proposed cuts to the program would effectively prevent the development
of Future Combat Systems Manned Ground Vehicle (MGS). This means
Soldiers would operate Abrams tanks and Bradley
fighting vehicles “indefinitely,” and cancel
the development of the infantry load carrier, or 'Mule'
and one of the two remaining unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) said
Lt. Gen. Stephen the U.S. Army director of force development
and deputy chief of staff. Four
unmanned systema have already been eliminated from the program
in a previous cost control effort. Commenting on the possible
cut of $876 million in the 2008 budget for the Future Combat
Systems, proposes by the Congress. Gen. Speakes said the proposed
cuts endanger a program that would improve military capabilities
today and in the future. The total Future Combat System request
for fiscal 2008 is $3.7 billion.
Part of the motivation for the modernization of the ground forces,
through the FCS program, is economical. The Abrams tank gets
about three gallons to the mile. “Just think of the inefficiency
of that on top of $3 to the gallon gas,” Lt. Gen. Speakes
said. “We can’t afford to operate these legacy systems
into the future without the promise that American Soldiers will
operate something better. It’s like you are going to operate
your 1970s-era car for the next couple of decades.”…
“We will be doomed to spend the next 20 to 30 years with
the existing combat platforms we have today,”… "Soldiers
would be very negatively affected by these cuts, Speakses concluded.
The FCS Combat vehicles are designed to share common hull and
80% common parts. "Savings from this would manifest themselves
in fewer spare parts and training one set of mechanics for all
vehicles rather than specialists for a mix." Said General
General Speakes said that the program is on track and have
met performance standards. "we are on the eve of some really
great developments that are going to start hitting the Army
literally overnight.” FCS represents a significant change
in weapon systems acquisition strategy. "In the past, the
Army designed and bought systems in isolation – one set
of designers built a tank, another, a fighting vehicle, still
another a medical evacuation capability, he said. Yet another
group would work on making them all communicate with each other.
The Future Combat Systems is working to eliminate this",
Lt. Gen. Speakes said.