The Army needs equipment that is “cheaper to buy, cheaper to operate and cheaper to maintain,” says Nelson M. Ford, assistant secretary of the Army for financial management. “And that does not mean junk,” he told contractors at the Association of the U.S. Army winter symposium. Why can’t the Army have squad radios the size, weight and cost of a Bluetooth headset, he asked. Why should the next-generation combat truck, the joint light tactical vehicle, cost $500,000 to buy and $50,000 a year to maintain? If the commercial sector can deliver affordable, low-maintenance hardware, Ford said, why not the defense industry?
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