Ten days after a damning Congressional report, the Army is beginning to scale back its sweeping, $92 billion modernization plans, Defense News reports.The Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) project was supposed to replace the lumbering, heavily armored tanks and personnel carriers of the Cold War with lighter, more maneuverable vehicles. Now, the M1 tank and Bradley fighting vehicles will be around for more than two decades, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker tells Defense News."The current force we have today, the heavy force, for instance, is still going to be in this Army out to 2030 M1 tanks, Bradleys and all the rest of them," Schoomaker said. "The FCS, as we design that, we know the kinds of capabilities that we want resident in that force out there in the future. And the challenge is to balance that future with the current readiness thats required to perform.
Meanwhile, the 19-ton Stryker armored vehicle, designed as a bridge to ultimate transformation goals and now deployed to Iraq, has shed its interim moniker and is critical to the current force and to the development of FCS, Schoomaker said."Its a near inevitability that the Army of tomorrow is going to be largely equipped with the technology of today," said Loren Thompson, a defense analyst at the Lexington Institute, a Washington think tank. "The service is short on money and it is also short on vision in terms of what it is replacing existing equipment with."Senior program officials from the Boeing and SAIC-led lead system integrator industry team met last week in Phoenix for a semi-annual "state of the union" meeting on FCS, said a program spokeswoman.But a top item on that meetings agenda was "damage control," with the goal of shielding FCS from program delays and budget cuts, according to a source. (emphasis mine)THERE'S MORE: It gets worse. Consulting firm CommerceBasix got "the cold shoulder from Army acquisition officials for doing exactly what it was hired to do provide critical due-diligence analysis of the Armys $14.8 billion contract with Boeing to develop the net-centric Future Combat Systems," Eric Miller writes in a Defense News op-ed.
The honchos at Alexandria, Va.-based CommerceBasix were not aware that one of the quickest ways to get in trouble at the Pentagon is to tell the truth... The firm also rather bluntly advised the Army that it needed to rework the FCS contract because it lacked the necessary provisions to protect the Army and the taxpayers from $1 billion worth of risk. The Army signed the contract anyway.