit your original Guard or defense-related articles, reviews or print-ready photos (300 dpi required). How to Submit Your Materials All submissions* should include your rank, full name, state National Guard affiliation, phone number and e-mail address. You may submit your materials three different ways: 1. E-mail: magazine@ngaus.org (preferred method) 2. Fax: (202) 682-9358 3. Mail: N ATIONAL G UARD magazine One Massachusetts Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20001 *The content must be of interest to a predominately military audience. We reserve the right to edit submissions for length and clarity. Change of Address Submit updates to the NGAUS Membership Department by e-mail members@ngaus.org, phone (888) 226-4287 or the members only section of www.ngaus.org. Connect With Us Advertisers this Month Advertising Showcase 43 AFVW (Air Force Village West) 25 Arizona State University 21 BAE Systems Cover II Bellevue University Cover IV DRASH Cover III DRS Technologies, Inc. 11 Fort Hays State University Virtual College 17 Hontek Corporation 3 John Deere 13 Mattracks 24 NGAUS Insurance Trust 2 NGAUS Membership 19 Patriot Taxiway Industries 23 SilverTowne L.P. 24 USAA 8 -9 Washington Report 15 The Pentagon asked Congress for $244 million for the JLTV program in 2012; instead Congress will provide $134 million. House and Senate negotiators agreed on that early last month, pull-ing the JLTV back from the grave. In June, the House appropriators voted to cut 2012 spending on it to $194 million, but in September the Senate appropriators voted to kill it altogether. They said the cost of the JLTV’s engineering and manufacturing devel-opment (EMD) phase had “more than doubled to $669.6 million,” making the program “unaffordable in this chal-lenging economic environment.” That jolted the Army and Marines into making key changes. 10 FOR ADVERTISING INFORMATION: Anya Atwood, Client Service Associate (214) 291-3660 anya@mohanna.com www.ngaus.org/advertising | National Guard

Letters & Updates

William Matthews

Update: JLTV Survives Budget Knife<br /> <br /> It took the threat of execution by the Senate Appropriations Committee to persuade the Army and Marine Corps to rein in spiraling costs and growing delays in the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program.<br /> <br /> But the services did and the Senate relented and the JLTV program survives.<br /> <br /> National Guard reported in the October issue (“New Wheels & Tracks”) that the program, which is supposed to begin replacing the Humvee in 2017, was in serious trouble.<br /> <br /> It won’t quite be the same JLTV program, though. The vehicle itself will be simpler and cheaper. And funding for it will be substantially less.<br /> <br /> The Pentagon asked Congress for $244 million for the JLTV program in 2012; instead Congress will provide $134 million.<br /> <br /> House and Senate negotiators agreed on that early last month, pulling the JLTV back from the grave. In June, the House appropriators voted to cut 2012 spending on it to $194 million, but in September the Senate appropriators voted to kill it altogether.<br /> <br /> They said the cost of the JLTV’s engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase had “more than doubled to $669.6 million,” making the program “unaffordable in this challenging economic environment.” <br /> That jolted the Army and Marines into making key changes.<br /> <br /> In a draft purchase description issued in October, the Army said the JLTVs designed in the EMD phase should cost no more than $270,000, with add-on armor costing no more than $65,000.<br /> <br /> Current JLTV versions cost about $350,000 for the basic vehicle, but when combat equipment and extra armor are added, the price jumps to $500,000 or more.<br /> <br /> In one step to cut costs, the services agreed to let the vehicles’ weight increase by 2,000 pounds to 14,000 pounds. The higher weight limit reduces the need for costly lightweight materials, but it also reduces the vehicle’s transportability by helicopters.<br /> <br /> Three competing teams were selected in 2008 to develop rival JLTVs during the technology development phase—one led by BAE Systems, one by General Dynamics and one by Lockheed. When the EMD phase begins, the Army and Marine Corps plan to open the competition to those teams and others.<br /> <br /> The new cost caps “could make the JLTV program less attractive to the original three competitors,” Daniel Goure, a defense analyst at the Lexington Institute, said last month.<br /> <br /> Surviving in 2012 also provides no guarantee that the JLTV will continue beyond that, added Todd Harrison, a defense budget analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.<br /> <br /> Vehicle manufacturers “will have trouble meeting the cost” and still producing a vehicle that adequately protects troops, he said.<br /> <br /> A Day’s Pay<br /> <br /> Wouldn’t you know that it would be a retired National Guard officer, already drawing his retirement benefits and who has earned all of his “4-for-2” pay after a long career who would suggest cutting Guard drill pay as a way to help reduce the nation’s budget deficit (“A Day’s Pay,” Letters & Updates, November).<br /> <br /> Perhaps Lt. Col. Yaroslaw Lemega should recalculate all of his pay and retirement points and contribute the difference to deficit reduction.<br /> <br /> Four four-hour periods on a Saturday and Sunday may be sufficient training time for his former unit and those comparable, but it’s not for combat-arms units, which usually train from 7 a.m. Saturday through the night until 5 p.m. or later Sunday. Isn’t that six-plus four-hour periods?<br /> <br /> And some members come in on Friday nights for what is called an advanced detachment.<br /> <br /> I am sure that our professional and competent Guard leaders can come up with a better way to help with the nation’s fiscal problems than penalizing its members.<br /> <br /> Retired Chief Warrant Officer 4 Johnsie R. McGuire Sr. Florida Army National Guard <br /> <br /> Some men and women in the Guard have to travel many miles to attend drill. Some have to come a day early. Many spend a night in a hotel.<br /> <br /> Therefore, there is more to it than just the pay for a weekend. Their families have to share them with the Guard. Plus, there is the fuel expense to consider.<br /> <br /> There must be something somewhere that could be cut rather than punish the Guard soldier or airman.<br /> <br /> Retired Col. Doyle F. Wheat Mississippi Army National Guard <br /> <br /> Suicide’s Roots <br /> <br /> When I noticed the article written by Chaplain (Capt.) Darren T. Ronsick, I was delighted to see an article written by one of my own (“Supreme Act of Ingratitude”, Last Word, November).<br /> <br /> However, it didn’t take me long to realize what an appalling, uninformed and condemning article the chaplain had written. To blame the devil or other unseen forces as the cause of suicide is misguided at best and horrific pastoral theology at worst.<br /> <br /> Suicide is not a question of morality, but a psychological and medical issue. There is increasing evidence that both depression and suicide have a biological component—an imbalance in brain chemistry that significantly alters mood.<br /> <br /> Sadly, suicide is often viewed as a moral flaw, a personal and/or family failure. As a mental health chaplain and clinical pastoral educator, I have witnessed the outcomes of suicide in mental health and faith communities. A person attempts suicide because he or she sees no way out.<br /> <br /> In my experience, faith communities can be either a tremendous source of comfort or a source of shame and condemnation. When faith communities are supportive, they can offer a tremendous amount of grace and comfort. When faith communities are judgmental and shaming, they inflict untold harm.<br /> <br /> Retired Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Steven P. Corum South Dakota Air National Guard <br /> <br /> So, let me get this straight, Chaplain (Capt.) Darren T. Rosnick. If I’m contemplating suicide and come to you for counsel, presumably in my greatest hour of need, I’ll be informed that suicide is a sin in the eyes of God, that I’ve been overcome by the devil and that prayer is the answer to the excruciating depression that afflicts me.<br /> <br /> If prayer, apparently with a belief in a Christian God, was only the answer to a depression so crippling, the Joint Chiefs would certainly like to be made aware of this therapy. I don’t recall any briefings concerning suicide calling me to prostrate myself and “beat Satan at his own game.” The briefings did suggest finding spiritual comfort as part of a greater treatment of psychotherapy.<br /> <br /> The other information I gleaned from your column is that there are two views of God—one, an interpersonal God, the other a nonintercessionary God. Chaplain, I’d submit that there are as many views of God as there are faiths, and nonfaiths, held by those I serve with.<br /> <br /> If the religious demographics of the United States are any indication of the demographics in the military, then only 76 percent of us are Christian. That leaves Muslims, Jews, the Eastern religions, atheists and agnostics.<br /> <br /> Your article is not very inclusive of those.<br /> <br /> Lt. Col. Jeffrey Gagnon Kentucky Air National Guard <br /> Where’s the Sacrifice?<br /> <br /> Samuel Gompers, the president of the American Federation of Labor (1886-1924), was discussing what labor wanted when he stated, “We do want more, and when it becomes more, we shall still want more.” <br /> <br /> As I read each monthly National Guard, it increasingly appears to me that his words summarize the central goals of the NGAUS.<br /> <br /> In the midst of prosperity, that makes sense. In the midst of the current economic crisis, that “more” orientation seems, dare I say it, somewhat unpatriotic. It would be refreshing to read a discussion of how the cost of the Guard might be lessened, as opposed to “we’re more efficient, so give us a larger share of the available resources.” <br /> <br /> The proposed $200 annual fee for TRICARE for Life seems to me like one reasonable first step. And, yes, it would affect me.<br /> <br /> The Guard has long pointed with pride to its tradition of sacrifice. In 2012, can we initiate a discussion of potential sacrifices for the nation’s well-being where we are not excluded from the potential givers list?<br /> <br /> Retired Col. Paul Krumhaus California Army National Guard

Previous Page  Next Page


Publication List
Using a screen reader? Click Here