Procurement: September 5, 2003

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: Former Army Chief of Staff (CAS) General Eric Shinseki promised to buy off the shelf vehicles to make the Army lighter, but instead helped design a new, less survivable wheeled vehicle than the M113A2/A3 tracked vehicles (which the Army already owned 11,000 of). The new fat cars cost US taxpayers $2.8 million dollars per copy when the Armys 11,000 M113A2/3s could have been upgraded and had digital communications installed for less than $400,000 each. 

When Shinseki took over as CAS in June 1999 his Deputy, Lieutenant General David K. Heebner, retired to take a job with the contractor of the Stryker, General Dynamics. Sixty days after Heebner went to work for General Dynamics in violation of a law that prohibits him from lobbying his former place of employment for at least a year General Dynamics gave him 4,000 shares of its stock. In the first week of March in each succeeding year, General Dynamics gave Heebner stock gifts. Heebners stock summary at the Securities and Exchange Commission shows he now owns 13,643 shares of General Dynamics stock. 

The three requirements for the ICV Stryker contract were: (1) enter and exit a C-130 aircraft under its own power; (2) perform immediate combat operations on exiting the aircraft; and (3) weight must not exceed 38,000 pounds gross vehicle weight to allow C-130 transport of 1,000 nautical miles without requiring a USAF waiver. The only occasions the Stryker has even been able to get into the air in C-130s was in the Air Forces newest, high-powered J model C-130Js because the Stryker still weighs over 40,000 pounds.

The 3rd Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division, and the 1st Brigade of the 25th Infantry Division were identified in November 1999 as the first Stryker units and the next would be Alaskas 172nd Brigade. Why would Shinseki place a quick reaction force in Alaska with its erratic weather many months of the year? The answer is in the structure of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee

Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) is the ranking member of the Senate committee and Sen. Ted Stevens (R- AK) is the present chairman of the committee. Inouye got one Stryker Brigade for Hawaiis 25th Division and wants another one, while Sen. Stevens got a Stryker Brigade for Alaska. 

Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committees Airland Subcommittee required the Army to stage a competition between the Stryker and M113A2/A3. Shinseki could control the interpretation of the results from the test by allotting his last Stryker Brigade to Santorums home states National Guard.

Shinsekis Strykers, promised to deploy in 96 hours, will have 300 vehicles assigned to a National Guard unit that cant find all of its members in 96 hours! Santorum made no further objection to the Stryker program although it sucked 1,500 high-paying jobs from the United Defense plant in his home state at York, PA and allowed the General Dynamics plant in London, Ontario, Canada to resume full production. Santorum exchanged 1500 full-time union jobs in York, PA in America for 3,700 part-time National Guard jobs and gave the American jobs to Canada.

For the competition between the vehicles, the Army hired a retired Marine Corps General, Paul Van Riper, to command the Red forces. Red forces, commanded by Van Riper, engaged in some clever tricks that the Blues were not expecting. Thats not in the script, countered the referees, who ordered the Blue battle fleet to be magically resurrected. Van Riper quit as commander of the enemy forces, and warned that the Pentagon might wrongly conclude that its experimental tactics were working.

After a protest, the General Accounting Office (GAO) allowed the guesstimated cost per hour of the Stryker, versus the documented cost for the M113s, to stand. Whenever called upon, the GAO, under the direction of General Counsel Anthony H. Gamboa, consistently ruled for whatever Shinseki wanted. Gamboa graduated from the United States Military Academy in the same class as Shinseki. The ethics of the legal profession required Gamboa to disclose his close connection to Shinseki in the Stryker cases. 

Gen. David K. Heebner, now a vice president at General Dynamics, is fat and happy at the taxpayers expense. He doesnt have to collect unemployment checks like the defense workers in York, PA victimized by the Stryker contract because hes a millionaire with all his stock gifts. Lonnie Shoultz (lshoultz@gulftel.com)

 


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