FCS – BECOMING A SYSTEMS SOLUTION?
By Julian Nettlefold, Editor BATTLESPACE
Major General Cartwright Program Manager, Future Combat Systems (FCS) Brigade Combat Team (BCT), Brigadier General James Terry, Director Future Forces Integration Division, Army Capabilities Integration Center, Dennis Muilenburg Program Manager FCS of Boeing and Dan Zinini, Deputy Program Manager FCS, gave the FCS Quarterly Media Update during AUSA.
Major General Cartwright assumed his current duties as Program Manager, Future Combat Systems (FCS) Brigade Combat Team (BCT) on 28 June 2004. MG Cartwright directly reports to the Military Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology)
Prior to MG Cartwright’s position as Program Manager, FCS BCT, he served as the first Deputy Commanding General for Systems of Systems Integration, United States Research, Development, and Engineering Command in October 2002. In this position he was the principal architect in redesigning the Army’s research, development, and engineering laboratories and centers into a more collaborative virtual organization; supporting both current operational forces and future Army science and technology requirements.
The briefing was conducted under the cloud of continued debate of the Program slipping or being cut to accommodate the huge MRAP Requirement for over 15000 vehicles.
It was announced in February that FCS had been restructured as part of a “balancing act” between equipping the current force and modernizing the future force, a top Army acquisition official said yesterday.
Under the restructuring, four of the 18 systems in the program were deferred, and the fielding rate for the system’s brigade combat teams was stretched out over five more years. The changes to the FCS program will eliminate $3.4bn from its budget over the next five fiscal years, Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sorenson, deputy for acquisition and systems management, told Pentagon reporters.
The FCS was designed as a “family” of 18 individual systems, plus the network and the soldier – referred to as 18+1+1. The systems are a variety of manned and unmanned vehicles, sensors, launch systems and unmanned aerial vehicles. All are connected by a common network with the Soldier. With four of the systems deferred, the system is now 14+1+1.
None of the program adjustments compromise the systems’ capabilities, he said.
“Clearly we’ve had to go through a very difficult period here in terms of making sure we can modernize as well as support the current operations and the current force,” Sorenson said.
“It was a balancing act with respect to funding priorities in modernization as well as making sure the current force is taken care of,” he said.
Most significantly, the changes call for stretching the fielding of the 15 FCS brigade combat teams from over a 10-year period to 15 years. The fielding for the first is slated for fiscal 2015. This will reduce costs by roughly $700m.
Two of the four classes of unmanned aerial vehicles in the program were deferred after a study concluded that there wasn’t an immediate need. But, additional funds were redirected in the program to buy more of the two remaining classes of UAVs whose prototypes have been successful in Iraq, officials said.
The heavy armed robotic vehicle system was deferred to later in the program, but the numbers of some lighter robotic versions were increased.
Also, the intelligent munitions system, an armed sensor that allows troops to control an area without a physical troop presence, was separated from the program. The Army will not buy any more than what is currently under contract to produce. But, again, the numbers of other sensors in the program were increased.
Besides reducing costs, the changes will deliver future technologies into the hands of troops in the fight quicker, Sorenson said.
But, it is worth repeating the words of Lt. Gen. Stephen Speakes reported by