Early lessons learned from the Army's Future Combat Systems program (FCS): developing an appropriate contractual arrangement with industry, establishing an enabling program management structure and test organization / by Joseph Yakovac.
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The Future Combat System (FCS) program is, without a doubt, the most challenging modernization program ever attempted by the Army. The requirement defines the need to develop and field a fully integrated system-of-systems consisting of manned ground vehicles, unmanned ground systems, and unmanned aerial systems -- all connected by a complex network. The program is in its fifth year of System Development and Demonstration. Despite two restructures, due to reprioritizations of dollars within the Army and budget cuts imposed by Congress, the program remains on schedule to deliver capability to the current force in 2010 and, by 2017, to field a fully equipped FCS brigade combat team. To date, most articles, studies, and reports on FCS have focused on the complexities of the task of developing and fielding a system-of-systems and on the unique contractual arrangement between the Army and the program's lead system integrator. This paper provides early lessons learned from the FCS program that may be useful to acquisition professionals facing the challenges of managing the complexity inherent in 21st-century Department of Defense programs.
NPS Report NumberNPS-GSBPP-08-003
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