Exclusive news from this week's Inside the Army:
Findings from the Army's latest Network Integration Evaluation suggest that the service should implement changes and improvements to its Manpack radio due to significant heat and weight issues, according to an internal report obtained by Inside the Army.
The "for official use only" report, which is partially redacted, states that the Manpack version of the Handheld Manpack Small Form Fit (HMS) Joint Tactical Radio System overburdened radio transmission operators (RTOs) and experienced excessive heat issues.
"The HMS-MP (AN/PRC-155) radio (SUT) had significant heat issues when used on extended dismounted operations," the July 1 report states. "Range, weight and battery life were also issues. We recommend fielding for mounted use only until these issues are corrected."
While advising the continued fielding of Manpack radios to mounted units, the reports notes that, at one point, the radio became so hot it melted parts of the RTOs' rucksacks.
More to come on that.
And speaking of NIE-related issues . . .
. . . another Inside the Army front-page must-read:
The Army has pulled the Distributed Common Ground System-Army from a key test planned for the Network Integration Evaluation this fall, moving it instead to the following NIE in spring 2015, where it will be a "priority effort," according to a recent memo from the service's vice chief of staff.
The July 15 memo, signed by Gen. John Campbell and obtained by Inside the Army, states that "Headquarters, Department of the Army (HQDA) concurs with the recommendation" to remove the second release of DCGS-A Increment 1 "as a Limited User Test (LUT) at NIE 15.1," which will take place in October and November.
Sent to the commanding general of Army Test and Evaluation Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, the memo cites "continued significant Software Incident Reports, interference with the Warfighter Information Network -- Tactical Follow-on Operational Test and Evaluation, and overall network operational readiness issues," as the reasons behind the switch.
Document: Army Memo On DCGS-A
GCV may be no more, but important work remains to be done to get to the Future Fighting Vehicle (see below):
General Dynamics Land Systems and BAE Systems are slated to receive small "bridge contracts" next month to sustain engineering work on certain portions of the canceled Ground Combat Vehicle program until Congress approves a fiscal year 2015 budget, according to multiple sources in government and industry.
The GCV bridge contracts, which will be worth approximately $8 million each, are expected on Aug. 15, according to an industry source close to the matter.
While the Army decided to cancel the GCV program after the conclusion of its technology-development phase, the service requested $50 million in FY-15 to keep both GDLS and BAE funded for design and engineering work that could be applied to a future combat vehicle program. But the companies need money to sustain their engineering teams until the FY-15 budget is approved; accordingly, the bridge contracts are needed.
Note this, too:
The smaller GCV science and technology program is expected to be called the Future Fighting Vehicle (FFV), the industry source said. "It'll go to engineering work and maturation of selected technologies from GCV," the industry source said.
DOD's top tester goes back in history to suggests some lessons from the Army's FCS:
The Pentagon's top testing official recently used two high-profile Army acquisition failures to illustrate how unrealistic requirements can hamper the military's procurement process.
Speaking at the National Defense Industrial Association's test and evaluation conference July 22, J. Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon's director of operational test and evaluation, said the military needs to change how it generates requirements for its acquisition programs. He used the Army's Future Combat System and Joint Tactical Radio System as prime examples of programs with unrealistic goals.
"I've used this example before, and I'll apologize to the Army once again for using it but . . . an example of unachievable requirements was the Future Combat System," Gilmore said.
Replacing Air Force One:
The Air Force remains on track to release a request for proposals for the development and production of a new fleet of presidential aircraft before the end of the year, according to a service official.
However, major details behind the Air Force One replacement program -- such as how many aircraft the Pentagon hopes to buy, and at what price -- are still being debated ahead of a coming Defense Acquisition Board review.
Service spokesman Ed Gulick said in a July 29 email that Presidential Aircraft Replacement (PAR) program officials are working to issue an RFP this fall -- which Gulick cautioned extends into December. That is more or less in line with the Air Force's fiscal year 2015 budget request, which indicated a solicitation would be released at the very end of FY-14. The current schedule appears to push that back by no more than three months.
More Army news of note:
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno hit several familiar notes at the Aspen Security Forum last week when he discussed the future of the service and the budget pressures bearing down upon it.
Army leaders are heading to Capitol Hill to discuss what portion of the Pentagon's $58.6 billion overseas contingency operations request will end up in the service's base budget, according to the Army's new acquisition deputy.
The Army has identified several systems to unload as a result of a series of joint acquisition and sustainment reviews launched late last year, according to a top general who helps run the effort.
Senate appropriators are taking steps to ensure the Army does not impose dramatic layoffs at its depots, proposing legislation that would require the service to provide Congress with notice 45 days in advance of any force reduction that would result in the firing of 50 or more full-time employees at an organic industrial base facility.