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Project on Government Oversight

POGO Letter to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld Recommending Cancellation of the Army's Crusader Program

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April 23, 2001

Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense, The Pentagon
Washington D.C. 20301-1000

Dear Secretary Rumsfeld:

We applaud the decision of your advisory panel that recommended cancellation of the Army's Crusader program and the modernization of others. We hope you will accept the panel's recommendations and move to eliminate overpriced, under tested, cold-war weapons that are not consistent with the military's far-term vision.

We also have been closely monitoring the $11.2 billion Crusader program, recently featuring it, along with the B-1 Bomber, as two of our case studies in our "Fighting with Failures Series."

As you know, the Crusader Howitzer was prominently featured in a March 2001 General Accounting Office study, "Best Practices: Better Matching of Needs and Resources Will Lead to Better Weapon System Outcomes," as a bad example of weapon system development.

The study concluded that redesign efforts to reduce the Crusader's weight from 55 to 38 tons could require unacceptable trade-offs related to crew protection, the time the vehicle spends on the firing line, and whether the Crusader is a tracked or wheeled vehicle. It also criticized the Crusader's development and testing processes.

We are enclosing the first installment of our "Fighting with Failures Series" - summary overviews of the Crusader, B-1 Bomber, B-2 Bomber, C-17 airlifter, Comanche Helicopter, and V-22 Osprey. We also are including our most recent work on the Air Force's F-22 fighter program - an endeavor that is repeating some of the testing and development mistakes of past aircraft.

We commend you for your in-depth review of our military forces and your commitment to fix the broken weapons acquisition process. Because we share your belief in a strong military, we are hopeful that you will continue to closely monitor our nation's future military weapons to ensure that our fighting men and women are not forced to rely on inadequate weapons systems, such as the Crusader.

Sincerely,

Danielle Brian
Executive Director