by Sandra I. Erwin and Roxana Tiron
Army Acquisition Agencies: Back to the Future
The Armys procurement bureaucracy is undergoing yet another
major reshuffle that is aimed at improving the flow of equipment
to the front lines and expediting weapon maintenance.
Claude Bolton, the Armys top acquisition executive, and Gen.
Benjamin Griffin, head of the Army Materiel Command, are working
on details of the new plan. The intent is to align major acquisition
program offices and AMCs subordinate commands under life
cycle commanders, who would be responsible for procurement,
fielding and logistics support of a weapon system. Insiders point
out that the arrangement now sought would revert to the way things
were 20 years ago, when AMC was in charge of all acquisition operations.
The implementation strategy is due this month, says Griffin. The
war has caused us to look at how we can better operate, he
tells National Defense.
Marines Eye Expansion of Light Armor Units
Marine Corps war planners at the Pentagon are studying options
to create more armored units in Iraq. Specifically, the Marines
are looking for additional light armored battalions, says Col. Len
Blasiol, director of materiel capabilities at the Marine Corps Combat
Development Command. A force structure review is under
way to consider the possibility of taking infantry reserve units
and converting them to light armored battalions, Blasiol tells an
Marines in Iraq are finding new ways to employ the light armored
vehicles, explains Col. John J. Bryant, LAV program manager. Commanders
have asked for additional LAV companies, at least one per battalion,
he adds. As to how the Corps will come up with additional vehicles,
Bryant says it remains an open question. We dont know
what the strategy is yet. He notes that the current Marine
Corps budget has no dollars to buy any new LAVs.
Leatherneck Coins Available in May
The U.S. Marine Corps, meanwhile, will become the nations
first military service to have its own legal tender. The U.S. Mint
will unveil a Marine silver dollar coin on May 1, in commemoration
of the Corps 230th anniversary.
The Mint will issue 500,000 $1 coins, each of which shall contain
90 percent silver and 10 percent copper. The coin will have a designation
of the value of the coin, an inscription of the year `2005,
and inscriptions of the words `Liberty, `In God We Trust,
`United States of America, and
`E Pluribus Unum. It also will feature an image of the Iwo
A surcharge of $10 per coin will be turned over to the Marine Corps
Heritage Foundation to help fund the construction of the Marine
Corps Heritage Center, in Quantico, Va.
Congress Chided for Neglecting Ordnance Cleanup
Congress is neglecting its responsibilities to oversee the removal
of dangerous unexploded ordnance from military bases around the
United States, charges Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore.
He estimated that the cleanup effort would cost up to $35 billion,
but Congress funds about $106 million annually. At this rate, it
could take up to 330 years for the Defense Department to clean up
the sites. Its amazingly expensive, it has low visibility,
and it sadly still has a low priority from Congress, he says.
Blumenauer is pressuring the 109th Congress to pay more attention
to the issue and ensure that the Pentagon allocates proper resources.
There should be one person in charge of doing this on a full
time basis for the U.S. government.