U.S. ARMY’S 2014 MODERNIZATION PLAN PRIORITIZES SOLDIERS IN FIGHT
By David Vergun
29 May 13. The U.S. Army’s fiscal year 2014 Equipment Modernization Plan, now working its way through Congress, prioritizes equipping warfighters in Afghanistan while simultaneously preparing for an uncertain future.
Programs in the modernization strategy are grouped within ten “portfolios,” but some of those programs the Army has called out as being priorities for the service.
Several programs that make up the Army network have been included as priorities in the plan. Among those are the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, at $1.3bn; the Family of Networked Tactical Radios, at $402.1m; the Joint Battle Command-Platform, at $110.6m; the Distributed Common Ground System-Army, at $295m; and the Nett Warrior system, at $122.6m.
Among combat vehicles, the Army has prioritized the Ground Combat Vehicle program, at $592m; the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle, at $116m; and the Paladin Integrated Management system, at $340.8m.
Additionally, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle is a priority for the service, at $84.2m; as is the Kiowa Warrior, at $257.8m.
A complete breakdown of the Army’s equipment modernization plan for fiscal year 2014, including cost and what is being purchased, can be found at www.g8.army.mil.
THREE FOCAL POINTS
In advance of plan development, Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odierno laid out three priorities to use as guidelines, said Brig. Gen. John G. Ferrari, director, joint and futures, Army G-8. He is one of the architects responsible for assembling the plan.
First among those priorities was a focus on the Soldier and squad, Ferrari said. Developers of the Army’s modernization strategy were told to ensure that as budgets come down, Soldiers will continue to be provided with advances in lethality and protection, then build outward from there.
The second priority, he said, is to enable mission command. He said that means providing viable and robust communications network capacity so Soldiers at the small-unit level can operate with “intent, guidance and mission,” he said. With such a network, Soldiers will be able to pull the information they need to innovate and solve the problems and tasks they’re given.
The third priority, he said, was to “always remember, we’re the U.S. Army and we have to remain prepared for decisive action, to fight and win in a large conflict, because that’s what the Army’s all about.”
THE MODERNIZATION PLAN
Ferrari said having a modernization plan doesn’t necessarily mean funding is guaranteed, or that Congress won’t make changes.
There’s a lot of uncertainty, he said, not only about funding for future
equipment, but even with paying for programs the Army is trying to execute today.
Because of the budget control act and sequestration, the Army still doesn’t know how much money it has to purchase equipment in fiscal year 2013, much less fiscal year 2014. This creates a ripple effect in purchasing, he said, causing a backlog of things that need to be purchased.
However, he pointed out that Congress is performing its constitutional duty to fund the Army and that process must be respected. He said Army leaders remain in close consultation with lawmakers regarding the process. So how does the Army make its purchasing recommendations?
The Army takes a three-pronged approach to its equipment acquisition strategy, Ferrari said, including consideration of the strategic environment, a staggered procurement approach and smarter investing.
First, the strategy takes into account the current and future strategic environment, Ferrari said. That includes equipment needed as troops leave Afghanistan and what becomes of that equipment once they’re out.
The strategy also includes the shift to the Pacific and regional alignments. The president’s National Security Strategy, the Defense Department, the secretary of the Army