Army delays full FCS to 2014

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The Army will start equipping soldiers with Future Combat System (FCS) technologies in 2008, but the service will not deploy the first fully equipped FCS brigade until 2014 — four years behind the original schedule.

Testifying today to the House Armed Services Committee, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker said restructuring the multibillion-dollar FCS program will get certain warfighting capabilities to soldiers faster and give the service a better chance of deploying the first FCS brigade by 2014.

Army officials calculated a 28 percent chance of deploying the first FCS brigade by the original schedule, planned for September 2010, Schoomaker said. The new schedule increases the success probability to 70 percent, he told the committee.

The Army's top officer said the service expects to deploy three of the 18 FCS systems in 2008, another one by 2010, three more in 2012, and all 18 and the computer network that ties them together by 2014. Army officials plan to deploy the second fully equipped FCS brigade in 2015, followed by two more each year thereafter, Schoomaker said.

Army officials will hold a media briefing July 22at the Pentagon to explain the FCS program's restructuring.

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