Controversy over Tank Purchases
By Harold Hutchison
Controversy has arisen over a decision by Congress to continue procuring M1A2SEP Abrams tanks, even as there are reports that the Department of Defense doesn’t want them. This production comes even as major defense cuts could be in the offing due to the sequester.
According to a report by the Associated Press, Army officials do not wish to spend the money on more tanks, stating that they have enough. These statements have come even though the combined total of 586 top-of-the-line M1A2 and 588 M1A2SEP comprise less than 30% of the total tank force in the United States inventory combined.
The Army has over 4,300 M1A1 tanks on hand, while the Marines have an additional 403 in service. A new M1A3 version is reportedly in development, with entry into service planned for 2017. Is Congress right to continue upgrading our tank force, or should they hold off?