House appropriators call out lack of ABMS execution plan

By Sara Sirota  
May 20, 2019 at 4:13 PM

House appropriators are recommending cutting $10 million from the Air Force's Advanced Battle Management System because they say the program lacks a "clear execution plan."

If their draft of the fiscal year 2020 defense spending bill is passed, it would cut nearly 30% of the $36 million the service requested for ABMS in its proposed budget.

The FY-20 funding is intended to support major tasks overseen by the program's lead architect, according to justification books submitted to Congress with the Air Force's FY-20 budget request. These tasks include sensor development, prototyping and risk reduction, architecture analysis, development and management of open architecture standards, Phase 1 and Phase 2 bridge capabilities and Phase 3 development.

On May 2, Michael Sullivan, director of defense weapon system acquisitions at the Government Accountability Office, warned lawmakers about ABMS, saying the program "is in the early stages of planning. The capabilities and the strategy to deliver those capabilities are still to be determined."

He also stated Air Combat Command is expected to complete an analysis of alternatives this summer, during which the Air Force anticipates fully defining ABMS, according to his written testimony, prepared for a hearing before the House Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee.

ABMS will provide command and control and surveillance capabilities with an integrated network of sensors and enhancements to the Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System, Airborne Early Warning and Control System and Control and Reporting Center. It replaces the JSTARS recapitalization effort, which the Pentagon abandoned last year.