Task Force 120: Capability Packages

Friday July 31, 2009

What is it?

Capability Packages are a key element of the Army's transition to a brigade combat team (BCT) modernization strategy to build a versatile mix of mobile, networked and combat effective BCTs. Following the Defense Secretary's guidance to accelerate proven solutions, these packages will upgrade our units every few years so the best capabilities available at that time go to the Soldiers who need them most, based on the continually evolving combat environment. These bundles of capabilities include doctrine, organization and training in conjunction with materiel to fill the highest priority shortfalls and mitigate risk for Soldiers. The incremental deliveries will build upon one another as the Army continually adapts and modernizes.

What is the Army doing?

The Army Evaluation Task Force (AETF) at Fort Bliss, Texas, continues to perform its enduring mission to evaluate future capabilities. The AETF is currently evaluating systems that will serve as part of the initial capability package. As the operational environment evolves and new capabilities are available, the AETF will evaluate and prioritize future capability packages with hands-on assessments by combat veterans in realistic operational settings.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?

The early infantry brigade combat team (EIBCT) package will serve as the baseline for the first capability package. EIBCT equipment provides enhanced situational awareness, force protection, and lethality through the use of unattended and attended sensors and munitions. In addition, the Soldier is provided improved communications and data sharing through the network integration kit (NIK) for vehicles. Ongoing Army analysis will identify capabilities that are of value to the BCT, ready and affordable to build upon the baseline for the first capability package.

Why is this important to the Army?

The United States will confront complex, dynamic and unanticipated challenges to our national security. Our Army must continue the holistic adaptation of our force. Capability packages provide the Army a regular process to strengthen our units with the latest materiel and non-materiel solutions to the evolving challenges of the operating environment. This allows the Army to get the capabilities in highest demand to the Soldiers that need them, when they need them most.

By fielding capabilities in alignment with the way BCTs are structured and trained, the Army is ensuring that our Soldiers have the right capabilities to fight effectively as a system in the environments they are facing.

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"The security challenges we now face, and will in the future, have changed, and our thinking must likewise change. The old paradigm of looking at potential conflict as either regular or irregular war, conventional or unconventional, high end or low – is no longer relevant. And as a result, the Defense Department needs to think about and prepare for war in a profoundly different way than what we have been accustomed to throughout the better part of the last century.

What is needed is a portfolio of military capabilities with maximum versatility across the widest possible spectrum of conflict."

- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Economic Club of Chicago, 16 July 09

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