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In 1997, United Defense was purchased by the Carlyle Group, a Washington, D.C., investment partnership formed in 1987 by David Rubenstein, a former aide to President Jimmy Carter; Daniel A. D'Aniello, former vice president of Finance for Marriott Inc.; and William Conway, former CFO for MCI Communications. The Group now manages more than $16 billion in investments through some 300 employees in 12 offices around the world. Investors include the government of Singapore, Kuwait Investment Authority and state pension funds of California and Florida.
United Defense launched a major lobbying offensive in 1998 on behalf of the Crusader. Among the lobbyists employed by the company were former Indiana Senator Dan Coats (who sat on the Senate Armed Services Committee) and former Texas Representative Marvin Leath
In 2001, the Pentagon modified the Crusader contract to upgrade the system. After the announcement, the Carlyle Group took United Defense public, picking up several million dollars in stock though it remained the company's primary shareholder. Five months later, however, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced that the contract would be canceled because of the anachronistic nature of the heavy weapon, and United Defense stock prices fell 27 percent.
And President Bush is scheduled to open the funding spigot today, when he signs a defense appropriation bill that includes $487.3 million for the Crusader in 2002.
Between January 2001 and July 2003, the company spent $6.7 million lobbying Congress on issues such as Defense Department appropriations bills, particularly "legislation regarding defense weapons, systems and technologies" and "provisions regarding military modernization and procurement," as well as procurement law reform.
"Carlyle's aggressive approach . . . is one reason why the Crusader lived this long," said Lawrence J. Korb, an assistant secretary in the Reagan Pentagon and now director of studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. Even if Rumsfeld's decision stands, Korb said, United still will have received $2 billion from the Crusader program and will receive substantially more to close it down.
Even then, however, the Crusader's critics were making their case that the system was too heavy for the air transport required for modern warfare, saying it was conceived essentially for fighting a major ground war in Europe.
Originally posted by Jamuhn
Everyone was surprised the Crusader was lasting that long, apparently it couldn't even fit on a plane because of its weight.