October 10, 2018

Inflection point: Army wrestles to strike balance between current and future capability

Featuring Susanna V. Blume

Source: The Army Times

Journalist Jen Judson

The Army is at an inflection point. It’s a statement its top leaders have acknowledged countless times in recent months as they have made the case to begin major investment in future capability.

But to bring online state-of-the-art technology and weapons and equipment that will maintain overmatch against peer adversaries like Russia and China, the Army will need money. Lots of money.

And that means, at some point soon, the Army will have to make difficult decisions on how long legacy weapon systems and planned upgrades for those capabilities can — or should — carry the service into the future.

It is Army Secretary Mark Esper and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley’s goal and mandate to have a fully modernized Army that aligns with the service’s multidomain operations doctrine by 2028.

It logically follows that to get there, much has to happen in the 10 years between now and then.

The Army wants longer-range fires, new combat vehicles and tanks, two new helicopters, highly capable autonomous vehicles and aircraft, a robust and resilient network tying together everything on the battlefield, a layered and more advanced air-and-missile defense capability and more lethal systems for warfighters.

These capabilities all fall under the Army’s top six modernization priorities, which the service laid out a year ago in an overarching modernization strategy.

The Army then stood up Army Futures Command — a new four-star command — that will focus on rapidly bringing online modernized equipment and weapons that fit under the top six priorities. And it put a general officer in charge of a cross-functional team for each priority to advance prototypes and technology development.

Each CFT has since laid out ambitious plans to put prototypes and other capabilities quickly into the hands of soldiers within just a few years, with plans to ramp up production and further fielding as the Army refines capabilities from soldier input, concept development and new technology.

Read the full article and more at the Army Times.

  • Susanna V. Blume

    Senior Fellow, Defense Program

    Susanna Blume is a Senior Fellow in the Defense Program at the Center for a New American Security. Her research areas include the Defense program and budget, defense posture a...