Army ending purchase of Humvees from Mishawaka plant

February 3, 2010

News that the U.S. Army could be ending its nearly decades-long tradition of buying new Humvees is sending shock waves through AM General and the union that represents the workers.

The Army says it wants to take delivery of the final shipment of new Humvees next month, and then that’s it. They plan to purchase no more new Humvees.

If there is any good news at the AM General Plant in Mishawaka, It’s that right now this is not a done deal. The Army’s budget plan has to win approval from Congress. But the last 24 hours since this budget plan was released have left people at the plant stunned, to say the least.

At the Village Pantry, right across from the plant, news that the Army doesn’t want to buy any more military Humvees is a shocker.

“The Army side, that’s a big side. That’s a dream job for a lot of guys,” said John Bentley, who is looking for a job.

Although the Humvee has been one of the so-called “workhorses” of the Army since the mid 1980s, if the Army has its way that horse may be put out to pasture.

β€œThe Humvee doesn’t provide the desired level of protection for our soldiers,” said Lt. Col. Jimmie Cummings.

The Army now wants to spend more money on equipment like the “MRAP” or “mine resistant ambush protective” gear. It’s all part of the new reality of combat in places like Afghanistan.

“The Army’s decision to stop procuring Humvees for Army-only needs is not made lightly,” said Cummings. “There’s money toward a lot of other things, but right now money to purchase or procure new Humvees will end as of this year.”

Keep in mind, this bombshell that is within the Army budget has nothing to do with layoffs that have just occurred within the last month or so among Humvee workers. 204 have been laid off, but that was not in anticipation of this. So if the Army gets its way and stops buying new Hummers, No one is willing to speculate at this point on what that would mean for further layoffs, but obviously it wouldn’t be good.

As of right now the Humvee production line is still operational. Both the company and the union are now focusing on Washington β€’ putting pressure on Congressional representatives and Senators as a way to try and get money for new Humvees back in the army’s spending plan.

The Army will keep using the Humvees they already have. In fact, the budget for 2011 calls for almost $990 million for what essentially amounts to parts and service for the tens of thousands of Humvees the Army still has in use.

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