Army wants FCS tech now

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The Army and industry must do everything possible to give Future Combat System capabilities for soldiers fighting terrorism now rather than waiting until 2010 when the service will field the first FCS-equipped unit, an Army general said this week.

"The challenge is to bring forward to the future the technologies that soldiers can use to fight the current war," said Brig Gen. Philip Coker, director of capabilities development in the Futures Center at the Army's Training and Doctrine Command. The one-star general, based at Fort Monroe, Va., spoke March 3 at the Association of United States Army's annual winter conference here.

Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the new Army chief of staff, announced in October that he wanted any system or technology almost ready and planned for FCS given to soldiers currently in the field. FCS is the Army's next-generation fighting force of 18 smaller, lighter, rapid-deployable air and ground manned and robotic vehicles connected by a fast, secure communications network.

But Coker cautioned that economic, operational, tactical and cultural factors could affect the fielding and capability of FCS. He said that the service and industry must keep costs under control so FCS does not become too expensive to field, and that generals stay close to soldiers in combat despite technologies that may let them remain in the command centers.

In May, the Army and the team of Boeing Co. and Science Applications International Corp., the FCS lead systems integrator, will hold an industry day to explain the status of the system and where the program will go. Boeing and SAIC help the service manage the program.

Featured

  • Cybersecurity
    Shutterstock photo id 669226093 By Gorodenkoff

    The disinformation game

    The federal government is poised to bring new tools and strategies to bear in the fight against foreign-backed online disinformation campaigns, but how and when they choose to act could have ramifications on the U.S. political ecosystem.

  • FCW PERSPECTIVES
    sensor network (agsandrew/Shutterstock.com)

    Are agencies really ready for EIS?

    The telecom contract has the potential to reinvent IT infrastructure, but finding the bandwidth to take full advantage could prove difficult.

  • People
    Dave Powner, GAO

    Dave Powner audits the state of federal IT

    The GAO director of information technology issues is leaving government after 16 years. On his way out the door, Dave Powner details how far govtech has come in the past two decades and flags the most critical issues he sees facing federal IT leaders.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.