|Rumsfeld Says Crusader Replacements Look to Future|
Rumsfeld Says Crusader Replacements Look to Future
By Jim Garamone, American Forces Press Service.
Washington D.C. -- (AFPS) May 17, 2002 -- Killing the Crusader artillery system is the correct choice for the U.S. military to be prepared for the wars of the future, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said May 17.
"There is no question our proposals are aimed at the future," Rumsfeld said during an interview with the American Forces Information Service. "We believe the approach we've taken better fits the world we live in and the world we're going to live in."
Under the proposal, the Defense Department would kill the Army's Crusader program and speed up development of the Excalibur family of precision munitions and the Army's Future Combat System. The Army would also look at other indirect- fire systems such as the Guided Multiple-Launch Rocket System, the High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Net Fires System.
The Army has already spent $2 billion on Crusader research and development work and would need another $9 billion to complete the project.
Rumsfeld said the money already spent on Crusader will not go to waste. He said the Army could "migrate" some of Crusader's technologies to refit its current M-109 Paladin 155 mm self-propelled howitzer. Similarly, the technologies can be migrated forward into the Future Combat System.
In addition, the precision munitions under development will make an enormous difference for the artillery, he said.
Rumsfeld said the important thing is not what weapon system goes forward, but what capabilities combatant commanders have. Bringing fire on a target is not the sole job of one service or one branch of a service. "(A combatant commander) looks not at the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines, he looks at all those things combined in a joint effort," he observed.
He said that killing the Crusader under the proposal would not leave a window of vulnerability. "As we look at the situation, it's pretty clear to us that from a pure artillery standpoint, we can probably upgrade the Paladin we have and bring forward the Future Combat System and bridge that period that the Crusader had been intended for," he said.
Rumsfeld said the Crusader was a good piece of military equipment, but that in life you can't have everything.
"What one needs to do is, as a family does, or as a business does, is to recognize that your resources are finite and you have to pick and choose," he said. "There are no easy calls, but we spent a lot of time thinking about it and I'm convinced this is the right thing to do."