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Congress wants answers on US Army’s OMFV plans, long-range artillery efforts

11 December 2019
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An M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle from 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment manoeuvres during a company Combined Arms Live-Fire Exercise at Fort Stewart, Georgia, on 7 February 2017. The OMFV is billed as a Bradley replacement. Source: US Army

US lawmakers are seeking additional oversight of the army's plan to acquire an M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle replacement fleet, as well as associated technology hurdles, after the prototyping competition left one vendor standing.

House and Senate conferees have discussed a compromise plan for the fiscal year 2020 (FY 2020) defence authorisation bill, legislation authorising Pentagon spending levels and laying out reporting requirements. The details of the negotiated bill were released on 9 December and expected to pass both chambers before President Donald Trump signs the measure into law.

Several reporting provisions are sprinkled throughout the deal that will require the army and US Marine Corps (USMC) to keep lawmakers abreast of plans to modernise the force, including the army's Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) programme, and both service's efforts on the ground-based, long-range rocket and cannon artillery front.

When it comes to OMFV, lawmakers want quarterly reports, beginning on 13 December, addressing funding plans, planned obligations and expenditures, and an updated schedule. Lawmakers also want to be looped in to OMFV technology and requirements challenges, technology maturity, testing, delivery, and programme management.

"Any other matters that the assistant secretary considers relevant to a full understanding of the status and plans of the programme," should also be included in these quarterly reports, lawmakers wrote.

This provision highlights some lawmakers' concerns, as well as those within the service and Pentagon, over OMFV requirement decisions and the overall acquisition approach.

During a 4 December Association of the US Army event in Arlington, Virginia, for example, Jane's asked Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord about her concerns with the OMFV programme and the lack of competition.

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