Army Evaluation Task Force (AETF)
What is it?
The 5th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division (AETF) is located at Fort Bliss, Texas, and supports the evaluation of Future Combat Systems (FCS) technologies for both the current and future force. Under the Future Force Integration Directorate (FFID), the AETF is currently task organized as a Heavy Brigade Combat Team whose mission is to incorporate all FCS technologies and capabilities in order to create the Army’s first FCS Brigade and support the completion of all program development and test requirements. The Army’s FCS is a Joint system-of-systems program, centered on the Soldier, consisting of a network and a combination of manned and unmanned systems that use advanced network architecture to enable levels of Joint connectivity, situational awareness and understanding, and synchronized operations previously unachievable. It is designed to interact with and enhance the Army’s most valuable weapon—the Soldier. When fully operational, FCS will provide the Army and the Joint Force with unprecedented capability to see the enemy, engage him on our terms, and defeat him on the 21st century battlefield.
What has the Army done?
The Brigade has received its compliment of equipment and conducted HBCT New Equipment Fielding (NEF), completed baseline HBCT New Equipment Training (NET), and completed all current force training requirements. The unit is fully trained in current force HBCT doctrine, tactics, techniques, and procedures. The unit has already begun the transition toward FCS-specific training on various technologies in preparation for the first test event, Spin Out 1 (SO1). The AETF has completed the SO1 Technical Field Test, Force Development Test and Evaluation and Preliminary Limited User Test (P-LUT). The P-LUT supports the Army by evaluating the accelerated delivery of the Class I, Block 0 Unmanned Aerial System (CL1 UAS) and the Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV) to the current force, in addition to Networked Battle Command (B-Kits), Urban-Unmanned Ground Sensors (U-UGS), Tactical-Unmanned Ground Sensors (T-UGS), and the Non-Line of Sight Launch System (NLOS-LS) as part of the original SO1 suite of technologies. The accelerated evaluation of the CL1 UAS and SUGV is intended to reduce operational risk of the current force, prior to fielding the first FCS BCT.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
AETF supports the FFID and the Army by providing an adaptive and flexible task organization capable of supporting the acceleration of select FCS capabilities to the current force. During FY09 the AETF will begin a transformation from exclusively a HBCT task organization into a Hybrid Brigade task organization consisting of both light and heavy components. The Hybrid Brigade task organization consisting of Infantry and Armor capabilities will support the Army’s decision to Spin Out FCS technologies to those most vulnerable in meeting today’s emerging security challenges, the Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT). During this transformation the AETF will take possession, test, and evaluate the current Land Warrior (LW) system and the Rifleman Radio (RR), as well as retain the capability to support the testing and evaluation of all SO1 systems: B-kits, U-UGS, T-UGS, NLOS-LS, CL1 UAS, and the SUGV. The testing and evaluation will culminate in a Limited User Test conducted 4th Quarter FY09 based on the IBCT task organization.
Why is this important to the Army?
The AETF enables the Army to thoroughly evaluate materiel and develop tactics, techniques, and procedures, as well as the means to train and develop leaders, which will maximize the program's value to not just the Army, but to combatant commanders who will employ these combat formations. It will help the Army "get it right the first time" with FCS by identifying any potential flaws or improvements earlier in the production process so the Army can rapidly deliver the best equipment for our Soldiers. The AETF will allow the Army to integrate and field the enablers for achieving technology and training superiority, which are the necessary ingredients to future operational success. FCS is the Army’s most important modernization effort. Together, the FFID and the AETF will conduct extensive training, testing and evaluation of FCS Spin Out and Core program technologies in order to rapidly integrate approved technologies into the current Modular Force and set conditions for the future Modular Force.