The U.S. Army no longer has the luxury of propping up program failures with extra money, causing big changes in the service’s decisions. “If a program doesn’t execute, it’s not going to be a program very long,” said Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene, USA, deputy for acquisition and systems management, headquarters, Army, during TechNet Augusta. His repeated this main message throughout his presentation, emphasizing that programs must perform and meet budgets.
The general also addressed activities by the acquisition community related to modernizing the Army’s network. “If we’re going to get to one network, we’re really talking about enterprise,” Gen. Greene stated. Budget and world conditions are forcing the military branch to adjust how it carries out business.
Gen. Greene explained that under normal circumstances, acquisition officials would have the program objective memorandum for 2015-2019 complete and work on the 2016-2020 version would be underway. But because of issues with national budgets, personnel still are reworking the former version. “It’s going to be tough for my community,” Gen. Greene said. During the recent years of war, the Army has focused on immediate solutions, but now it will have to see further out to make decisions about where to place its bets for the future. One of the most important investment bets is the network.
Program decisions today will build the force of 2025; science and technology decisions will drive the Army of 2035. At the same time, early monetary cuts likely will affect research, development and acquisition dollars, because reductions to areas such as personnel are gradual. The Army wants to take care of its soldiers and families, Gen. Greene explained. Sixty percent of those dollars go toward aviation, mission command, ground systems and science and technology. Those areas will take the first hits, because cuts come from where the money is. However, mission command has been designated as a critical capability, which will affect its investments.
One approach to dealing with the acquisition challenges is to do better with current resources. The Better Buying Power 2.0 document lays out some guidance for this effort. “Affordability will be a requirement,” Gen. Greene stated. Efficiency and improvements mandate the move from systems of systems to an enterprise environment. Army acquisition is helping to facilitate this by creating common operating environments run by different organizations based on expertise.
Gen. Greene believes the Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) will survive budget cuts. It may experience some reorganizing, perhaps with one larger and one smaller event each year combined with more modeling and simulation to reduce costs. He added that some testing and evaluation must be done in person, and getting feedback to industry on its developments is important to the Army. NIE has yielded successes such as the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical Increment 2 and Capability Set 13. “We’re seeing great changes,” Gen. Greene said.
To make the modern network a reality, soldiers must overcome the challenge of bringing its pieces together. “We have got to do a better job as a community at integration because we can’t keep doing what we’re doing,” Gen. Greene explained.