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For Immediate Release:
April 1, 2004

Contact:

Harald Stavenas
Angela Sowa
(202) 225-2539

Statement of Chairman Curt Weldon
Hearing on Future Combat System and
Force Protection Initiatives

This afternoon the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee meets to receive testimony on the land component and related programs in the Fiscal Year 2005 budget request.

We have two panels of witnesses: For the first panel the General Accounting Office and the Department of the Army will provide the Subcommittee with their views on the Future Combat Systems program. During the second panel, representatives of the Departments of the Army and the United States Marine Corps will provide us with testimony on force protection, unfunded requirements associated with equipping our forces and sustainment of the current force into the future.

I've maintained through the years, first as Chairman of the R&D Subcommittee, again as Chairman of the Military Procurement Subcommittee, and now today that the proposed defense budgets were insufficient to adequately fund the programs included in the budget requests. The GAO, concluded in 2003 that the current Army heavy force would be required to remain in the inventory through at least 2020. In order to extend our current capability to 2020, this force would need to be maintained and upgraded. The funding to support the current force would require significant investment. Our past experience indicates that the current force is constantly short changed by ever escalating cost growth in development programs.

Maintaining current equipment is the major challenge. It is our responsibility to make sure that we do not sacrifice today the capabilities and equipment provided to our soldiers in order to field a capability two decades from now.

The Future Combat Systems is the Army's flagship of transformation. As envisioned, FCS would allow the Army to rapidly deploy and operate in all types of military operations, ranging from small-scale contingencies to major theater wars. The technological and organizational advances that FCS promises would keep the Army well ahead of near-peer threats for decades.

The FCS program has a number of progressive features. The "system of systems" architecture within which individual systems will be developed is a dramatic improvement over the past practice of designing separate systems and then making these systems interoperable after the fact.

Another progressive feature is the collaborative environment in which the Army program management, the contractor, and the war-fighter community are developing the FCS requirements.

Finally, FCS accounts for lethality, survivability, and sustainability as equally important key performance characteristics at the inception of the program.

Unfortunately, the Future Combat Systems program also carries very high risks. The Army has never managed any program the size and complexity of FCS: 18 systems, 32 critical technology areas, 34 million lines of code, 129 trade studies, 157 essential programs being developed independent of FCS, and all in 5 years. FCS will cost at least $22 billion through 2009 and $92 billion through the fielding first 15 Units of Action. The software task alone is five times larger than that required for the Joint Strike Fighter and ten times larger that the F/A-22, which after two decades is finally meeting its software requirements.

If FCS experiences the technical difficulties that every major development program seems to experience, the cost overruns will consume the Army's budget. If Comanche, Crusader, or F-22 are portents of the magnitude of the problems, then FCS R&D could cost $30 to $40 billion. Can DOD or the Army afford such an investment? We do not want to be here in two years rebaselining FCS.

Let us consider the long-term and the overall DOD budget. CBO projects an approximate 30 percent shortfall in required funding to execute the long term defense plan. Given the overall national fiscal realities, the question is: "How do we reduce the risk in developing FCS so that we can afford to provide funding for FCS without sacrificing the current force?" We need FCS to be successful.

I do want to commend the Army for facilitating transparent, pro-active congressional oversight on cost, schedule, and technical risk from the inception of the program.

We look forward to hearing from our panels about this program of the future and about meeting the needs of our soldiers and Marines today as they fight the Global War on Terror.

     

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House Armed Services Committee
2120 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515