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Earmark Proposed For Elbit To Upgrade CH-53D Aircraft

by: Matthew Potter
May 18, 2009

Category: Business Line, Companies, Congress, Editorial, Elbit, Events, Federal Budget Process, Military Aviation, production program, Services, States, Texas, U.S. Marine Corps | RSS 2.0

ch-53The U.S. Marines like the Army have been heavily stressing their helicopter fleet in Iraq and Afghanistan. That service has begun to upgrade their lift capability with the procurement of CH-53K and V-22 aircraft. At the same time they have refurbished their older CH-53D aircraft to maximize their use.

Elbit makes a display that has been fitted into many Army and Marine helicopters already called the ANVIS-HUD. The Marine Corps did not have the money available in their budget to add this to the CH-53D as part of their refurbishment. Now the local Congressional Representative, Kay Granger (R-TX), has proposed a $22 million earmark to do this.

This illustrates one of the issues with earmarks. Sometimes they can be used for good things that the services may not have available funds for. Not all earmarks are for blatant waste or fraud like those that make the headlines. There are also cases where the company or the Service have lobbied Congress to include these kind of marks.

Ideally the budget would be planned by the Services, OSD and the President and Congress would do little to change it. That is not possible as the Constitution gives the House the authority to start all funding bills. What is in the bill is what is given to the Executive Branch at the end. Earmarks are a part of this process. As this example shows though not all earmarks are bad and they can buy useful capability for the military that might not be able to fit in the regular budget.

CH-53 photo by Flickr user Obskurantist.

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