Information Papers

Future Combat System FY08 Program Adjustments

What is it? 
The Army’s Future Combat System (FCS) is a Joint system-of-systems 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? 
FCS is the Army’s first major modernization effort in nearly four decades. It is the embodiment of the modular force, a modular system designed for “full-spectrum” operations. It will network existing systems, systems already under development, and systems to be developed to meet the requirements of the Army’s future force. FCS is adaptable to traditional warfare as well as complex, irregular warfare in urban terrains, mixed terrains (deserts and plains), and restrictive terrains (mountains and jungles). It can also be adapted to civil support, such as disaster relief. FCS is the number one priority acquisition program for the Army.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
The adjustment to the FCS program is driven entirely by the fiscal realities of today’s budget environment. (The program itself is on cost and on schedule, and it is performing as expected.)  Over the past three years, the program has sustained $825 million in Congressional decrements.  In addition, the Army is being challenged to meet all its reset and modernization requirements in the FY08 budget.  As a result, the Army has decided to adjust the number of platforms it plans to develop and buy within the FCS family of systems, as well as the timeline for buying and fielding these platforms.  A summary of the major changes can be found in Appendix 1.
Although the adjustment constitutes a major program change, delays the fielding of FCS to the force, and challenges the Army to meet every one of its future operational requirements (a detailed operational impact analysis has not been completed), the foundation of the Army’s future force remains intact.  Fifteen fully integrated ‘Core’ FCS brigade combat teams, a fully developed FCS battle command network, and accelerated ‘Spin-Out’ technologies have been provided to the Army.  The adjustment also aligns the development of ‘Core’ and ‘Spin-Out’ capabilities better so that the Army can benefit from the savings realized with concurrent testing. 
Development and fielding of the mid-range munition and advanced kinetic energy munitions—both critical to future force lethality—remain intact.

The adjustment reduces the cost of a single Core FCS brigade combat team from $6.2 to $5.9 billion.  The Army will save more than $3.3 billion over the program objective memorandum estimates for the time period FY08 to FY13.

Why is this important to the Army? 

The Army is striving to find a balance between three competing priorities:  budget constraints, the demands of war, and the need to modernize the force.  The adjustment to the FCS program strikes this balance.  While entirely budget-driven, it leaves the FCS program mostly intact, yet still fully funded as noted in the program objective memorandum for FY08 to FY13.  It also minimizes developmental risk where possible and gets FCS technologies into the hands of troops sooner rather than later.  FCS is the Army’s only major modernization program left (160 Army systems have been ‘terminated’ over the past decade to pave the way for FCS); it is critical to the Army’s future force strategy and the Army’s continued relevance on the 21st century battlefield. 

Appendix 1—Summary of Major Changes to the FCS Program in FY08