Stop hoping for a funding bump and start making existing weapons work better together.
The U.S. Army has been at war continuously for 16 years. New technologies pose new threats and old technologies grow in numbers and capability. Bad guys throughout the world, newly resurgent, are behaving, well, quite badly. The Army’s budget is woefully short of what it needs to recapitalize and modernize, and gridlock in Congress has again doomed the Army to the budget hell of a continuing resolution. If ever the Army were ever to think creatively about how to meet the extraordinary demands it faces, now would be the time.
The good news is that the Army has steps that it can take, and is taking, to improve its capabilities without massive new hardware initiatives. One key to meeting these challenges: broader and tighter integration of Army capabilities, across mission lines, across service lines, and even across national lines.
Such a notion is hardly new. The Army integrates its space and missile defense capabilities, its air defenses and missile defenses, and offensive and defensive operations. It sought to modernize its armored forces through development and deployment of Future Combat Systems, or FCS, an integrated network of armored vehicles and artillery. The Army and Air Force operated in an integrated fashion under the framework of AirLand Battle in the 1980s and 1990s, and joint operations are DoD’s gold standard today.
But the Army will have to pursue integration with even greater vigor…