By / September 15, 2008

The Army wants to cut millions from legacy systems like the Abrams tank, Bradley Fighting Vehicle and Stryker family of vehicles to add almost $2.7 billion in research and development funds, as well as millions in procurement money, to Future Combat Systems, its premier modernization program.

As Inside the Army first reported last month, the plan marks a path toward a lighter force, prioritizing FCS and associated key technologies at the expense of upgrades to its older platforms (ITA, Aug. 11, p1).

An Aug. 5 briefing presented to the defense acquisition executive and obtained by ITA details the numbers proposed by the service in its version of the POM, now under review by the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Under the Army plan, FCS would receive nearly $2.7 billion above the fiscal year 2009 president's request in research, development, test and evaluation money -- almost $1 billion each in FY-10 and FY-11, the document shows. The program would also be provided about $350 million more in procurement money through FY-13.

However, the majority of that increase -- close to $240 million -- would not arrive until FY-13.

In a section of the briefing listing the rationale behind the increases, the service says "POM10[-]15 adjustments to the FCS Core program include restoration of Congressional budget decrements (FY06-08) which did not result in reduction of [operational requirements documents] requirements but resulted in program schedule slippage without new budget."

To pay for those increases, the service slashes funding for vehicles and for program upgrades. The Abrams tank upgrade program would essentially end under the Army's proposal and, if approved, the termination would lead to the cancellation of a multiyear contract signed in February.

The briefing slides indicate the program would lose close to $1 billion in procurement funding through FY-13 and the number of upgraded tanks purchased through FY-12 would drop to zero.

The Army would still purchase kits, but instead of buying about 30 upgraded tanks per year from FY-09 through FY-12, the document shows, it would buy none. In FY-13, the service would buy 72 upgraded tanks.

In its rationale, the Army says only that, "[f]unding adjustments reflect higher Army priorities."

It adds that it may face liability for the cost of long-lead items purchased by General Dynamics Land Systems, the tank manufacturer.

Additionally, the Stryker program would face a cut of almost $1.3 billion in procurement money through FY-13.

That would reduce the number of vehicles in FY-11 to 90, down from the 236 expected in the president's FY-09 budget; and in FY-12 to 78, down from 193.

"Army decided to slow M113 replacement," the briefing says. "Adjustments also allow for development of Stryker enhancement strategy and fund higher Army priorities."

However, the slides note that the POM would fully fund the Stryker Mobile Gun System and Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Reconnaissance Vehicle requirement as well as all Stryker Brigade Combat Team Modified Table of Organization and Equipment requirements.

"Funding also provides for FOX replacement and fills NBC capability gap . . . within the Army using NBCRVs and [provides] increased RDT&E funding for Stryker enhancement plan," the document explains.

The Army also recommends slashing the Bradley Fighting Vehicle program upgrade, specifically cutting RDT&E by $417 million through FY-13, the briefing slides show.

"The program received procurement and Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) funding in FYs 07 and 08 to accelerate procurement of the Bradley A3 upgrade," the document says. "With over 1,000 vehicles procured with this funding, Bradley Modularity requirements will be met in FY-08, with production and fielding through FY-12."

The Army adds that POM funding "[p]reserves RDT&E investment in situational awareness (SA)."

The POM also cuts and reshuffles Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles money, reducing procurement accounts by about $100 million overall. The briefing shows that money was cut in FY-10 and FY-13 but added in FY-11 and FY-12. Overall, the cuts result in almost 2,900 fewer vehicles through FY-13.

The service attributes the changes to "Senior Leader decisions to fund the future force."

Meanwhile, the briefing says one program, "Mounted Battle Command on the Move," was terminated. The system -- designed to give commanders "the ability to move to the decisive point on the battlefield without losing access to information needed to maintain Situational Awareness (SA), make effective decisions, synchronize employment of the combined arms team, and maneuver forces with precision" -- is no longer needed because the on-the-move communications capability will be provided by the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, the document says (see related story).

The termination eliminates more than $150 million in planned procurement funding through FY-13, the briefing slides show.

"The cancellation of MBCOTM will avoid redundant capability with WIN-T Increments II and III and align the capability with the Future Combat System (FCS) program in FY-14," it adds. "Remaining funding provides sustainment and completes current work efforts." -- Marjorie Censer