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Military

New technology on the horizon for Army

by Karen Roberts

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, March 12, 2002) -- The Lead Systems Integration contract to Boeing and the Science Applications International Corporation will increase the speed of realizing a future Objective Force with Future Combat Systems by 2010, according to Army officials.

Army and BSAIC officials met with media March 8 to explain the new contract.

"The real winner is the soldier" and while "I represent the technology branch . . . I really work for the soldier, " stated Claude M. Bolton, assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology

The partnership will help to accelerate the pace to achieve the Army's Transformation by 2010. FCS will give our soldier's an overwhelming advantage, explained Bolton. The soldier will be at a higher readiness state because of enhancements the contract will create.

The Lead System Integrator approach was chosen because we need to speed up the process of transforming the Army, said Bolton. The specific technological challenges are developing a networked system of systems, but soldier will be the centerpiece and they will have the capability to know what's around them, he said.

Our challenge is to come up with a way to get that to the soldier without overloading them, said Lt. Gen. John Riggs, director of the Objective Force Task Force.

"Transformation is defined because of our action," said Riggs. It is a fundamental army change and this will change the Army like nothing has for the last 100 years, Riggs said.

"There will be ... a revolution in terms of how the Army will look in 2010," said Bolden. Technology breakthroughs are going to be significant but we don't know which technologies will be used yet, said Bolton.

The Army will have a lighter, faster and more lethal Army by 2010, said Bolton. The Army will be able to put a brigade on the ground in 72 hours and a division in 96 hours, he said.

In the beginning, the Army will look at existing forces -- the Legacy Force -- through the Interim Force and into the Objective Force. We have to synchronize all of the components together with the main focus on the Objective Force, said Bolton.

We are changing the way we engage the forces, said Brig. Gen. Donald F. Schenk, program manager, Future Combat Systems. You have to be able to deploy from the continental United States and engage other forces around the world, he said.

Bolton said he was open to international involvement in the programs as they progress. He doesn't know if will be just technology or like the Joint Strike Fighter, and he said the allies he has spoken with are also in favor working together.

Comanche is restructuring to be the first "system" to fit in, said Bolton.

Bolton equated this project to the Manhattan and Apollo projects from decades past. With those projects, they knew what they wanted to do, but didn't know how they were going to get there, said Bolton and that is where the Army is on this project.

The soldier's are always going to be there throughout the creation of new programs and when they go into use, said Riggs.

FCS is an Army networked system of systems that serves as the core building block within all Objective Force maneuver units of action to enhance advanced joint and coalition warfighting capabilities to provide options for decisive victory to our Nation," said Riggs.

The promise is to add to our capabilities as they mature so it can be done in an almost routine manner, Riggs said. The technology is to be built in such a way as to evolve as technology does in an open architecture so it doesn't have to go through the disruptive steps to change, he said.

Boeing's role is to bring all of the systems together so they will be inter-operable, said Col. William Johnson, program manager, Future Combat Systems and Army project manager, Objective Force. The architecture focuses on informing the soldiers and synchronizing the entire US Army around the Objective Force, he said.

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