Army says latest funding cut will delay transformation

Senior Army officials are bemoaning a $206 million cut to their premier transformation program in the recently enacted fiscal 2008 Defense appropriations bill. The cut, according to Army Secretary Pete Geren, would have a significant effect on the Future Combat Systems and ultimately drive up costs on the transformation program, now estimated to cost $160 billion.

"I can't tell you with certainty today, but once we got word of the $200 million cut, we have gone to work to figure out how to minimize the impact," Geren told the Senate Armed Services Committee at a hearing late last week. "It will slow it down, and those delays end up costing more in the long term, so it won't save money in the long term."

In particular, the cut in this year's bill could slow development of the Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon, the first of several FCS ground vehicles the Army intends to field, as well as other systems that are in the works.

Geren said roughly $850 million in cuts imposed by Congress in the last several years have caused delays and forced the Army to revise its plans for the program, which envisions fielding a sprawling system of manned and unmanned air and land vehicles connected by an advanced communications network. Lawmakers, particularly in the House, have long been skeptical of the FCS program, the most expensive and ambitious technological endeavor in Army history.

House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Murtha, D-Pa., who initially cut $406 million from the Army's $3.7 billion FCS request for fiscal 2008, has said he has strong reservations about the program, which he thinks is too expensive at a time when the Army is scrambling to pay for equipment urgently needed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Despite the wartime pressures on his budget, Army Chief of Staff George Casey appeared during the hearing to be more concerned about any potential stress on FCS accounts after operations in Iraq and Afghanistan begin to wind down. As a recent example, Casey pointed to the so-called peacetime military procurement holiday of the 1990s.

"One of the biggest challenges is . . . going to be maintaining the kind of investments when the war is over, whenever that is," Casey said. "Modernization initiatives like FCS, I think, come under particular challenge at times ... between conflicts when Americans' interests turn elsewhere, as they did in the '90s."

Casey said military leaders "need to make sure that the country focuses on the reality of the challenge and not repeat the mistake that we made in the '90s."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.