The Army's Talking Points Controversy

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The Crusader’s Background The Army focused on building the XM 2001 Crusader self-propelled howitzer from 1987 to 2002 in order to enhance its self-propelled 155mm artillery capabilities (Bruner & Bowman, 2002, p. 1). Since the Crusader was developed starting in the late 1980s, the system was intended to combat the firepower of the Soviet Union’s artillery. Among the tasks the weapons system would have fulfilled were “direct-fire maneuver forces, such as tanks and infantry, with immediate, heavy, indirect fires from a distance” (Bruner & Bowman, 2002, p. 1). The Army originally planned to equip its units with 1,138 of the Crusaders starting in the 2008 fiscal year (Bruner & Bowman, 2002, p. 2). The program was revised in 1999 to build 480 vehicles at a total cost of $11 billion. United Defense, which is headquartered in Fridley, Minnesota, would have built the Crusader. United Defense would have used a newly constructed plant in Oklahoma near the Army’s home of the field artillery in Fort Sill, Oklahoma. In addition, United Defense would have used subcontractors in the states of California, Michigan, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Virginia to produce the Crusader (Bruner & Bowman, 2002, p. 2). The Crusader would have also created jobs in the state of Massachusetts and the District of Columbia . The states of California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Virginia are considered politically powerful or swing states. Other, the production of military hardware becomes a very parochial issue. Michigan is the home state of Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin and California has two senior Senators in Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein. Minnesota and Virginia had then Senate Armed Services Comm... ... middle of paper ... ...n made by the chain of command. As stated earlier, Rumsfeld wiliness to go around the military leadership and his suggestion to General Shelton that military advice to the President should go through him demonstrated to the military and career civilians that Rumsfeld was not interested in their input. Therefore, in order to make their views felt a need to go around Rumsfeld. The talking points memo was a way of going around Rumsfeld. It is likely the military and career civilian leadership felt they had to ignore the chain of command to have their views heard by the Congress. However, Congress knew the military did not agree with the civilian leadership of the military. Shinseki had earlier testified before Congress, in his view, the Army needed the Crusader. Both Rumsfeld and the military leadership are to be blamed for the talking points memo controversy.

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