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Evaluation task force will continue beyond FCS cancellation

By C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (July 24, 2009) -- Both the Army Evaluation Task Force, and parent organization, the Future Force Integration Directorate, are expected to continue on despite the cancellation of the program they were designed to support.

Both the FFID and the AETF were designed to support development of the Army's recently canceled Future Combat System's program. But during a July 24 media roundtable at the Pentagon, Maj. Gen. James Terry, director of Training and Doctrine Command's Future Force Integration Directorate, said he expects both organizations to press on with support to the Army's current modernization efforts.

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"Essentially what we do is move past FCS and we are looking at, more broadly, Army modernization," the general said.

Terry, who will soon move on to command the 10th Mountain Division (Light) at Fort Drum, N.Y., told reporters that right now the FFID has switched focus and is looking at ways to modernize Army brigade combat teams using existing programs of record and spinouts from the canceled FCS.

The general also said he expects the technology for the Army's "Ground Soldier Ensemble" to enter limited user testing in summer, 2010.

"It'll be (to a) battalion with three companies -- as I understand it there'll be some competitive prototyping that goes on before that," he said. "So we'll have essentially multiple sets from different prototypes, then we'll go into the test to determine the best of the prototypes."

The GSE is meant to provide situational awareness to dismounted Soldiers through the use of technology and connection to the network. The system involves graphic displays, access to mapping information, and radios to attach Soldiers to higher headquarters. The general said one of the goals for GSC is to make it lighter for Soldiers.

Terry also said the Army is working to further develop a replacement for the manned ground vehicle: the ground combat vehicle.

"We are working mightily on developing the requirements and the concept behind ground combat vehicle," he said. "The SECDEF gave us homework to do on our combat vehicles and that's exactly what we are doing. It's a large part of our BCT modernization plan that's out there."

He said he expects plans for the ground combat vehicle to be delivered to the secretary of the Army before Labor Day.

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