A Senate committee voted this week to halt funding for the Army's troubled effort to build a wireless communication network, just before the expected release of a Pentagon cost review of the initiative.
The Warfighter Information Network-Tactical system, or WIN-T, would lose $448 million in 2018 under the Senate Armed Services Committee's annual defense policy bill, which it passed Wednesday. The committee, chaired by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., felt it was time to pause the long-running $6 billion program after the Army chief of staff said he was unsure "whether it's going to work," according to staff members who briefed reporters Thursday.
"We think it is doing to take some time for them to think through this thing," said a Senate aide, who spoke about the details of the committee's National Defense Authorization Act on the condition of anonymity. The bill was approved by the committee and will be sent to the Senate floor but the full, consolidated text is not expected to be publicly released until after the July 4th holiday.
The Pentagon's Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation was expected to release its review of the WIN-T program Friday, and the findings will likely mirror the concerns raised by Army Gen. Mark Milley in May, according to the committee.
WIN-T was meant to provide integrated wireless and wired communications between commanders and soldiers in combat zones. The program has included contracts with General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin.
"The bottom line is, I have some serious hard questions that have not yet been satisfactorily answered as to whether it's going to work," Milley told Armed Services lawmakers in May.
At that time, he said a "rigorous, thorough and painful" review was underway and would be completed in about six weeks.
McCain criticized the program as apparent government waste.
"It's hard for us to continue to fight for more money [for the Army] when we see $6 billion wasted on one program," he said in May.