"Between 1995 and 2009, $32 billion was expended on programs such as the Future Combat System (2003-2009), with no harvestable content by the time of its cancellation. The Army has not fielded a new combat system in decades.
Secretary of the Army Mark Esper has remarked that AFC will provide the unity of command and purpose needed to reduce the requirements definition phase from 60 months to 12 months. A simple statement of a problem (rather than a full-blown requirements definition) that the Army is trying to address may suffice for a surprising, usable solution. —General Mike Murray, paraphrasing Trae Stephens:minute 41:50 (One task will be to quantify the lead time for identifying a requirement; the next task would then be to learn how to reduce that lead time.—Gap analysis ):minute 11:00 Process changes are expected. The development process will be cyclic, consisting of prototype, demonstration/testing, and evaluation, in an iterative process designed to unearth unrealistic requirements early, before prematurely including that requirement in a program of record. The ASA(ALT) Bruce Jette has cautioned the acquisition community to 'call-out' unrealistic processes which commit a program to a drawn-out failure, rather than failing early, and seeking another solution.
Secretary Esper scrubbed through 800 modernization programs to reprioritize funding for the top 6 modernization priorities, which will consume 80% of the modernization funding, of 18 systems. The Budget Control Act will restrict funds by 2020. Secretary McCarthy has cautioned that a stopgap 2019 Continuing resolution (CR) would halt development of some of the critical modernization projects. Realistically, budget considerations will restrict the fielding of new materiel to one Armor BCT per year; at that rate, updates would take decades. The Budget Control Act (BCA) expires in 2022. The "night court" budget review process realigned $2.4 billion for modernization away from programs which were not tied to modernization or to the 2018 National Defense Strategy. The total FY2021 budget request of $178 billion is $2 billion less than the enacted FY2020 budget of $180 billion. wiki on AFC
Me dear ol' da' (a cynical old soldier if ever there was one) served for 34 years and cautioned me that "in the Regular Army we cut off anything that sticks out." That glorious tradition is still alive.
The Army Futures Command, like many previous attempts at enabling rigorous but unimaginative thinkers to try to do "the vision thing" will probably solve few problems. The folks they are dealing with just aren't up to the task. These guys are better suited to drawing up railroad timetables than they are at making an intuitive leap.
This reminds of the British Army leadership who tried to resist the introduction of machine guns before 1914 and who thought that motor vehicles were a bad thing because they would frighten the horses. To be fair the Ordnance Department of the US Army successfully resisted the introduction of breech loading cannon and repeating rifles on the basis of an anticipated prodigal use of ammunition by the troops. That was in 1860.
I wish Esper and McCarthy lots of luck in this effort to induce streamlined, creative thought. They will need it. The desire to reduce such thought to smaller and smaller bits run by interlocking committees is overwhelming among the people they are working with. pl