The U.S. Army is fighting the politicians to avoid having to buy more M-1 tanks, or upgrade some older ones that do not need upgrades. What it comes down to is that the politicians want to keep the only American tank manufacturing plant open. It’s all about political posturing, votes and getting reelected. But the army wants to spend its shrinking budgets on things that will save lives in the next battle. At stake is several billion dollars. The generals cannot openly say that this is about buying votes versus buying lives, but that’s what it comes down to.
So far, over 9,000 American M-1 tanks have been produced and most of them subsequently updated at least once. But the army, seeking to save a billion dollars, wants to close the plant that builds and modifies the M-1. The closure would be for three years, and when it was reopened there would be a backlog of upgrades and parts orders to fill to keep the plant open until, perhaps, an M-1 replacement comes along. At the moment the generals do not have any firm plans for an M-1 replacement.