Reset Up

/ February 9, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Accelerating equipment reset is one way that military spending can help play a role in the country's economic recovery, states a new memo from the Center for American Progress, a progressive Washington-based think tank. The authors recommend adding $50 billion to equipment reset in fiscal year 2010 as part of the economic recovery package.

After years of use in Iraq and Afghanistan, the services' equipment -- its tanks, trucks and helicopters -- have undergone significant combat damage and require either replacement or repair.

"There is no reason that this reset cannot be done much more rapidly," reads the memo.

Defense spending for equipment reset, which could cost up to $100 billion, should be prioritized, according to the report, because it could spur medium- to long-term economic growth.

Reset is a major issue for the services, especially the Army. Inside the Army reported this week that reset is a "non-negotiable" priority for the service, despite serious funding challenges that lie ahead.

The first step to effective reset is determining what kinds of equipment are essential for the military to successfully defeat current and future threats, states to the memo.

"The vehicles most in need of reset are those seeing service in Iraq and Afghanistan. These include M1 Abrams tanks, M113 Armored Personnel Carriers, Stryker combat vehicles, military Humvees, and various support vehicles," write the authors.

Accelerating reset can bring employment for mechanics and machinists in states such as Texas, California, Oregon, Utah, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Alabama, states the memo.

CAP also calls for accelerating the spending of funds already authorized for military construction, as well as an extra $25 billion for fiscal year 2010 for projects in the next five years.

And to combat unemployment, CAP recommends increasing the ground forces to projected levels as quickly as possible.

"In 2010, the Army and Marines should attempt to add all 48,000 troops to their roles without lowering standards. This will increase military personnel expenditures by an estimated $5 billion in 2010 alone," reads the report.

-- Kate Brannen

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