Army readies Future Combat System report

By May 15, the Army will present a milestone report to the Office of the Secretary of Defense to update the DOD on its Future Combat System, a program designed to become the backbone of the Objective Force.

A key focus of the report will be on the Army's plan to develop and insert command and control software in the FCS manned and unmanned vehicles and in the subsystems that hook up to the vehicles, according to Major Gen. Joseph L. Yakovac, program executive officer for Ground Combat Systems in the Tank Automotive & Armaments Command.

If this is done in increments, Yakovac said, it would reduce the Army's logistical footprint. Yakovac spoke yesterday in Washington at the Future Ground Forces conference sponsored by the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement.

'The key to the logistical footprint area is commonality across systems and subsystems,' Yakovac said. 'Anything that can reduce what the Army now carries. That's how we're going to insert technology.'

FCS is a collaborative program run by the Army and the Defense Advanced Research Protection Agency. The fleet of ground battle vehicles being built under the program will eventually tie into the $6.6 billionWarfighter Information Network-Tactical program. Through WIN-T, the Army plans to build a high-speed, high capacity network for wired and wireless voice, data and video communications for soldiers on the battlefield, whether they are riding in combat vehicles, manning radio systems or located at stationary command posts.

'You're seeing today a significant reliance on electronics and software so I think the key in these vehicles, whether they are manned or unmanned, is that (spiral) idea in subsystems,' Yakovac said. 'It's about a networked system of systems, not about piece parts,' Yakovac added.

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