New DOD memo looks to the horizon after FCS
Future Combat System is formally cancelled
- By Brian Robinson
- Jun 24, 2009
The Defense Department has issued an acquisition decision memorandum
(ADM) that sets the future direction for Army modernization and that
formally cancels the Future Combat System (FCS) program, the largest of
the Army’s modernization efforts.
The memorandum issued June 23 confirms the recommendations made
earlier this year by Defense Secretary Robert Gates to replace the
single, giant program with a number of smaller modernization efforts.
FCS, particularly the manned combat vehicle portion, did not
reflect the anti-insurgency lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan,
Gates said. The ballooning cost of the program and a contracting
structure that didn’t closely tie fees to performance were also major
One of the new modernization programs includes plans to quickly
spin out the FCS capabilities that have already been developed to seven
David Ahern, director of portfolio systems acquisition in the
Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, told a Senate Armed Services
Committee panel earlier this month that limited user testing will be
conducted this summer on various individual systems — the small
unmanned ground vehicle, the class 1 unmanned air vehicle, unattended
ground sensors and the Non-Line of Sight Launch System — as well as the
network components needed to tie the systems together.
A Milestone C decision to move the systems into production is expected by the end of 2009, he said.
As well as this early infantry brigade acquisition, other
programs so far identified for the new regime include a follow-on
Brigade Combat Team (BCT) modernization, a ground combat vehicle
modernization and an incremental ground tactical network capability.
The follow-on BCT program will expand the delivery of the early
acquisition to remaining Army combat brigades by 2025. An acquisition
plan for that will be presented for review in the fall, Ahern said.
The Army’s Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) has been given
the task of identifying just what the critical issues are for the new
Army modernization approach. It formed a task force to conduct a
comprehensive review of force designs, the overall BCT modernization
plan, network integrated architectures and ground combat vehicle
The resulting modernization strategy will produce “a versatile
mix of BCTs that will leverage mobility, protection, information and
precision fires to conduct effective operations across the spectrum of
conflict,” said Lt. Gen. Michael Vane, director of TRADOC’s Army
Capabilities Integration Center.
Brian Robinson is a freelance technology writer for GCN.