Congress has matched the Army’s $4.1 billion vehicle budget request in the final version of the fiscal year 2019 spending bill, while including a $200 million increase for Stryker upgrades needed to complete critical conversions to the modernized double-v hull variant.
The final version of the House and Senate’s conference defense appropriations bill includes a provision for the Secretary of the Army to submit a report outlining a revised Stryker acquisition strategy to understand how the service will meet an Army Requirements Oversight Counsel (AROC) decision to improve over 80 vehicles’ mobility and survivability.
“The conferees support the net-zero fiscal year 2019 transfer request, reprogramming action, and additional funding for [Double V-Hull Al] (DVHAI] conversions,” lawmakers wrote in the explanatory statement for the bill. “However, the conferees are concerned that the Army decision on Stryker modifications are not being synchronized with the budget cycle, are currently under-resourced, and have been subject to sudden change.”
To meet the move to the double-v hull variant, lawmakers included $265 million for Stryker upgrades, up from the Army’s original budget request of $22 million, and decreased the amount for modifications from the $287 million request to $127 million.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley approved the AROC decision to move all Strykers, build by General Dynamics [GD], from the flat-bottom hull to double-v hull after the service’s original FY ’19 budget request was already submitted. The $22 million in that request would have only covered three vehicle conversions, according to lawmakers
The shift in appropriations meets a subsequent request to transfer another $149 million to fund 53 additional DVHAI Stryker conversions.
House and Senate lawmakers also agreed to include another $94 million, ultimately totaling $265 million to convert 82 Strykers to the double-v hull configuration.
The Secretary of the Army has also been tasked to deliver a report, within 90 days of the bill’s passing, detailing a revised Stryker acquisition strategy, a resourcing strategy to deploy the upgraded vehicles to Stryker Brigade Combat Team and explanations of lethality requirements.
Lawmakers also noted a FY ’18 reprogramming request to repurpose $285 million in congressional funding for 91 DVHAI conversions. Between the FY ’18 request and the proposed funding in the final FY19 appropriations bill, the Army would have enough funding to cover conversions of half of SBCT’s vehicles, according the explanatory statement.
Congress’ final defense spending bill matches Army requests for M109, M88A2 and Abrams tank modifications.
The bill also boosts modification for Paladin PIMs by $110 million up to $460 million.
Lawmakers decreased funding for Bradley vehicle modifications from a requested $625 million to $465 million and included slightly less for the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle program from a requested $480 million to $447 million.