In the December issue of DTI, Kimberly Johnson, Mike Fabey and I have a story about some of the USMC's big ticket programs, and the challenges they'll face in staying afloat in the upcoming budget squeeze:
Many in and out of the Pentagon thought the EFV was on its way to the junk heap by mid-2010. Gates had the program in his sights and no one was sure what kind of support Amos would lend. Like other programs that have been decades in development, the EFV became a target for defense industry reformers who questioned the relevance of equipment they say is more suited to warfare from another era.
For example, it is designed to carry a large enough gun to engage hostile armored vehicles but not—in its basic form—to withstand large mines or improvised explosive devices.
The kind of amphibious assault landings for which the EFV was initially designed no longer make sense, critics added. But Amos presents a new idea of what constitutes an amphibious landing. In his first planning guidance, released in October, he cites global disasters in Haiti and Pakistan that required the deployment of 5,000 Marines from seven amphibious ships. Amos also made clear in his guidance that he was for anything that bolstered the Marines’ expeditionary capabilities.
“The Marine Corps is America’s expeditionary force in readiness,” he wrote in the guidance, which mentions “expeditionary” 15 times. “To a Marine, the term ‘expeditionary’ is more than a slogan; it is our state of mind. It drives the way we organize our forces, how we train and what kind of equipment we buy.” The defining expeditionary tool now is the EFV.