Futures Integration Directorate: Bridging requirements to reality in Army modernization

By Col. Heather ClevengerFebruary 7, 2024

Soldiers from U.S. Army Special Operations Command train with devices connected via the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Secure Handhelds on Assured Resilient networks at the tactical Edge (SHARE) system in preparation for their...
Soldiers from U.S. Army Special Operations Command train with devices connected via the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Secure Handhelds on Assured Resilient networks at the tactical Edge (SHARE) system in preparation for their employment during Project Convergence 22. PC22 is an All-Service and Multinational campaign of learning featuring experiments on hundreds of different technologies and capabilities. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Capt. Alex Werden) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT EUSTIS, Va. — In the heart of the Army's Futures and Concepts Center (FCC), the Futures Integration Directorate (FID) stands as a pivotal force, working seamlessly to shape the future landscape of the United States Army. Mary Hubbard, director of FID, leads the charge in envisioning how the Army will wage war in the coming years, emphasizing the critical role of FID in translating those future capabilities into tangible realities.

"At FCC, we are all about four words: concepts, requirements, experimentation and integration," said Hubbard. "Concepts explain how we are going to fight in the future. Experiments are the tools we use to mature our concepts and materiel solutions. Requirements are specific and detailed expressions of the attributes, functionalities and capabilities a desired materiel solution must possess. Finally, integration is the process of ensuring the proposed solutions succinctly integrate into the Army."

FID plays a central role in this process by focusing on requirements. It achieves this task by conducting and integrating capability and threat-based assessments, reviewing, and prioritizing capability gaps, and maintaining the Army's repository of capability gaps. Moreover, FID leads the quality control, staffing, and processing of materiel solution requirement documents, ensuring they obtain both Army and joint approval.

While FID is the Army's lead for requirements, they can only transform capabilities into material requirements with close collaboration with the Capability Development Integration Divisions (CDIDs). Together, they form the engine of the Army's Capability Developers Community. FID's role in working with CDIDs is pivotal in ensuring a seamless process from identifying capability gaps to delivering effective materiel solutions. By leveraging their proficiencies, FID helps the CDIDs define the Army's future tasks and missions that are challenging to accomplish with the current set of capabilities, forming the basis for future requirements.

"Capabilities, capability gaps and solutions to the gaps — that's the center of gravity of what we do in FID," said Hubbard. "It is essential to define the word 'capability' because it is misused across our community daily in thousands of different ways. Capabilities allow us to accomplish Army tasks or missions to some standard, given some circumstances or conditions."

"Capability results from combining a DOTMLPF-P package with a Soldier or unit," said Larry Larimer, former FID director. "So let me provide an example: an M4 rifle is not a capability. It only becomes a capability when I give it to a Solider, I send that Soldier to the range to train and qualify at a known distance and I put them in an organization that makes sense for them to use that weapon; I give him doctrine how to use it and all the other document DOTMLPF-P elements to employ it fully."

The DOTMLPF-P concept applies to all Department of the Army activities that develop doctrine, organizations, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel, facilities, and policy (DOTMLPF-P) capabilities. This concept informs supporting concepts and the joint capabilities integration and development system process. It supports Army capabilities development processes and functions as a conceptual basis for developing concepts related to the future force within DOTMLPF-P while also supporting Army training and leader Development.

One critical aspect of FID's work is synchronization with resources through the Army program planning and budget execution process. The directorate works through the strategic portfolio analysis review and program objective memorandum processes, ensuring that the material solutions align with the force's needs and are adequately funded.

The directorate plays a crucial role in ensuring that the Army's transition from a single concept to the material solutions that ultimately become the warfighting equipment of the Army's Future Force is seamless. From identifying capability gaps to formulating requirements, integrating solutions and overseeing experimentation, FID stands as a linchpin in the modernization efforts of the United States Army.

As the Army continues its march towards the future, FID remains at the forefront, dedicated to delivering high-quality, integrated requirement documents that propel the Army towards overmatch and success on the battlefield.