Built to dominate the enemy in combat, the Army’s hulking Abrams tank is proving equally hard to beat in a budget battle. Lawmakers from both parties have devoted nearly half a billion dollars in taxpayer money over the past two years to build improved versions of the 70-ton Abrams. But senior Army officials have said repeatedly, “No thanks.”

It’s the inverse of the federal budget world these days, in which automatic spending cuts are leaving sought-after pet programs struggling or unpaid altogether. Republicans and Democrats for years have fought so bitterly that lawmaking in Washington ground to a near-halt. Yet in the case of the Abrams tank, there’s a bipartisan push to spend an extra $436 million on a weapon the experts explicitly say is not needed.

“If we had our choice, we would use that money in a different way,” Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army’s chief of staff, told The Associated Press this past week.

Why are the tank dollars still flowing? Politics.



  1. bobbo, we think with words OR turn to the Urban Dick says:

    Is it politics?

    ……. or more simply…… corruption?

    Corruption of two types:

    1. Direct: as in accepting bribes from Arms Mfg.
    2. Indirect: not wanting to be subjected to negative advertising by opponents regarding closing of some local plant?

    Either are disgusting. Both so common and intertwines that all one can think is Politicians = Criminals.

    • Sea Lawyer says:

      On the other hand – the job of a member of the House of Representatives is to represent the people of his district; and if keeping a local plant open is in the interests of his constituents, then where is the corruption? You can certainly make the case it is myopic and not in the best interest of the country as a whole; but it’s not really his job to care about the country as a whole, just the people who elected him.

      • The Monster's Lawyer says:

        If they stop making these, I won’t have parts available to fix the one I have. I have to put on new parts that fall off when I drive to work and back all the time. I’m thinking of pimping it out with some chrome, fuzzy dice and maybe curb feelers this summer.

        • Guyver says:

          If they stop making these, I won’t have parts available to fix the one I have. I have to put on new parts that fall off when I drive to work and back all the time.

          That’s what the U.S. Navy did for a number of years when deploying F-14s.

          Squadrons just coming off of deployment would offer up their parts to squadrons getting ready to deploy.

          This went on for a while until the F-14 was replaced by the Super Hornet.

      • bobbo, we think with words OR turn to the Urban Dick says:

        Yes, that would be the “voting one’s own self interest” school of democratic theory. That would explain the votes “only” of those relatively few Senators/Reps who have such activities in their states. From the link–the USA only has ONE tank plant. It might still be the case that some parts are made elsewhere but this looks like a fairly narrow barrel of pork. Why are the other 98 Sen’s and 300+ Reps voting over the expressed interest of the Army? Corruption is the only answer.

        Back in the day, I recall reading about how Micro$oft the largest employer in xyz area was getting into regulatory problems in Washington (Both State and Fed). Seems that while they created lots of jobs, they didn’t provide any campaign support money to those in power. They did not act like Boeing who provided even more jobs but LOTS of $$.

        Bill Gates was then lauded for learning the ways of the world and his problems went away. You know those problems….. like not being able to find any Engineers who would work for 50% of the going scale, so he got a bunch of Visa’s approved for High Tech Specialized Employees who would work at deflated wages. That kind of Praise.

        Voting one’s own self interest in a Republican form of government, or even Demo or both, is still an interesting philosophical issue. Too bad its mostly irrelevant?

  2. tanksbutnotanks says:

    And they don’t get miles per gallon , they get gallons per mile!

  3. Chris Mac says:

    great for getting through gridlock though

  4. noname says:

    More fine examples of Repuke Fiscal Responsibility from leading debt-hawk Rob Portman (Appointed by George W. Bush May 26, 2006 – June 19, 2007 as 35th Director of the Office of Management and Budget), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Urbana) and a token Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown!

    When it comes to investing in America’s greatest asset, its people and after the greatest generation is no longer in charge; what is left is strictly a “Karl Rove” like business mentality, it’s “every man for himself” and only the strong survive.

    The only thing Americans will now reliably invest in is fear machines and protecting the profits of rich companies of America with the hope, the wealthy will have pity on poor U.S. and will gladly tinkle their riches like urine on its people!

    In a farce, Congress passed a spending bill with additional funding for the Defense Department, so that the Pentagon can “reduce the number of unpaid furlough days its forcing civilian employees to take.”!

    I can’t wait for pwn’ed, poor pathetic wet back, no brain and my little grammar bitch pedro and his pill taking wretched diseased mind says!

    • Bleeding Ears says:

      Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

    • deowll says:

      If you think this bill didn’t get bipartisan support please explain how it could be passed or even brought up in the Senate.

      • noname says:

        Who care if support was bipartisan! Where was the filibuster by our leading debt-hawk Repukes with their cry for Fiscal Responsibility??

        Sure when it comes to stopping or reducing the easy availability of military style weapons used to kill children, Repukes filibuster. Repukes filibuster despite “Ninety-two percent of Americans favor background checks for all potential gun buyers”!

        Wake up America! When congress rules with absolute power despite what 92% Americans want, we no longer have a democratic government we have a despotic government!

        • VoA says:

          Last time I looked, the Constitution mentioned a REPUBLIC – not a “Democratic Society”. (That term seems to belong to LBJ.)

          Problem is, not very many Democrats realize what that means. Not very many Republicans do either. And if you’ve noticed, that’s pretty much 90-percent of everyone who votes in America.

          So if you’re going to blame anyone for all the corruption try looking in a mirror first. Ask yourself if you really understood or even listened to the person you voted for.

          Remember: “The problem is not in our stars, it’s in ourselves!

          • noname says:

            No one said America was a pure democracy!

            Democracy is a term virtually everyone uses in everyday speech and what typically almost everyone means by “democracy”, is a regime in which free elections are held regularly and a government that protects the rights of ALL Americans, i.e., the bill of rights. American’s have typically understood this, except you. Why is that?

            America is a democracy, or to be more precise, a democratic republic!

            Furthermore, when congress rules with absolute power, despite what 92% Americans want, we can no longer trust our elected representatives to represent us rather than their large donors. We no longer have a democratic government; we instead have a despotic government!

            Just as GWB wanted, despite his democracy promise most Repukes from Nixon to GWB; GWB wanted to be a dictator instead.

        • MikeN says:

          They should filibuster everything Harry Reid does until he agrees to let any Senator propose amendments to a bill, rather than filling the whole tree himself with his preferred amendments and then filing for cloture before debate has even started.

          The bill on guns did not even go through a Senate Committee. You should absolutely filibuster a bill that is brought to the floor without proper consideration, and before people even know all the details. The Senate was supposed to be the body that acted slowly. Hopefully they will do the same thing with the immigration bill. With 92% of people in support, then surely those Senators will be thrown out of office. Just run one of the 92% against that Senator that voted no, or technically voted against voting, or perhaps it was voted against voting on voting, or voted against talking about voting on voting. Make this the #1 issue. Bloomberg will give you money for it. Perhaps you should run.

    • 'Tricky Dick' Nixon says:

      You are a communist. You just want to take everyone’s tanks away. What would we keep the peace with then? Trains? I loath trains.

  5. MWD78 says:

    what a surprise, the military has become a jobs program making weapons no one asked for, yet we still can’t even make tea in our tanks like the Brits.

    • chase barber says:

      Let’s face it, we can’t even make tea in our homes, like the Brits. 😉

    • Sea Lawyer says:

      That’s why we have to invade countries semi-regularly; so we have a need to build new stuff to replace the stuff we’ve used.

  6. sargasso_c says:

    All to keep welders in Ohio.

    • sho off says:

      No it’s to keep Fox’s Gay high school show Glee, more realistic.

      Without that plant in Lima, Ohio they would have nothing but ‘necks to dance and sing.

  7. UncDon says:

    They will be needed if:

    a) We have to defend South Korea

    b) We have a Republican after Obama

    c) The dollar collapses and there’s anarchy in the streets

    The latter, of course, will happen if they close down the tank plant.

    • msbpodcast says:

      The idiot politicians are wanting to fight tomorrow’s asymmetric war with yesterday’s weapons.

      Kim Jong Un would do well to remember that the Taliban aren’t the only ones who can take advantage of asymmetry in warfare. We have a very smart military.

      You can take out one of the treads on a multi-million dollar tank with a few hundred dollar remote-controlled drones kitted out with crushable plastic bottles filled with a mix of sulfuric and nitric acids.

      What are you going to do when a whole battalion of your tanks can only go around in circles, to the left say?

      They’re going to make swell targets for other incoming drones with explosive armaments.

      The entire battle could be fought from the middle of Nevada, Utah or pretty much anywhere utterly unreachable, by some 18-year-old robot jockeys in air-conditioned trailers.

      It must be extremely demoralizing to any opposing force to know that you will never be anything but a target on some distant kids’ displays.

      In any war of attrition, the one with the bigger industrial economic base wins, and in this respect, the US RULES! (Though its only a matter of time ’till China catches up.)

  8. Tim says:

    We need more of those tanks on mars lighting up little green-back men. Will it blend?

    • noname says:

      What did Marvin the Martian ever do to you, rabbit?

      • Tim says:

        He bought up the patents for the re-integrator ray and then withheld it from the people. Now, we’re all just dust blowing in the wind.

        Besides, Venus is over-rated.. He has faulty logic and could use a lesson from Sagan.

        I can’t see a thing {especially when earth is occluding}. Therefore, venus is cloudy. If venus has that much water vapor there must be lush vegetation everywhere. If there is lush vegetation everywhere there must still be dinosaurs.

        observation: I can’t see a thing.
        conclusion: Dinosaurs.

    • noname says:

      Marvin was very angry and terribly hurt with Earth because of Republicans over active black voter suppression (and not just because Earth blocks his view of Venus) and vowed he had more reasons to blow up Earth. But now, Marvin has found a kind kindred brethren in Obama and is actively helping NASA; 1st: with cleaning the Spirit, MER-A rover that resulted in higher power from its solar panels and 2nd: now helping NASA find and free Spirit, MER-A rover from being stuck in soft soil. Obama has since asked the FBI to remove Marvin from its Martian terrorist no-fly watch list.

  9. Dallas says:

    Politicians wasting taxes on useless military shit is no new news. The real question to report is why the Teabaggers are not making a big stink on this waste, esp during these cross the board cuts.

    Instead, the teabaggers are investigating the Boston bombing for any opportunity to win over sheeple frustrated with the FBI

    • MikeN says:

      So should they vote yes or no on Obama’s budget? I’m sure the President asked for less money for this.

  10. Mextli says:

    RTFM

    “Yet in the case of the Abrams tank, there’s a bipartisan push to spend an extra $436 million ….”

    • noname says:

      Who care if support was bipartisan! Where was the filibuster by our leading debt-hawk Repukes with their cry for Fiscal Responsibility??

      Sure when it comes to stopping or reducing the easy availability of military style weapons used to kill children, Repukes filibuster. Repukes filibuster despite “Ninety-two percent of Americans favor background checks for all potential gun buyers”!

      Wake up America! When congress rules with absolute power despite what 92% Americans want, we no longer have a democratic government we have a despotic government!

      • VoA says:

        Wake up yourself! Try educating yourself just how Congress works (assuming that’s not an oxymoron). You might try looking up what the word “bipartisan” means and then educate yourself with some mathematics.

        Filibustering over a mere half billion dollar program when there are other programs such as Obama-care or even Welfare is like complaining about less than HALF a PENNY on a bill that amounts to more than SEVERAL GRAND!

        Don’t misunderstand! This is absolutely shameful spending when even the “experts” say they don’t need or want it. But it’s still very small potatoes since worrying about it is rather like trying to stop a bloody nose after having 3 of your limbs cut off! It would make more sense to complain about your severed arm and legs before worrying about getting a cold compress for your nose.

        • noname says:

          When something “is absolutely shameful spending when even the “experts” say they don’t need or want it” as you say and Repukes filibuster regularly “small potatoes”; an American needs to ask where are the Repukes and their sacred “Fiscal Responsibility”? Maybe Repukes really are just hypocrites!

          Again, no one said America was a pure democracy!

          Democracy is a term virtually everyone uses in everyday speech and what typically almost everyone means by “democracy”, is a regime in which free elections are held regularly and a government that protects the rights of ALL Americans, i.e., the bill of rights. American’s have typically understood this, except you. Why is that?

          America is a democracy, or to be more precise, a democratic republic!

          Furthermore, when congress rules with absolute power, despite what 92% Americans want, we can no longer trust our elected representatives to represent us rather than their large donors. We no longer have a democratic government; we instead have a despotic government!

          Just as GWB wanted, despite his democracy promise most Repukes from Nixon to GWB; GWB wanted to be a dictator instead.

  11. I did it Obama says:

    I lot of you people don’t know the truth. The truth is I did it. I want your gun’s, bibles, children, 4X4’s, your apple pies, pens and pencils. Oh yeah I also want you white and black women, pets. If I forgot anything, just make it up. What ever you say I did it.

    BTW I was born on the moon and grew up on Haley’s comet.

    • VoA says:

      Shut up BOBO! You’re off your meds again!

      • orchidcup says:

        I would say he has some rather good meds.

        Not good when mixed with beer.

        • bobbo, we think with words and flower with ideas says:

          Well thanks Orchi. When you don’t answer my own direct set of questions, it makes me think you don’t like me, the questions, your answers or who knows what? I hate the ambiguity.

          Makes me drink.

  12. MikeN says:

    So basically Obama wishes to downsize the military even more, and gets his civil appointees at the Department of Defense to say various programs are unnecessary, and then can bash his opponents as irresponsible when they spend the money anyway.

    • bobbo, Politics and War is complicated. Money is easy to understand says:

      Yea, except the Army has been saying this about tanks for at least 20 years. Even the great tank battle fought against Iraq was totally doable by aircraft—even moreso today. If you got them, you use them. Thats why its smart to plan for the next war and not the last war.

      What do you want on the next conventional war field? 10 Abrams Tanks or 1000 drones with intelligent bombs?

      …… and why haven’t we simply targeted the Head of State of Syria and its military leaders instead of this talk of sending weapons to the rebels? That thinking is about 3 wars old.

      Kill the Leaders. People don’t want no war.

      The war in Syria is so objectively silly, I have to think for uncertain reasons we want it to play out just as it is.

      More Politics.

      • Guyver says:

        Yea, except the Army has been saying this about tanks for at least 20 years.

        Some in the Army may have but not all.

  13. MikeN says:

    Note the article says this money is unneeded because they wish to spend the money on other parts of the military budget, which they are shrinking because of a sequester that Obama insisted during the election ‘will not happen.’

  14. MikeN says:

    Nelson is seeking $2.6 billion from Congress to fund a National Aeronautics and Space Administration project that, if successful, would have a robot controlled space vehicle capture an asteroid and bring it into the moon’s orbit for observation.

  15. Mr Diesel says:

    They frequently spend money when the DoD wants it spent in other places. The Sgt York weapons system comes to mind.

    BTW, I have been inside the tank plant in Lima, OH back when they were building the new ones. They do not make any new M1s anymore, they only rebuild.

    Want a rush? Put your hand on a tank hull when they fire the main gun and oh yeah, make sure you are towards the back else you are going to have a very bad day.

  16. bobbo, its not Politics, its Corruptions says:

    http://defensetech.org/2013/04/29/congress-to-army-why-buy-apaches-that-cant-fly/

    Touches on so many issues:

    1. Why does such a committee even exist?
    2. Existing, why don’t they do their jobs?
    3. The General said whaaaaa?

    All to the point: when a weapons procurement program is not procuring weapons, then it really is about something else.

    Where is Captain Obvious when you need him?

  17. SteveD13 says:

    So let me get this straight, federal funding of private industry is a good thing because it boosts state and local economies. It creates highly skilled work force.

    The central government know more about what needs to be made, and in what quantities, than what is demanded by the marketplace.

    Goods are being created according to the production schedule of the state run political ruling class, not by any quantifiable market demand.

    I think I have heard these ideas somewhere before. Can’t quite put a name to it.

    • bobbo, we think with words and....... OH! Nevermind... says:

      Please identify the private marketplace you are referencing.

  18. Guyver says:

    Yet in the case of the Abrams tank, there’s a bipartisan push to spend an extra $436 million on a weapon the experts explicitly say is not needed.

    Much of that is due to the belief that all future combat will generally revolve around heightened situational awareness ala what’s left of Future Combat Systems (now called Brigade Combat Team Modernization).

    With situational awareness, there are SOME experts within the Army that vehicles will be able to compensate being light armored due to being more nimble in addition to being aware of where the enemy is. This is strictly an academic argument.

    IMHO, I think it’s foolish to put the Abrams battle tank out to pasture so soon. You’re not going to win a potential war with light armored vehicles no matter how nimble or aware they are. Nor are you going to maintain supply lines with light armored vehicles.

    As for the likelihood of such scenarios coming up, I am not at liberty to say.

    • bobbo, we think with words and....... OH! Nevermind... says:

      McGuyver==please be explicit. When planning and arming our troops for the maximum effectiveness for the next 30 years should we listen to the Generals, or to the Politicians.

      Use as many words as you wish but more than ONE is overkill. I’ll save the more descriptive analogy for your own fertile imagination.

      • Guyver says:

        please be explicit.

        There is no consensus within the U.S. Army. Therefore the use of “experts say” is intellectually dishonest.

        When planning and arming our troops for the maximum effectiveness for the next 30 years should we listen to the Generals, or to the Politicians.

        SOME in the Army see troops doing more (if not exclusively) urban warfare rather than conventional ground wars.

        When planning and arming, you should cover all your bases whether conventional or urban.

      • Guyver says:

        please be explicit.

        There is no consensus within the U.S. Army. Therefore the use of “experts say” is intellectually dishonest.

        When planning and arming our troops for the maximum effectiveness for the next 30 years should we listen to the Generals, or to the Politicians.

        SOME in the Army see troops doing more (if not exclusively) urban warfare rather than conventional ground wars.

        When planning and arming, you should cover all your bases whether conventional or urban.

        • Mr Diesel says:

          Tanks – Urban Warfare = Bad

          Bombers with Neutron bombs – Urban Warfare = Good

          You cannot use air power to hold ground and you cannot use tanks without infantry.

          Nuk’em till they glow.

        • bobbo, we think with words and....... OH! Nevermind... says:

          HA HA!!!! Its rare to be treated with such a detailed obfuscation and misdirection of the simple question posed.

          Shirley==you did that on purpose right?

          But why?

          ooooooooh…… I just can’t wait for the next AGW thread…….. or maybe I can?

          • Guyver says:

            You cannot use air power to hold ground and you cannot use tanks without infantry.

            And infantry often times will need air power and armor / artillery when they’re in a big pinch.

            But yes, you typically need boots on the ground.

          • bobbo, we think with words and....... OH! Nevermind... says:

            “Holding ground”…. you know like Genghis Khan did and other military leaders wedded to Horse technology.

            Have you seen the land in Syria?

            Ha. Ha.

            Luddites on the march.

          • Guyver says:

            “Holding ground”…. you know like Genghis Khan did and other military leaders wedded to Horse technology.

            Schwartzkopf used some of Khan’s cavalry tactics with Abrams battle tanks in the first gulf war.

            Have you seen the land in Syria?

            I’ve been to the Middle East on a number of occasions. Your point is?

            Regardless, the Army’s mission is to be prepared for warfare on all kinds of terrain.

  19. Uncle Patso says:

    MikeN says, in part:

    “So basically Obama wishes to downsize the military even more, and gets his civil appointees at the Department of Defense to say various programs are unnecessary ….”

    Civil appointees?

    From the article:

    “If we had our choice, we would use that money in a different way,” Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army’s chief of staff, told The Associated Press this past week.

    Note, that’s General Odierno of the United States Army and Chief of Staff of the Army. From Wikipedia: “He served as Commanding General, United States Forces – Iraq and its predecessor, Multi-National Force – Iraq, from September 2008 through September 2010.”

    So, not some namby-pamby pacifist civilian appointee.

    The U.S. spends more on its military than every country in the entire rest of the world combined. I think we could easily afford to “downsize” it, to use your term, to the point where we just spend as much as the rest of the world without unnecessarily endangering ourselves.

    By the way, does anyone know the status of the unwanted-by-the-military alternate engine for the F-35?

  20. JT Hut says:

    Not buying the tanks wouldn’t save any money. The military said they had better things to spend the money on.

    • bobbo, we think with words and....... OH! Nevermind... says:

      Not buying the tanks would also not paint all the buildings pink. Try to keep up.

  21. dusanmal says:

    Of all Government Waste left media loves to focus on anything military and nothing else. If anything – this is the waste that should be addressed the last. First, military and defense are one of very few items Constitution mandates Government to do. Hence, before completely closing such unconstitutional abominations as department of energy, department of education, epa, department of agriculture,… and stopping any funding for private businesses, individuals or foreign entities, issuing loans to individuals and corporations for any reason,… no cuts in military and defense spending is acceptable. Once Military comes on chopping block (all illegal spending above eliminated) – even than Abrams tank and similar must come last. Because those both promote research and engineering development and PRODUCE something (and for defense one must always plan for the worst, waste on production is part of the job). Cuts in defense and military must first address true (enormous) waste in keeping others safe for free, building nations … Once US military bases and personnel exist only on US territory, than go after “needless” defense production.

    • bobbo, we think with words and flower with ideas says:

      A heartfelt and un self conscious support for waste and fraud in government spending.

      Well done. Incredibly stoopid… but well done. I mean… given the subject and your position on it.

      You could have just drooled for the same result.

      Silly Hooman.

    • Collin says:

      I have a lot of issue with some of our government spending, but calling all of those departments unconstitutional is a bit off. The elastic clause allows for whatever is necessary and proper.

      • MikeN says:

        Necessary and proper to do what is authorized in the Constitution, not the authority to do whatever someone deems necessary and proper.

  22. Pinkerton says:

    Eisenhower originally called the “Military Industrial Complex” the “Military Industrial Congressional Complex”.

  23. Glenn E. says:

    I love how the General staff say they don’t want something. And yet they plan on retiring, and going to work for the outfit who makes the very stuff, they don’t want funded. Believe me? Because I sure don’t. There’s a lot of faux Schizophrenia, in the Pentagon, these days. All pretending to support one view or policy, while actually in support of a complete opposite one. So they don’t want that very expensive and useless weapon system, that they’re counting on as a 2nd job, after their military retirement. Yeah, they’re all such princesses for wanting to save US a butt load of money. Meanwhile the Congressman and Senators pretend that their support is about the jobs, of their voting public. But generally speaking, this amounts to not that many jobs, per State. So it much more likely their concern is about the executives’ jobs, who in term heavily finance the political campaigns. And wine and dine their representatives, between elections.

    It’s money laundering. But instead of drug for cash. And then the dirty cash get laundered thru banks or legit businesses. In this case, it’s Defense Contracts for tax dollars. And the dollars come back via campaign donations, fund raisers, and lobbyist favors. And none of that gets counted as any elected official’s income. Which is another double standard Congress enjoys. Because if any other citizen wins prizes. Those get counted as income. But political favors and campaign funds are not counted as prizes or gifts from non-relations. Perhaps they should be. But Congress will never agree to penalize itself, that way.

  24. Glenn E. says:

    One wonders what happens to an Abrams tank, if it runs over and detonates an I.E.D.? Because that’s the kind of weapon that most deployed vehicles encounter, most of the time, in “Urban Battlezones”. And I haven’t read that the TUSK kits protect against IEDs, either. Just against rocket propelled grenades.

    And yet it does take much to construct some pretty powerful IEDs, and bury them in the roads. Do they even stand a chance, dealing with a triple stacked charge? I seriously doubt they can make any vehicle’s under armor robust enough to take it.

    What they ought to be developing, is more hovercraft, for troop transport and patrols. So at least they won’t be setting off any pressure sensitive mines. And they could move in any direction, faster than a tank.

    But tanks are basically mobile cannon platforms. And as long as the Soviets keep selling the ones they make, all over the world. The US feels it’s necessary to equip in kind, itself and its allies. And so the Abrams are sold to Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Australia, and Iraq.


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