By Carlo Muñoz - 10/12/12 08:48 PM EDT
A new radio ad released by the Romney campaign on Friday features Vice President Biden repeatedly defending the administration's decision to cancel upgrade work to the venerable M-1 Abrams tank.
Pentagon and White House officials pushed back against a $321 million request by Congress to upgrade the Abrams tank and the M-2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle earlier this year.
The congressional-backed appropriation would have been included in the Pentagon's annual defense spending bill for fiscal year 2013.
"You know that’s not just an attack against our ability to defend our freedom. It’s also an attack against our jobs and our way of life," according to the ad, citing the job losses resulting from the cancellation.
Built in the 1980s, the Abrams played a key role in the initial U.S. invasion of Iraq in 1993 during Operation Desert Storm, and later in 2001 during Operation Enduring Freedom.
But aside from a short-lived deployment with Marine Corps units in southern Afghanistan, the tank has seen little to no action for almost the entirety of the decade-long Afghan war.
Pentagon war planners have found the M-1 simply cannot traverse the high-altitude, mountainous terrain in Afghanistan due to the tank's massive weight and size.
U.S. military planners have already run into problems getting the significantly smaller Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle through Afghanistan's unforgiving terrain.
The Army has also publicly stated plans to slim down its arsenal of combat vehicles, as the service prepares to significantly shrink its ranks as part of the Department of Defense's post-Afghanistan strategy.
Part of that plan includes reductions to its heavy armor divisions, including cuts to the M-1 Abrams and other legacy tracked combat vehicles, in favor of more advanced, lightweight and durable vehicles.