Military service, contractors rev up Future Combat Systems PR campaign with DVDs, online videos, video games.
The Army's crown jewel of transformation and network-centricity, the $120 billion Future Combat Systems, is under assault on Capitol Hill. FCS is intended to network soldiers and commanders with sensors, unmanned vehicles, a satellite-based Internet in the sky, and new vehicles, weapons and communications devices. Now, to tout the program and stave off funding cuts, the Army and its contractors are revving up a public relations offensive with DVDs, online videos and a video game reminiscent of the recruiting sensation, "America's Army."
For example, "Safehouse," a video released on the Army's FCS Web site in October 2006, promotes FCS not only as the ultimate in network-centric warfare, but as a lifesaver, too.
It opens with an Army sergeant working in a clinic in a Southeast Asian village. A woman rushes in carrying her unconscious daughter. The sergeant slaps sensors on the child and, using a laptop, gets a fast meningitis diagnosis from the United States. The video continues as soldiers using unmanned aerial and ground vehicles, sensors and high-tech communications gear track and capture Salandeo, a narcoterrorist.
See the video below:
Regen Wilson, SAIC spokesman, says the game was de-signed to let troops have a taste of what FCS will be like. SAIC has handed out more than 24,000 copies of the game.
Also on the FCS Web site is a debunking section called Myths and Realities. "The problem is not that the Army or FCS is too expensive; it is that some in our country seem to balk at what is historically imperative for our national defense," it warns.