Lawmakers Want Army to Finish Carbine Competition


I filed a story Thursday about the House Armed Services Committee’s new budget amendment that could prevent the Army from canceling its improved carbine competition without completing the final, soldier evaluation phase.

Army program officials are in the process of reprogramming the $49.6 million requested in the proposed fiscal 2014 budget to buy 30,000 new Individual Carbines, reported May 2.

But the HASC decided Thursday it wants the Army to finish the carbine effort it has already funneled $20 million into before making a final decision.

Committee members voted unanimously in the wee morning hours of June 6 to support the amendment to the fiscal 2014 National Defense Authorization ACT sponsored by Rep. Loretta Sanchez, ranking member of the House Armed Services Tactical Air and Land Forces subcommittee.

The amendment, if passed into law, prevents Secretary of the Army John McHugh from canceling the IC competition before the Army completes the Phase III user-evaluation portion, conducts a business case analysis, and reports back to congressional defense committees with the effort’s findings, according to the amendments official language.

Read the rest of the story here.

About the Author

Matthew Cox
Matthew Cox has been a defense reporter since 1998 and is an associate editor for He traveled to Afghanistan and Iraq numerous times from 2002 to 2008, covering infantry units in combat. Matthew was an infantryman in the 82nd Airborne Division.

16 Comments on "Lawmakers Want Army to Finish Carbine Competition"

  1. Don't matter there wasn't a new carbine better than the M-4 and so why they are cancelling the competition. I also know this Republican Budget bill this amendment is a attached to cannot pass the Senate or the WH veto so this is a dead amendment. Also the budget wont pass till October so if the army cancels it now the amendment wont matter.

    SO Mr Cox get my email and call me I got a few questions on this for you.

  2. Christ on a crutch… Can't we make an amendment that makes lawmakers shut the hell up about military procurement matters?

  3. Oldbreed1963 | June 7, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Reply

    There are better rifle then the M-4 out there. More reliable and better calibers also. The men that are at the tip of the spear have to have crap but we have to have a raptors?! I have a sneaking suspicion why the Corps is using the HK. The SAW is already in the inventory. The Corps can just field more HK's in the squad. Way above the M-4 in performance. SOC community is already been using HK-416's etc. All the Frontline troops should have the best rifle and caliber we can provide. I was a Marine Infantryman and would have preferred an HK or FN to an M-4/M-16.

  4. The best way is to keep the platform but upgrade the caliber. The only problem with that is the cost. It would cost billions to retool for a different caliber and would take years to get ammo stocks up to the needed amount.

    I think 6.8 is a better combat round than 6.5.

  5. I agree a new caliber is needed, but that says nothing of the platform. Find the most reliable platform you can, and then select the most appropriate caliber. The rifle had its problems, but that was the idea behind the ACR: create one reliable platform that could be converted to support multiple calibers.

  6. Just switch to .300 blackout and be done with it.

  7. WTF!! the should just use the acr rifle it’s looking to be the best replace for the m4 come on man it’s can be change from 5.56 to 6.8 even the 7.62. come on now people it don’t take a rock science find the best gun!!!

  8. Question (from a brit). If the programme was/is canned why are the army allowed to "reprogramme the $49.6 million"? Why aren't they just made to return the money (with regards to the recession)?

    With regards to a calibre change, the US pushed the last to calibres on other NATO members, if you do change again could you do a proper non-biased research programme first – and pick the right calibre.
    (just a little bit of sarcasm there)

  9. If it's close to finalization then complete it. Doesn't mean that the military will buy new weapons in the era of bargain basement armies!! The military has banned efficient plastic magazines again since they can't seem to make a solid decision. This item and proper cleaning and mantainence of weapons should fix the current weapon situation. Only the Army seems to be having trouble, not the Marines who take weapons as a religious experience!! Another leadership failure in the Army!!

  10. Wow. I can't *believe* Congress is holding the Pentagon accountable on this, and I'm impressed.

  11. Congress is trying to hold the Pentagon accountable — the amendment hasn't passed.

    For the Brit: the U.S. DoD moves money around on a regular basis to address pressing needs. $49.6 Million is so insignificant in the overall scheme of things that it won't make a difference in the Budget.

    While there are better combat rounds and gun designs, the ACR is too heavy to add to a typical combat load. An increase in caliber increases the weight of the ammo in that load or reduces the number of rounds available. While a 6.8 would be better ballistically, it effectively reduces the number of rounds that a marine can hump through the mountains of Afghanistan or North Korea (if that happens).

  12. There is no such thing as a rifle for everything. They should issue rifles based on METT-TC of the theater. Long range mountain combat in the mountains of Astan? Issue a battle rifle in .308 or 30-06. Mid range combat in a city or rural area? Issue assault rifles in the 556, 6.8, what have you.

    Honestly for all the money spent on these useless competitions we could have issued several new rifles for every soldier in addition to the current m4 inventory. Just like the camo issue, there is no universal gun.

  13. You're right. There is no universal gun but you average g.i 's need to have the same ammo in theatre. Sure would suck if you couldn't share when you run out .

  14. Sure, keep the M4 around- it's had 40+ years to get the kinks nearly worked out (forward bolt assist, twist rate, cleaner powder, enclosed flash-hider, feed ramps, chrome bore, polymer mags, ditched the carry handle for optics, etc.)

    But, to put this in perspective, for the cost of ONE F-35 you buy 25,000 6.8/6.5 uppers, mags and several years worth of ammo so our guys in Afghanistan (and the next hot GWOT theater) can reach out past 300 yards. A more effective long range caliber should be available when it's needed.

    BTW, the Swiss have got to be doing head smacks if they are paying any attention to the 5.56's (lack of performance) in Afghanistan, as they have similar terrain to defend. Hopefully they didn't get rid of all their STGW57s.

  15. The M4 is a great weapon but there are better ones out there. The two things are most important are the reliability of the weapon and the reliability of the round. Then you have accuracy which we already know the ACR, SCAR and others are just as accurate if not more. So the question is do any of them provide a substantial increase in reliability? Given that big Army and the Marines idea that very little lubricant is a good idea, then a newer weapon is required with the coatings that improve lubricity. Second, is there an option that increases range and lethality? In several of the contenders, there is. They can accept 5.56 and 6.8 and I believe some offer 6.5. I think it is a win-win for the entire military if they continue the program.

  16. Use the 6x45mm round with the 90gr round. You will,have a good compromise with more power, no need to,get new mags, links, bolts only new barrels! Stop wasting limited funds on stupid tests! There have been tons of tests up to this point! Save our troops- and the money! Just get the new weapons bilingual!

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