Army modernization bosses: Cut us some slack

Army modernization bosses: Cut us some slack

Two of the Army’s top modernization leaders had a very simple message Friday: We get it. Enough already. We’re doing our best.

“There are a lot of naysayers out there about Army acquisitions … The myth is, Army acquisitions can’t deliver,” said Lt. Gen. Bill Phillips. “The truth is, we deliver for our soldiers. We’ve delivered yesterday, we deliver today and we’ll deliver tomorrow.”

To be clear, Phillips and his colleague, Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo, were genial with the reporters assembled for their roundtable briefing in the Pentagon — everyone was polite. There were no shouting matches. But both leaders clearly want to cast off the stain that still lingers on Army acquisitions, and they argued that part of that involves just giving the service a break.


Cucolo argued that criticizing today’s Army for things that happened in the past is like telling the Army of 1945 “it can’t fight” because of its debacle at the Battle of Buna early in the war. He and Phillips said the service is knuckling down and already seeing good results from changes in the way it does business.

Remember last year’s Army Acquisition Report? Phillips conceded it had a lot of good recommendations, and he said the service expects to implement the 63 it’s adopting by this summer. Officials are confident they don’t need to apply all of 76 them, he argued, including relatively small ones such as changing the name of PEO Soldier to “PEO Soldier and Small Units.”

Remember the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle? Phillips said the Army’s commitment to getting acquisitions right is what saved that program. In the technology development phase, it was looking like JLTV could wind up costing about $500,000 per copy, he said — a deal-breaker. The Army was dealing with a lot of headwinds around town, including opposition up on the Hill, and its Marine Corps partner was eyeing the exits.

Today the latest estimate is that JLTV’s cost has fallen by half, to about $250,000 per vehicle, and the Marines are back in the game.

“They’re in with both feet now,” Phillips said. “That wasn’t true seven months ago. That’s where we’ve taken the greatest strides, but we do have more work to do.”

So the Army wants a fresh start. It doesn’t want every story to mention its disastrous Future Combat Systems; or its Comanche helicopter; or those unmanned ground sensors that caused soldiers to shake their heads. Phillips said Army acquisitions actually has many successes to its credit, including the Stryker — the service is buying 760 new ones with a double-v hull, he said — and the heavy ambush-protected vehicles that have have saved so many lives; and the many weapons and C4ISR upgrades today’s troops enjoy.

He’s right, as far as it goes, but those accomplishments took place when troops were dying and the Army could spend whatever it wanted to get them the armor, vehicles and other gear they needed. The true test for the new Army will be whether it can wind up combat and maintain the kind of  discipline it says it’s now making a priority.

A theoretical post-Afghanistan peacetime Army with plenty of time, if not money, could fall back into its old habits. It could keep adding requirements to its Ground Combat Vehicle because, why not, right? No war going on. Might as well make this baby the dreadnought of the battlefield … so it needs to be amphibious … and wouldn’t it be cool if it could fly itself into the fight? So it needs VTOL capability … and that means air-to-air weapons … and it also means it needs to be stealthy … and so on.

When the Army learns and masters the ability to say “No — this GCV is good enough,” and winds up delivering the vehicles close to their schedule and budget, that’s when people may start to forget Phillips’ “myth” about Army acquisitions.

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We might give them some credit on JLTV if/when they actually come off the assembly line at that price. Until then, it’s just more powerpoint promises.

Is anyone else wondering why there is a horribly Photoshopped picture being used for this article?

I don’t know why you think it’s photoshopped, but I do wonder why Marine helicopters keep ending up in articles about the Army.

To validate JLTV transportability requirements in the technology development phase, helicopters were used as pictured…

Ditto

Sorry the JLTV and GCV are proof that the army is blowing money away the designs are the same as the Bradly and a simple upgraded to M-113 and Bradleys could save live and save money. This is a another General’s pet project and now there patting themselves on the back because some cost went down. This is weak sauce The biggest things is updates save money and can make the same capabilities that other designs have and walla army gets new capability same chassis and saved billions.Same for small arms. Doesn’t matter after sequestration or other cuts that hit because of a sequestration stopping deal hits the Army will have to look to upgrade rather than blow money for crappy EURO designs, that some dimwit Genral likes.

Don’t feed the troll, ignore the post.

“We’re doing our best.”

That makes it very easy — fire the incompetent losers.

So why can’t we do that to politicians?

Stryker was Gen. Shinseki’s pet project. FCS was the darling of big army for two decades. They never learn. Stryker grew and grew to be almost as heavy as the Bradley’s it’s supposed to replace, a C-130 can barely lift unless the slat armor comes off.

GCV is grew into a 70 ton vehicle and that was the troop transport version! At this rate a platoon of GCV’s will weight more than Hitler’s Maus.

JLTV is needed, but the GCV needs to go.

So uhhhh this is pretty stupid or something

Not that we could not a few Super Stallions supporting every deployed Brigade. A very useful aircraft that seems to get very little Kudos from anyone.

CH-47 works great for us.

It used to be said of the Army — this was twenty years ago — that they had a problem with defining requirements. Those were in the days of the Functional Area Analysis and the Concept Based Requirements System. Squeezing costs down does not acquisition success make. If you cannot show that TRADOC is capable of writing credible operational requirements to drive the acquisition process, the system is still broke. I see these guys “fixing” the system by bypassing the system. Just laying out money for non-developmental items does not prove anything — other than Army leadership has gone from short-sighted to just plain blind. “Cut us some slack”, indeed.

Your full of it Joe. Sorry the DoD is wasting money and wont even admit it.

You want the real deal ? Here’s the real deal. The Army is like a molested child that covers up for the perpetrator. Don Rumsfeld goaded the Army into the aggressive transformation path it went on, then his successor pulled the rug out from under them. And now, instead of telling the truth — that they were screwed by OSD and the politicians — again — they go through this mealy mouthed drama. I don’t respect it, and no one with any self-respect should, either. Some people — like you — won’t be satisfied until our glorious Army is “transformed” into a second-rate Third World police force. What a travesty. What an insult to the truth and to reason.

The Decker Wagner report outlined facts, problems and provided recommendations and implementing all of the changes would have been a good first step. Sec Wagner and General Wagner are not some consultants, their knowledge and experience is real. Dismissing some of the recommendations as trivial or with some other shallow excuse shows how difficult real change is. It is not just the money that was wasted, it was the opportunity to replace and field capability. If people accept the buzz word acquisition reform as change they are going to end up with a shallow Army.

The missing shadow of the cables and JLTV which when looked at closely is of lesser quality, almost like a terrible CGI from the history channel, is what hes referring to.

As a part of the system development, the capability of the soldiers to maintain the systems needs to be addressed. What good does it do to develop a system that is so complicated the soldiers cannot keep it operational without having contractors forward with them? We need to concentrate on technology that is mature enough to allow the soldiers to be trained to do the entire maintenance mission, not just swap major modules.

The Army procurement corps is a brigade of clowns. They should fire all the bureaucrat turds in Huntsville and then burn down the place down. That would be the first sign the refromers are “doing their best.”

The point is that these modernization leaders say cooperation with the Marines helped saved the JLTV. Here, the Marines are test-slinging a vehicle both services are eventually supposed to get.

My favorite failure of understanding was when the Army dismissed the recommendation to actually consider risk when comparing acquisition alternatives. The Army’s official response to Decker-Wagner whined that it’s too hard to figure out how risky things are in advance. No, really — you could look it up.

If the Army had a 401(k), it would consist entirely of junk bonds and highly-leveraged derivatives.

It would take all the fun out of running the wealthiest and most powerful country on the planet (at least back when we were).…..

To keep promoting the same people even after program failures should also be a sign of insanity or a at least sign of too much money and not enough leadership. The people who worked these programs listed by FirstDavid are now much higher in the food chain and still making decisions.

Management should be graded as pass fail. Fail should not be promoted but demoted.

Considering that AMC HQ just moved to Huntsville in the latest BRAC move, “the bureaucrats in Huntsville” either haven’t been bureaucrats or haven’t been in Huntsville very long. Lots of lots of the “million civilians” were hired in the BRAC shuffle, and are barely out of career conditional status. Likewise with RDECOM and the various labs around the country. There is a huge resuffle going on in CERDEC.…many of the senior positions are being staffed out by local talent that grew up in different organizations. This is certainly no reason for these people to be cocksure of themselves, but also no reason to blame them for past failures. Too much of the Army’s material development community does not remember the past, because quite frankly, they were not there, and do not know the difference.

So, the Army would like the citizen-taxpayers to cut it a break for lousy acquisition. I would do that if the Army had fired, court-martialed or heavily disciplined any of the people responsible for such debacles as the FCS, or the years-late production of MRAPs, or the late delivery of vehicle and body armor to Iraq. It truly seems that most senior civilian and military officials have a clock that is not timed to soldiers’ needs. They operate at a glacial pace with a surfeit of ready excuses. There is nothing like the speed of WWII procurement. Parking lots are cleared out at five in both Army and contractor offices. This is a disgrace. The Army is a lousy customer and a lousy buyer. But who is looking out for the soldier, eh?

WWII procurment? Why did Marines start the war with bolt action 1903s? When did we find out Shermans were outclassed? Why did it take until 1945 to START fielding the Pershing? What about Korea and the complete lack of effective anti=armor systems? An LT of Task Force Smith hit a N. Korean T34 with TWENTY TWO Bazooka shells with no effect.

You have a point on FCS but the body armor and unarmored HMMWVs is a generated crisis as was MRAPs production. One does not snap one’s fingers and have this stuff appear nor is anyone issued crystal balls reference enemy tactics. As much as many hate to admit it Rumsfeld had something when he said you go to war with the Army you got.

I’m not into getting the cost of these things! For one, can the tires be punctured like those on the streets of NYC and still run .….…. NO! Get with it suppliers! Use some brain power and stop treating us like the uncle sam with unlimited pockets .….….

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