Controversy

Controversy

Robert O. Work has sketched out a future for amphibious warfare in which either the Marines will land unopposed or it will take a major effort using all the long range weapons of the United States armed forces to clear out ship-killing missiles so that amphibious ships can safely approach the hostile beach and neither scenario sees much use for the EFV. New families of guided anti-ship weapons have extended target ranges of well past 75 miles and the precision to target nonstate actors, making the EFV’s capabilities less of a game-changer than originally hoped for.

In a joint report the U.S. Public Interest Research Group and the National Taxpayers Union called the EFV program wasteful spending and asked for its cancellation. The co-chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform have also supported the cancellation of the EFV. During a Pentagon briefing, on 6 January 2011, revealing budget efficiencies and reinvestment possibilities, Secretary of Defense Gates announced his intention to cancel the EFV program. In a statement released after Gates’ press conference, USMC Commandant Amos said that he supports the cancellation of the EFV:

Today the Secretary of Defense announced the termination of the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) program. I support his decision. After a thorough review of the program within the context of a broader Marine Corps force structure review, I personally recommended to both the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of the Navy that the EFV be cancelled and that the Marine Corps pursue a more affordable amphibious tracked fighting vehicle.
Despite the critical amphibious and war-fighting capability the EFV represents, the program is not affordable given likely Marine Corps procurement budgets. The procurement and operations/maintenance costs of this vehicle are onerous. After examining multiple options to preserve the EFV, I concluded that none of the options meets what we consider reasonable affordability criteria. As a result, I decided to pursue a more affordable vehicle.
—James F. Amos, 35th Commandant of the Marine Corps

Loren B. Thompson, of the Lexington Institute, said that Amos had been ordered to give this statement, which did not reflect his actual feelings on the issue.

In an interview on 5 January 2011 with Bloomberg Businessweek, Duncan D. Hunter, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, anticipated the cancellation announcement by Gates. However, Hunter has predicted that his committee will reject the cancellation.

According to Lieutenant General George J. Flynn of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command, the USMC will use funding from the cancelled EFV for other tactical ground vehicles over the next five years. The EFV program was cut from a 2012 proposed budget by the White House.

General Dynamics is offering a cut down version of the EFV without the hydroplaning or weapons. Ray Mabus has said that new defensive systems will allow Navy ships to close to within 12 miles off hostile shores so a 25 knot amphibious tracked vehicle is no longer needed.

Deputy commandant George Flynn has said that the analysis of alternatives to replace the EFV will be accelerated to complete in six to nine months. In the 2012 appropriations bill, Congress ordered that the EFV be one of the alternatives considered in the study.