Army readies draft of modernization plan

Just months after the termination of its $160 billion Future Combat Systems program, the Army is on track to complete by Labor Day a new outline for how it plans to modernize its fighting forces, according to a senior Army official.

Lt. Gen. Michael Vane, who is overseeing a task force created after the FCS program's demise, said in an interview on Friday that his group will be ready to brief Army leaders on its conclusions in early September.

Included in its assessment will be the task force's recommendations on operational requirements for a new ground combat vehicle for the Army, as well as directions on how the Army should get new equipment to combat brigades.

Vane, director of the Training and Doctrine Command's Army Capabilities Integration Center, said the task force has relied heavily on field lessons learned from the U.S. military and allies during operations in Iraq and Afghanistan to help guide their work.

The Army launched the FCS program nearly a decade ago. It planned eight types of manned ground vehicles with a common chassis as the basis of its modernization strategy.

But in April, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced plans to kill the ground vehicles -- whose price tag was expected to total $87 billion -- because of concerns the Army had not adequately incorporated lessons learned from Iraq and Afghanistan in their design.

In June, the Pentagon officially ended the FCS program and directed the Army to devise a modernization strategy made up of separate programs. The service plans to pursue many of the other technologies developed under FCS -- such as unmanned air and ground vehicles -- but those efforts will now be called Army Brigade Combat Team Modernization.

The task force's charter is broad, but Vane said the requirements for the vehicles are probably the group's most anticipated product.

"The Army has had not a lot of fair luck here in getting a new combat vehicle," Vane said, alluding to several program cancellations over the last 30 to 40 years.

The vehicle's specific details -- such as weight and whether it will be wheeled or tracked -- will be decided later. But the requirements set by the task force early next month will lay the groundwork for the design and put the Army on course to begin fielding the vehicles in the next five to seven years.

Vane said he has put a premium on establishing a feasible set of requirements.

He also said the task force will recommend which types of vehicles deserve a high priority on developing and fielding. While all decisions are not final, Vane indicated he would support putting a new command-and-control vehicle and an infantry fighting vehicle "near the top" of that list.

When Gates announced his intent to end the FCS ground vehicles, Army leaders did not hide their initial resistance. Army Chief of Staff George Casey said in May he had been unable to convince Gates that the service had taken into account enough of the lessons learned from the current fighting.

Vane acknowledged "change is painful," but added that the decision is a positive move for the Army.

"From where I sit, it really is an opportunity," he said. "It has been an opportunity to re-look where we've been with the program, where we've been with our requirements."

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:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

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