Army's new modernization plan: IT on a tight budget
Flexibility, integrated programs and cutting-edge technology among top priorities
- By Amber Corrin
- Jul 13, 2011
Like any other government agency, the Army is lookiing to do more with less, a fact reflected in its new Modernization Plan 2012, which takes comprehensive look at how its fiscal 2012 budget will support key priorities such as maintaining a flexible force and meeting full-spectrum needs of modern, multifaceted warfare.
Along with agility, other goals include maximizing resources amid dwindling funds, modernizing the way the Army trains its forces, and the integration of development, operations and portfolios. It also takes a close look at major programs to scrutinize spending.
“In building an agile force, able to quickly respond to change in operational environments and against a variety of possible adversaries, we must make the best possible use of our fiscal resources. No significant capabilities decision will be made without a thorough review of costs, projected benefits and the trade-offs to pay for it,” Lt. Gen. Robert Lennox, Army deputy chief of staff, stated in a memo accompanying the plan.
The plan stresses the need for versatility provided by an Army that is adaptable, expansible and networked, according to the document, which also recognizes the demand for affordability. The equipment fielded to soldiers, and supporting policies, must also be adaptable and anticipatory of future requirements.
The need for full-spectrum capabilities that can tackle both current and future needs is also discussed throughout the modernization plan. According to the plan, the Army aims to meet full-spectrum needs by taking advantage of mature technologies, shortening timelines for developing and fielding equipment, and constantly working to improve and build on existing technologies while divesting those considered obsolete or unnecessary. It also emphasizes an incremental approach to technology development and deployment.
“These technologies should include capabilities for power and energy to enable maneuver and freedom of action and to provide improved operational reach and endurance,” the plan reads.
The plan takes on the Army’s Cold War-era training doctrine by focusing on the Army Force Generation model that matches capabilities to soldier deployment cycles “to provide a steady and predictable supply of trained and ready modular forces,” the plan states.
According to the modernization plan, portfolios will be improved beginning with a collaborative approach to defining requirements and establishing solutions that aligns stakeholders. The integrated portfolios will also include an associated strategy that includes objectives and metrics for measuring success.
The plan identifies seven major programs as critical to success in fiscal 2012, including:
- Joint Tactical Radio System
- Warfighter Information Network-Tactical
- Ground Combat Vehicle
- Distributed Common Ground System-Army
- Joint Battle Command-Platforms
- Paladin Integrated Management
- Kiowa Warrior
The Army hopes its plans for modernization will help bring balance back to a force stressed and worn thin by 10 years of war, the document states.
“For nearly a decade, the Army has been operating at a tremendous pace, and the demand for fully equipped forces has stressed our ability to meet the demand for much of this period. The result was a fully committed Army out-of-balance with little strategic flexibility to respond to other contingencies,” the document reads. “The Army is making significant progress toward balancing the force and with the continued support of Congress, we are on track to meet our goals for restoring balance.”
Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.