Stars and Stripes: Army tanks, other ground combat weapons in danger of falling behind

According to a new article from Stars and Stripes, a recent Congressional Research Service report says that the US Army’s primary ground combat weapons systems are growing outdated and being surpassed in some cases by those of other countries.

Excerpt:

imageThe tanks, infantry-fighting vehicles, self-propelled howitzer cannons and multiple-launch rocket systems fielded by America’s front-line combat soldiers were developed in the 1970s and first fielded in the 1980s, and the Army does not have any active programs to replace them, according to the Jan. 18 report titled, “Selected Foreign Counterparts of U.S. Army Ground Combat Systems and Implications for Combat Operations and Modernization.” Those U.S. weapons have been routinely upgraded with new technology, but other nations – including rivals Russia and China – have developed entirely new systems in recent years.

Some of those systems have “outpaced” American military technology, the report added.

The Army has faced steep budget cuts in recent years mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011, forcing the service to focus on combat readiness over modernizing its weapons. The service’s top general, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, has said the Army will continue its focus on readiness in 2017, though it would make a “major effort” to modernize its systems.

Read the full article here.

Stars and Stripes: 100 Years of Tanks

Stars and Stripes has posted a page devoted to “Tanks: from Novelty to Necessity in 100 years.”  The page is intended for those that are not particularly familiar with the topic so the information is pretty basic.  That said, it’s a very sharp looking page with some nice photos and videos.  Our favorite image in the article is this one from 1921 showing the US Tank Corps stationed at Camp Meade.

Early armor force picture

The two men circled in red are Maj. George S. Patton (left) and Capt. Dwight D. Eisenhower (right).

The Stars and Stripes article can be viewed here. 

US tanks go back to green

2BE961CA00000578-3219907-image-a-29_1441215460957Stars and Stripes is reporting that as focus shifts away from the middle east and toward Russia, US tanks in Europe are being repainted to woodland green rather than desert tan. According to the article, US vehicles in Europe are being repainted in forest colors to more closely match the European terrain and NATO allies. The article also mentions other issues concerning US AFV logistics in Europe, noting that:

The fighting vehicles stored here are a key part of USAREUR’s rotation of troops and vehicles into the Baltics and eastern Europe.

At Coleman, military officials discussed ways to improve the flow of equipment to the region, much of which moves by rail. For the Army, large-scale gear and troop movements around Europe have demanded that the Army relearn old logistical skills not exercised during the war years in Iraq and Afghanistan, officials said.

“We need to rebuild competency on several levels,” said Maj. Gen. Duane A. Gamble, commander of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command.

Full Article here.