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Msg  59656 of 59677  at  6/18/2022 11:34:59 AM  by

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IVAS-From Reddit

Lawmakers boost legacy night-vision systems, IVAS in policy bill

By Evan Ochsner / June 17, 2022 at 1:55 PM

Lawmakers are seeking to boost development funding for the Integrated Visual Augmentation System while enabling the Army to continue to procure its existing night-vision systems, according to congressional documents.

The House and Senate Armed Services committees are seeking in the annual defense policy bill to authorize the Army to continue to procure the Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binocular after the Army’s fiscal year 2023 budget request did not include any procurement funds for the system.

The House Armed Services Committee’s “chairman's mark” of the annual defense policy bill authorizes $100 million for a program extension of the ENVGB.

The Senate version of the policy bill authorizes $75 million for the system, matching an item in the Army’s unfunded priorities list to purchase 2,400 ENGVB and keep a production line for the system open as a “bridge to modern capabilities.”

Failure to procure the system in FY-23 would mean two brigade combat teams would continue to use legacy night-vision goggles, which would decrease “solider survivability in contingency operations,” according to the unfunded priorities list, and would also put the manufacturer “at risk of closing the production line in FY24.”

At a Senate committee hearing on the Army’s budget request last month, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) pressed Army Secretary Christine Wormuth about the lack of funding for the program: “I’m concerned that this decision not only harms our soldiers by limiting access to more advanced night vision systems, it also affects our nation’s already limited night vision manufacturing industrial base.”

Shaheen represents New Hampshire, where L3Harris produces the ENGVB.

In response, Wormuth said the Army had determined it “procured the quantities of night vision googles that we thought would meet our requirements.” 

But she also suggested that the cut was part of the Army’s continued effort to fund its modernization programs while maintaining readiness: “A lot of what we’re trying to do with the resources that we have is balance between making sure that we continue to have resources to invest in the new modernization programs as well as continue to invest in some of the enduring systems that we have.”

IVAS, one of those modernization programs, would receive an additional $21 million to accelerate its development under a provision in the Senate Armed Service Committee’s defense policy bill, according to a summary. 

The Army’s FY-23 research, development, test and evaluation budget request asked for $12 million for advanced development of IVAS, down from $56 million for FY-22. 

The Army said it could accelerate testing and development of IVAS version 1.2 with an additional $11 million for testing and $16.5 million for development, according to the unfunded priorities list.

Congress for FY-22 appropriated an additional $55 million for IVAS RDT&E “for continued design, development, and testing activities” particularly related to human factors and user experience. A report earlier this year found that wearing IVAS caused headaches and nausea for some soldiers. 

The annual policy bill in recent years targeted IVAS, cutting funds, withholding approved money and instructing the Army to provide more information about the system’s effectiveness. A provision in the FY-22 defense policy bill requires the Army to submit a report on the system’s effectiveness after it completes operational testing this month


 


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