The US Army is preparing its FY 2008 – 2013 program objective memorandum (POM), due Aug. 15 to the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Inside Defense reports that the Army is considering a number of possibilities, as the April 2006 fiscal guidance handed down by Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England directed the Army to eliminate $25 billion across the POM including a total of $17 billion from its FY-12 and FY-13 budgets. Cutting the Army by a division, canceling the Future Combat Systems program, and other options are on the table. Inside Defense reports.
“There are a number of compelling aspects of the FCS program, and it is hard to argue with the program’s goals. However, the elements of a sound business case for such an acquisition program – firm requirements, mature technologies, a knowledge-based acquisition strategy, a realistic cost estimate and sufficient funding – are not yet present. FCS began product development prematurely in 2003. Since then, the Army has made several changes to improve its approach for acquiring FCS. Yet, today, the program remains a long way from having the level of knowledge it should have had before starting product development. FCS has all the markers for risks that would be difficult to accept for any single system, much less a complex, multi-system effort. These challenges are even more daunting in the case of FCS not only because there are so many of them but because FCS represents a new concept of operations that is predicated on technological breakthroughs. Thus, technical problems, which accompany immaturity, not only pose traditional risks to cost, schedule, and performance; they pose risks to the new fighting concepts envisioned by the Army.
Many decisions can be anticipated that will involve trade-offs the Government will make in the program. Facts of life, like technologies not working out, reductions in available funds, and changes in performance parameters, must be anticipated. It is important, therefore, that the business arrangements for carrying out the FCS program – primarily in the nature of the development contract and in the lead system integrator (LSI) approach – preserve the government’s ability to adjust course as dictated by these facts of life. At this point, the $8 billion to be spent on the program through fiscal year 2006 is a small portion of the $200 billion total. DOD needs to guard against letting the buildup in investment limit its decision making flexibility as essential knowledge regarding FCS becomes available. As the details of the Army’s new FCS contract are worked out and its relationship with the LSI evolves, it will be important to ensure that the basis for making additional funding commitments is transparent. Accordingly, markers for gauging knowledge must be clear, incentives must be aligned with demonstrating such knowledge, and provisions must be made for the Army to change course if the program progresses differently than planned.”
Maj. Gen. Roger Nadeau, who heads the US Army’s research and development command, told the U.S. Army Winter Show on February 15th that fighting in Iraq is shaping almost every Army spending decision. One of those lessons is that urban warfare is the new baseline, a point that has been by many observers over the last five years. Nadeau challenged industry to come up with new and more innovative ways of thinking: “This is nose-to-nose street fighting; if you can help me fight in this environment, then we will listen to you.” Items on the wish-list include better night-vision devices for soldiers and vehicles, sensors to allow troops to see through walls and buildings, active protection systems for vehicles that work in short-range urban environments, and even an improved bunker-busting type weapon to allow soldiers to breach walls (q.v. Britain’s recent buy).
“If [FCS] were here in its entirety today, how would the soldier’s life in that city be better? If we can’t answer that, we’re probably going down the wrong path and we need to make some modifications.”
Earlier this month, DID covered changes in the USA military’s organizational structure around UAVs. A Joint UAV Center of Excellence is being established at Creech Air Force Base, NV, concentrating on UAV-systems technology, joint concepts, training, tactics, and procedural solutions to the warfighters’ needs across all services.
The U.S. Army Aviation Center at Fort Rucker, AL has now been designated as the new U.S. Army Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Center of Excellence, to serve an integrating hub for all 12 Army installations which currently have a UAV component. This will also create one Army voice to be able to represent UAVs at headquarters, to the joint centers of excellence, and to the joint structure.
A number of different U.S. military organizations have recently issued recruiting-related contracts, including a $250 million advertising & publicity contract for the U.S. Army, up to $200 million for various National Guard related services, and up to $35.1 million in materials for Navy Recruiting Command.
The U.S. Army and especially the National Guard have recently had issues meeting recruiting goals as the regular force size rises, and the prime cohort for National Guard enlistment sees more of a stark choice between re-enlistment in the regular force and service abroad vs. exit from the service.
The U.S. Army is heeding lessons learned from corporate America by building data centers to consolidate local enterprise application servers now running at hundreds of Army bases nationwide. The plan, announced earlier this month at an Army IT conference, will start later this year with an effort over 12 to 18 months to create two data centers, each hooked up to four bases. Over the next four years, all application servers running at all U.S. bases will be networked together in up to six data centers.
Stewart & Stevenson Tactical Vehicle System LP in Sealy, TX received a $79 million modification to a cost-reimbursement and firm-fixed-price contract for Family of Medium Tactical Vehicle Trucks. Work will be performed in Sealy, TX and is expected to be complete by Nov. 15, 2008. There were two bids solicited on Aug. 15, 2002, and two bids were received. The U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command in Warren, MI issued the contract (DAAE07-03-C-S023).
We’ve certainly covered a lot of FMTV-related contracts. Basically, the U.S. Army is buying an awful lot of high end, objects-of-drooling-longing from-truck-aficionado type vehicles to replace the mainstay of its land transport fleet. Our ongoing coverage of these modifications is meant to accurately reflect the ongoing nature and priority of the contracts.
In the wake of the U.S. Secretary of Defense’s FY 2006 budget requests for $419 billion after making a number of significant program cuts, the U.S. House of Representatives (Congress) passed H.R.1815, a $441 billion defense budget for FY 2006. The legislation passed on a 390-39 vote, but the budget will not be final until the U.S. Senate passes its own bill after June 6; the two bills must then be reconciled in committee before the U.S. President can sign a final budget.
Highlights of the Congressional Pentagon budget include:
Innovative Concepts Inc. in McLean, VA, who was recently acquired by Herley Industries received an $8.5 million modification to a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for Software Upgrade of the Improved Data Modem (IDM).
The IDM plays a key role in the U.S. Army’s “Digitization of the Battlefield” efforts. The IDM V304 IDM is the hardware system of choice to support all Army Aviation systems. It provides communications, routing and gateway functionality to support communications and data over the Combat Net Radio System, the U.S. Army’s Fire Support Net and the Tactical Internet. The latest versions allow communications support for both air and ground forces, and support Army, Marines, and Air Force operations.
The Army Small Computer Program spent $5 million to purchase 5,000 licenses of ProSight Portfolios and ProSight Fast Track software on April 21, 2005, in order to help implement project portfolio management servicewide. ProSight is compatible with Microsoft Project.
Army Chief Information Officer Lt. Gen. Steve Boutelle said he believes the products will help better track the service’s 4,500 systems and better spend its annual IT budget ($6.1 billion requested for FY 2006), becoming the U.S. Army’s system of record for IT investments and systems and helping the service identify inefficient or redundant IT systems or investments.