Potential full-year CR could impact 400 Army programs, say Army officials
WASHINGTON. A potential year-long Continuing Resolution (CR) caused by Congress being unable to pass a 2016 budget by December could result and would affect about 400 Army programs totaling about $6 billion, said Heidi Shyu, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology during a press conference at the AUSA Annual Meeting last week in Washington.
A CR would essentially mean that Congress would spend the same amount of money they spent last year, which Shyu said will affect major platforms such as Army helicopters and also new starts in science and technology programs – potentially affecting 75 such starts. For CH-47 Chinooks, the total procured will be cut in half with a similar impact on A-64 Apache procurement, Shyu added.
“We have to stretch out many programs as a result,” she said.
Shyu shared the dias with Gen. Dennis Via, head of the Army Materiel Command, who added that these budget challenges could “impact preparedness” for battles decades down the road. “It took us 20 years to build an army for the first Gulf War.”
Sequestration has not gone away and will still have an enormous impact on our ability to improve the readiness of the force, he continued. When looking at it’s cumulative effect over the years, CRs “over a period of time, unpredictable funding, that impacts not only just the Army of today, that’s going to impact the Army of 2030.”
Foreign military sales
Yes despite doom and gloom of CRs Shyu said there is a bright spot in Army procurement with foreign military sales (FMS).
FMS exceeded $20 billion in 2015 and is on track to exceed $30 billion in 2016, Shyu said. “They like American equipment, know it works, and when they fly the aircraft, it doesn’t fall out of the sky.” The best selling items are Army helicopters and Patriot systems, she added.
Shyu said in answer to one question that the Army will use commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technology where it is in the requirements. I followed up and asked her are there more requirements for COTS and open standards.
She said yes and added that the Army is looking at open architectures as they are using the Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) standard for avionics and are looking to create a “common operating environment for ground platforms as well. If you enable a common plug and play” interface then it will be easier to develop technology so the warfighter can be part of a shared network like users of smart phones, she added.
“We are pretty good at upgrading capability and w are investing into next generation of subsystems to give a leap ahead in capability,” Shyu said. “If you look at our strategy, we divest what we don’t need, invest in what’s critical for next fight and do it through incremental modernization.”
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