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Future Combat System (FCS) Program Transitions to Army Brigade Combat Team Modernization

Category: Future Technologies

The Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics issued an acquisition decision memorandum (ADM) today that implements decisions regarding the Future Combat Systems Brigade Combat Team (FCS BCT) program announced by Secretary Robert M. Gates in April. FCS is the Army’s largest modernization program.

In making decisions for the fiscal 2010 FY10 Gates expressed a specific concern that the portion of the FCS program to field new manned combat vehicles did not adequately reflect the lessons of counterinsurgency and close quarters combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was further troubled by the terms of the current single contract covering the whole FCS effort. The restructuring ordered today addresses these issues.

The ADM released today cancels the Future Combat Systems Brigade Combat Team (FCS BCT) program and in its place directs the Army to transition to a modernization plan consisting of a number of separate but integrated acquisition programs to meet the secretary’s objectives. Those integrated programs include one to spin out the initial increment of the FCS program to seven infantry brigades in the near term and additional programs for information and communications networks, unmanned ground and air vehicles and sensors, and an integration effort aimed at follow-on spinouts to all Army brigades. The ADM also terminates the manned ground vehicle portion of the previous FCS program and directs an assessment with the Marine Corps of joint capability gaps for ground combat vehicles. The assessment will inform new requirements for Army ground combat vehicle modernization, leading to the launch of a new acquisition program in 2010.

The termination of the Manned Ground Vehicles portion of the FCS program will negatively impact the Army’s ability to develop the Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon (NLOS-C) independent of the FCS development timeline as required by the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act of 2009. The department is working closely with the Congress to determine the appropriate path forward for the NLOS-C.

The ADM directs the Army to identify the most efficient means to end the manned ground vehicle development effort with the least cost to the taxpayer and to use work already completed in any follow-on ground combat vehicle developmental programs.

The Army’s Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) has established a task force to examine critical issues in Army-wide modernization. This modernization task force will lead a comprehensive review of force designs, the BCT modernization plan, network integrated architectures, and ground combat vehicle operational requirements.

“The BCT modernization strategy will yield 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, Army Capabilities Integration Center, TRADOC.


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