Washington (Army News Service) — The Army cannot afford to mortgage its future by allowing for reductions in science and technology funding, said the director of the Army Acquisition Corps before an Association of the United States Army breakfast meeting, July 18, in Arlington, Va.
Citing $37 billion in cuts throughout the Defense Department, and another $52 billion in cuts potentially facing DOD in fiscal year 2014, Lt. Gen. Bill Phillips told the Army and business leaders in the audience that, in his opinion, it will take a generation to recover from the effects of the budget control act and sequestration.
"In a word, it's 'devastating,' a word I've used in testimony twice before Congress in this year alone," said the general who has also served as military deputy for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, known as ASA(ALT), since 2010.
"As we look out in the future and maybe have reductions in procurement and RD&A (research, development and acquisition) accounts, and I believe we will, we can't leverage S&T (science and technology) because when we come out of this we have to have programs in place in the technologies to push the Army forward," Phillips said, "because the last thing we ever want to do is have a Soldier go into combat and it be an even fight."
To ensure the advantage always lies with the American G.I., Phillips stressed the importance of the "network," which continues to evolve to let Soldiers know where they are, where their battle buddies are and where their enemies are.
"Industry has a play in everything we're going to do in building this network, but it starts with the CIO (Chief Information Officer G-6 Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence) doing the technical architecture for everything we'll implement in the network," he said. "It's (Lt. Gen.) Keith Walker and [U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command] working the operational architectures and designing the systems we'll build to field the network and then we have 12 PEOs (program executive officers) and each of them have a play in this.
"Then we take the technical architecture, the operational architecture and the sustainment piece from Army Materiel Command and we at ASA(ALT) put that together to build a systems architecture," Phillips said. "All these systems, maybe 40, 50, 60 of these systems that we're putting together, that could be inside an MRAP (mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle) an M-ATV, Bradley, Abrams or maybe a helicopter."
Capabilities Set 13 has been fielded to four brigade combat teams, Phillips said. The latest iteration of capabilities was gleaned through three Network Integration Evaluations, known as NIEs, conducted in an operationally relevant and punishing environment, he said. More than 115 systems from government and industry were evaluated in the first three NIEs by 3,800 Soldiers from 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, at White Sands Missile Range, N.M.
"The NIE is so important to the Army's ability to get this right and to test it and put it in the hands of Soldiers, and make sure they use it and give feedback," he said. "It's incredibly complex, and incredibly important for us going forward."