View Full Version : Defense bill favors older weapons

07-11-03, 06:18 AM
Defense bill favors older weapons

WASHINGTON (AP) -- In approving a $368.7 billion defense spending bill, the House sought to make sure older weapons systems that have proven their value aren't prematurely discarded in the transition to a more mobile, high-tech fighting force.

The bill, for the budget year beginning Oct. 1, cuts some Pentagon requests for newer weapons systems in favor of continuing some older ones. It was approved 399-19 Thursday.

It represents an increase of about 1.3 percent over the amount approved for this fiscal year -- not taking into account a $62.4 billion midyear spending bill that paid for the war in Iraq. The 2004 bill doesn't include the costs of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, which probably will be financed by another spending bill.

The Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee approved a similar bill Tuesday with bipartisan support. Both bills are about $3 billion below Bush's request.

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee chairman, Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., said the House bill "reflects very much the direction of the commander in chief as well as the Department of Defense regarding the war on terrorism that we are pursuing in the Middle East at this point but also recognizing its great threat around the world."

Those priorities include Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's desire to transform the military into a sophisticated, lighter force able to mobilize quickly in response to crises around the world.

The House bill includes $458 million not sought by the Bush administration for 144 upgraded Bradley fighting vehicles, 43 Abrams tanks and other equipment to modernize the 3rd Armored Calvary Regiment.

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