by: JIM MYERS World Washington Bureau
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
4/1/2009 3:50:44 AM
WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe vowed Tuesday to fight possible defense budget cuts that could target a next-generation cannon expected to be assembled and tested in Oklahoma.
"Let me be absolutely clear: I will do everything I can in my role as a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee to fight for the Army's FCS program and the NLOS-Cannon," the Oklahoma Republican said.
"I will ensure that my colleagues and the public understand the importance of these programs to our men and women in the armed services."
Inhofe termed it "reprehensible" that the federal government is spending billions on stimulus programs while cuts in defense systems necessary for national security are being planned.
He issued his strongly worded comments in response to reports that the Pentagon's current budget talks will target the Army's Future Combat Systems.
CongressDaily, reporting that the future looks bleak for the modernization effort, said the Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon could be killed off.
Inhofe played a key role in pushing the cannon to the forefront.
He sponsored a provision in 2004 that provided $2.2 million for the development of the Elgin Industrial Park, where BAE Systems is scheduled to integrate the cannon.
In the past, Inhofe has been successful in helping the cannon survive efforts targeting it.
"The modernization of our Army and our national security is not a partisan matter," he said.
"FCS is Army modernization. Without it, we risk sending our sons and daughters into combat in vehicles that are second-rate and are less survivable and effective in combat," Inhofe said. "What price should we place on the lives of our children we send off to war?"