Future Combat Systems is a key program in the Army's modernization efforts. FCS consists of a family of manned and unmanned air and ground systems and sensors, all connected to a common network. FCS is specifically designed to improve Soldiers situational awareness, protection and lethality while putting new capabilities into Soldiers' hands as soon as the technology is ready.
The Army's FCS (BCT) Network enables the FCS (BCT) Family-of-Systems (FoS) to operate as a cohesive system-of-systems where the whole of its capabilities is greater than the sum of its parts. As the key to the Army's transformation, the network and its logistics and Embedded Training (ET) systems, enable the Army to employ revolutionary operational and organizational concepts. The network enables Soldiers to perceive, comprehend, shape, and dominate the future battlefield at unprecedented levels as defined by the FCS (BCT) Operational Requirements Document (ORD).
The FCS (BCT) network consists of five layers that when combined provides seamless delivery of data:
- Services [System-of-Systems Common Operating Environment (SOSCOE)]
- Sensors and Platforms
The FCS (BCT) network possesses the adaptability and management functionality required to maintain pertinent services, while the FCS (BCT) fights on a rapidly shifting battlespace giving them the advantage to see first, understand first, act first, and finish decisively. The five layers synergistically interact enabling the Future Force to see first, understand first, act first and finish decisively.
One challenge is figuring out how to manage the development of the more than 1 billion lines of software code that FCS will need, he said. In 2004 Claude Bolton, assistant secretary of the Army for acquisitions, logistics and technology commissioned Carnegie Mellon University to study the issue. The school completed a report describing Ultra-Large-Scale systems, which are designed to support massive amounts of code.
U.S. Army's Future Combat Systems program announced 02 November 2007 continued support for the U.S. Air Force's Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment (JEFX) 2008. JEFX is a series of Joint Service experiments, headed by the Air Force's Global Cyberspace Integration Center, focusing on collaboration and connectivity across the strategic, operational and tactical levels to plan and execute global strike and other military operations.
U.S. Army FCS provided the ground maneuver (brigade and below) network portion of JEFX. This marked an important step in Joint service collaboration. The JEFX provided one of the first opportunities to test the functionality and applicability of FCS Spin Out network technologies in a realistic Joint warfighting environment. It also evaluated FCS core program network systems maturity in a Joint operating scenario.
The FCS initiatives planned for JEFX 08 built upon previous FCS participation in a JEFX experiment in 2006. The 2006 event primarily involved dissemination of situational awareness and support to time-sensitive targeting. Since development of the FCS network has matured on schedule, the FCS initiative for JEFX 08 were improved network integration and joint interoperability.
FCS participated in all four JEFX 08 events, cumulating in an April 2008 joint call for fires field demonstration with full joint connectivity and situational awareness in an operational scenario. This experiment was only the beginning of FCS involvement in JEFX 08. Over the next several months as experiment events unfold FCS looked forward to deploying its most mature software to date - the System of Systems Common Operating Environment and Battle Command Build 1 Final. FCS Network will also utilize prototype hardware, waveforms and platforms.
FCS program objectives for JEFX include: joint network integration, demonstration of Joint Interoperability and Spin Out 1 interoperability, demonstration of assured Global Information Grid connectivity, establishment of a capability for evolving Enterprise Services and achievement of shared situational awareness and understanding across the services.
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