Army Warns Future Capabilities Impaired If Cuts Hold For FCS

Army Warns Future Capabilities Impaired If Cuts Hold For FCS
May 16th, 2007  
Team Infidel

Topic: Army Warns Future Capabilities Impaired If Cuts Hold For FCS

Army Warns Future Capabilities Impaired If Cuts Hold For FCS
Defense Daily
May 16, 2007
By Ann Roosevelt
The Army is battling to make its future plans clear in the face of a proposed $867 million in congressional cuts to its top priority modernization program, the Future Combat System (FCS), a top service official said.
"The reason we're concerned is, that we think FCS represents our best investment of soldiers both tomorrow and the day after tomorrow," Lt. Gen. Stephen Speakes, deputy chief of staff, G-8, said at a Pentagon roundtable yesterday.
"We don't want to be a part of the repeat of what we've seen all too often in Army history, which is critical choices made for very, very isolated, momentary concerns end up terminating the future of critical Army capabilities just when we're on the eve of bringing them to the field," he said.
Should the cuts to the $3.7 billion requested in FY '08 for FCS be sustained, Speakes said system engineering, the heart of FCS would be affected, and programs like the manned ground vehicles would be terminated.
The cuts recommended in the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) propose a $600 million reduction to the $1.6 billion request for system of system engineering that ensures all the systems are integrated and can operate together.
"Engineering is an intangible," Speakes said. "It gives you capability, but you can't see it and touch it."
FCS lead system integrator Boeing [BA] and SAIC [SAI] are responsible for producing the integrated central design that knits together all the disparate pieces: weapons, robotics, platforms, and sensors with a network connecting to soldiers.
"At this point, the [FCS] program is on track. We have been able to manage success. We've met our performance standards and we're on the eve of some really great developments," he said.
The Army bottom line: "What we're trying to do is enable soldiers with capabilities that give them reach and protection and the ability to see and sense the world and shape events so their lives are not at risk," Speakes said.
Another proposed cut would effectively terminate the manned ground vehicles, such as the future tank, infantry carrier and medical vehicle, he said. "We will be doomed to spend the next 20 to 30 years with the existing combat platforms that we have today."
The tank and Bradley were designed in the 1970s.
"Can you imagine operating the tank and Bradley indefinitely? You're talking about three gallons per mile," he said.
"What we've said is that's a legacy we don't want for the future," he added. "What we want is a central hull that's 80 percent common."
That reverberates into common parts, tools, skills, while today's Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles have few commonalities.
Because the proposed reductions target specific areas, the Army would have to redesign FCS, causing a pause of some years, and some programs and people will never come back, he said.
The Army must invest in the future, he said, countering those who say with the military at war the service should delay or defer future investment. "We regard that as absolutely wrong."
"Right now, 3.6 percent of the Army's budget is in FCS," Speakes said.
The proposed cuts are about equal to the amount taken from FCS in each of the past three years.

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