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Fri May 10, 2013, 09:30 AM

GCV And Beyond: How The Army Is Gettin’ Heavy After Afghanistan

http://breakingdefense.com/2013/03/11/gcv-and-beyond-how-the-army-is-gettin-heavy-after-afghanistan/



GCV And Beyond: How The Army Is Gettin’ Heavy After Afghanistan
By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on March 11, 2013 at 2:30 PM

America’s Army has developed a bit of a split personality of late. On the one hand, the top brass has very publicly embraced the administration’s January 2012 strategic guidance that emphasizes “innovative, low-cost, and small-footprint approaches” and “building partner capacity” in lieu of large ground force deployments. Leaders from Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno on down talk up the Army’s capabilities in cyberspace, missile defense, seaborne operations, and small advisor teams.

At the same time, the service’s biggest new weapons program remains the controversial Ground Combat Vehicle, an estimated $34 billion program to build what could be 70-ton-plus behemoths optimized for all-out land war. “Low-cost” and “small-footprint” it ain’t. (“Innovative” it may be; read on). And GCV is just the tip of the armored iceberg.

~snip~

The problem, of course, is the bottom line. Talk is cheap; tanks aren’t. Cybersecurity, small special ops teams, and relationship-building fit well into a declining budget; new armored vehicles do not. And both the Army’s budget and its manpower are declining more steeply than any other service’s. To make things worse, of course, there’s the Army’s atrocious acquisition record over the past 15 years, killing 22 major programs after spending billions on them, including the infamous Future Combat System, from which GCV evolved.

So while the Army wants to beef up its combat brigades and reconnaissance formations, it has to do so as much as possible by repurposing the troops and equipment it already has, buying as little new gear as possible. “We’re trying to do this as zero-sum… using existing force structure,” Maj. Gen. Arthur Bartell, ARCIC’s chief of staff, told Breaking Defense in a sidebar conversation at the AUSA winter conference. “It’s a Rubik’s Cube.”



unhappycamper comment: The Army also needs to figure out what to do with all those million dollar MRAPS sitting in Afghanistan.

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