Soldier MRAP vehicles Need to be delivered now sign now

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon wants to use money from its existing budget, including the Army's wartime equipment-repair program, to cover the $1.2 billion it needs for new bomb-resistant vehicles.














In a new document to be delivered to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, obtained by The Associated Press, the Pentagon says it wants to revise its current spending plan because the new heavily armored vehicles are needed urgently by troops in Iraq.









Overall, the Army wants to spend about $800 million to buy mine-resistant, ambush-protected, or MRAP, vehicles that have been saving lives in roadside bomb attacks. The Navy would get about $226 million to buy the vehicles on behalf of the Marines and special operations forces would spend about $110 million.









"These additional funds will enable the department (to) maximize production capacity to enable delivery of the MRAP vehicles to the theater in the earliest possible timefram," the Defense Department says in its request to lawmakers.









To cover the cost, the military proposes drawing money from various accounts used to support non-deployed troops, including $100 million for Air Force depot maintenance. However, the biggest chunk $663 million will be taken from the Army program that refurbishes equipment for units between deployments.









According to the Pentagon document, the maintenance workload for this particular effort has decreased because combat tours increased this year from 12 to 15 months.









Congress is expected to bless the plan.









The procurement of heavily armored vehicles has been a politically sensitive issue, with Republicans and Democrats alike demanding the Pentagon do more to protect troops from roadside bombs.









On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates went to Capitol Hill with Gen. George Casey, chief of staff of the Army, and Gen. James Conway, commandant of the Marine Corps, to brief members on the effort.









On July 11, the Pentagon's Joint Requirements Oversight Council, which includes high-ranking representatives from all of the military services, agreed that the military needs to buy as many of the reinforced vehicles as the contractors could churn out.









The group previously endorsed the need for nearly 7,800 MRAPs at a projected cost of about $8.4 billion. There has to be a way where the congress and lawmakers can get this equipment to our soldiers in a more timely manner.




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