By David Vergun, Army News ServiceSeptember 13, 2018
WASHINGTON -- Cross-functional teams, which are part of the new U.S. Army Futures Command, are hard at work to put new capability into the hands of warfighters in the next three to five years, said Gen. John M. Murray.
Murray, commander, U.S. Army Futures Command, testified at a House Armed Services Readiness subcommittee hearing Thursday. He provided three examples of work being done by Futures Command's cross-functional teams.
From a tactical fires perspective, the Army is doing a two-step upgrade to its current Paladin, he said. The M-109A7 is getting a new chassis and an extended-range 58-caliber cannon that will more than double its current striking distance -- and the goal is to extend that even further.
In terms of operational fires, the Army will be testing its new Precision Strike Missile, which will have a range of about 499 kilometers, he said, noting that the current range of operational fires is just 350 km.
As for strategic fires, the Army is investing in hypersonics research, along with experiments on a strategic long-range cannon, which conceivably could go upwards of 1,800 km.
For the near term, the Army is adding cannons and rockets into its formations to provide current needed lethality, he added.
The Army won't produce a new tank within the next two years, but within three to five years, there will be other new capabilities in the hands of the warfighters thanks to the efforts of Futures Command's cross-functional teams, in partnership with industry, academia and warfighter testing, he said.
For decades, it took anywhere from three to five years to develop requirements for weapons systems and another 10 years to field the equipment, Murray said. By that time, the equipment was obsolete.
Futures Command, in cooperation with the acquisition community, plans to bring the requirements time down to 12 months, with commensurate reduction in development time, Murray said.
Under Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy testified that as Army Futures Command settles into its high-tech incubator hubs in Austin, this type of disruptive technology will accelerate even further, both in a reduction of time it takes to go from blueprint and prototype to fielding, as well as shortening the acquisition cycle.
The key, he said, is personal relationships and eliminating stove-piped organizational constraints that slowed the process. Acquisition professionals, program managers, requirements writers, industry and academia experts and warfighter testers will all be in conversations with each other, led by Futures Command with oversight from himself and the vice chief of staff.
As to measuring the success of Army Futures Command, he said the only metric that matters is getting capability to the warfighter in a timely and cost-efficient manner.