Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Military Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



The Case For Future Combat System Funding

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Loren B. Thompson
Arlington, Va. (UPI) Feb 5, 2008
With several of the big networking initiatives begun during Donald Rumsfeld's tenure as defense secretary beginning to implode, many observers are curious why the U.S. Army remains so committed to its Future Combat Systems program.

That vast collection of communication links and next-generation vehicles is the centerpiece of Army modernization, but the service has never found a compelling way of explaining it to outsiders, and the Army traditionally has been more about people than hardware. Why cling to FCS when there are more pressing needs and almost nobody on Capitol Hill seems to understand the program?

The answer to this question can be found not in Army budget documents or doctrinal pronouncements, but in the casualty reports from Iraq. During the first four weeks of the new year, 22 American military personnel have died in action, and 21 of them were soldiers. America's Army is taking a beating in Iraq, not just in terms of the toll in men and material, but also in terms of its reputation for being the world's pre-eminent practitioner of land warfare.

Even now, with the Bush administration's 11th-hour surge of forces in Iraq showing impressive signs of tactical success, the Army seems to be saying that the only way it can get a handle on insurgencies is to greatly outnumber the enemy.

Obviously, that approach wouldn't be feasible in places like Pakistan, where the number of insurgents might be some multiple of what we face today in Iraq. Unless the Army finds a better way of waging war, it could suffer horrendous losses in future wars while still failing to secure national objectives. FCS is the closest thing the service has to a real solution.

The basic logic of FCS can be distilled down to four words: connection, detection, protection and projection. Connection means that every soldier will be continuously linked to all friendly forces in an area, able to see what they see and exploit what capabilities they possess to influence the fight.

Detection means that by leveraging this pervasive network of sensors and communications links, soldiers will be able to uncover and counter enemy movements before they produce tactical consequences.

Protection means that soldiers will be less vulnerable to all forms of attack. And projection means they will be able to reach objectives quickly with the capabilities needed to survive and win.

Although it has always been the goal of soldiers to know where their friends and enemies are on the battlefield, FCS taps into a range of new technologies to provide gains in situational awareness that wouldn't have been possible in the past. And because each soldier shares the knowledge and capabilities of all, the force can generate much greater warfighting leverage without a proportional increase in investment or headcount. That's why the service believes it can remake its approach to warfare while spending only 4 percent of its budget on FCS over the next several decades.

Of course, none of this is a substitute for being able to understand what that fellow with the AK-47 is shouting at you from across the street. Ground combat will never be just about technology. But technology has traditionally been a source of strength for U.S. forces, and 80 percent of the 3,000 operational needs statements generated by soldiers in Iraq relate to capabilities FCS was designed to field.

Critics who doubt the value of robots in fighting insurgents need to realize that U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan are already using 4,000 robots (and 1,000 unmanned aerial vehicles) to very good effect, even before FCS sees combat. So much of what FCS delivers is what soldiers want today -- the Army just needs to tell that story better.

(Loren B. Thompson is chief executive officer of the Lexington Institute, an Arlington, Va.-based think tank that supports democracy and the free market.)

Community
Email This Article
Comment On This Article

Related Links
The latest in Military Technology for the 21st century at SpaceWar.com



Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News


DRS Tech Gets Contract To Supply Marine Corps With Rugged Tablet Computers
Parsippany NJ (SPX) Jul 10, 2007
DRS Technologies has received a $5 million award as part of a previous contract to provide military rugged tablet (MRT) computers and peripheral equipment for the U.S. Marine Corps' Target Location Designation Handoff System (TLDHS) program. DRS received the order from Stauder Technologies in St. Peters, Missouri. For this contract the company's DRS Tactical Systems business unit in Melbourne, Florida, will produce hundreds of the handheld MRT computers and peripheral equipment.







  • Military Matters: Rebuilding states
  • US-China developing better military ties: US admiral
  • India showcases military might
  • Analysis: Taiwan faces better PLA ability

  • Pakistan nuclear weapons vulnerable: US
  • Iran will have nuclear weapon in three years: Mossad
  • Dimona: Israeli desert town and secret nuclear site
  • Analysis: Proliferation program effective?

  • Iran Iran Tests Sounding Rocket And Unveils First Homemade Satellite
  • Raytheon Completes Second Engine Test Of Joint Standoff Weapon Extended Range
  • France And US Sign Agreement For Sale Of Lockheed Martin Hellfire II Missiles
  • Iran Iran Tests Sounding Rocket And Unveils First Homemade Satellite

  • Israelis told to prepare 'rocket rooms' for war
  • US missile shield to 'keep an eye' on Russian weapons: Moscow
  • Japan boosts missile defences in Tokyo
  • US Navy Test Confirms Missile Firing Capability Of Aegis Open Architecture

  • Birds Bats And Insects Hold Secrets For Aerospace Engineers
  • British-designed jet could reach Australia in under five hours
  • Flapping-wing airplanes are envisioned
  • Whale-shaped floating hotel set for flight

  • Northrop Grumman's Global Hawk UAS Surpasses Expectations, Establishes Delivery Record In 2007
  • Iraq War See Widespread Use Of Unmanned Air Vehicles
  • BAE Systems Delivers UAV Target Detection Systems To US Army
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Show Battlefield To Soldiers

  • Bush Requests Half A Trillion Dollars For Next Defense Budget
  • Analysis: Rules stop U.S. entering mosques
  • The CIA operation that should have prevented the Iraq war
  • US mulls slowing Iraq troop drawdown to protect gains

  • DRS Technologies Helping To Build A Better Bradley
  • T-ray Breakthrough Signals Next Generation Of Security Sensors
  • The Case For Future Combat System Funding
  • War Is Not A Video Game FCS Follies Part Two

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2007 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement