WASHINGTON, DC – Today Rep. Gene Taylor (D-MS), Chairman of the Seapower and Expeditionary Forces Subcommittee, and Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), Chairman of the Air and Land Forces Subcommittee, held a joint hearing on DoD’s plans for acquiring Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles for service members in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I have not been satisfied with the response of this administration to the force protection needs of our troops,” Taylor said. “Just this Monday, the country learned by reading an excellent article in USA Today that commanders in Iraq have submitted multiple requests for MRAP vehicles since 2004. Requests that, until recently, have apparently fallen on deaf ears."
“I am tired of excuses. I am tired of being told the Army has not funded their requirement because they see no use for the vehicle after Iraq. Right now what I care about is present day Iraq and what happens to our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who are truly the only ones sacrificing in this war,” Taylor continued.
“Funding for the MRAP vehicle is my number one priority. This issue is life and death for our men and women in Iraq,” said Abercrombie. “The House Armed Services Committee continues to ask the right questions and provide crucial oversight to ensure that the Department of Defense can and does meet its responsibilities to give our forces the very best equipment, when they need it.”
Taylor continued, "Today, I directed the Department of Defense to provide this committee the information that is necessary to get our troops in harm’s way in protected MRAPs as soon as possible. Specifically, I directed Deputy Secretary Young to provide to this committee within 10 working days the number of MRAP vehicles required by our troops in theater.”
“I also directed Secretary Young to determine and report back to this committee within 10 working days whether the authority given to the President by the current use of force authorization in Iraq allows the Department of Defense to commandeer American production lines, if necessary, for the purpose of expanding and speeding up MRAP production,” concluded Taylor.
In FY2008, the President requested approximately $400 million for MRAP vehicles in his budget submission. The House Armed Services Committee added $4.1 billion to bring the authorized funding to a level that matched the stated requirement at the time.