The highest priority in Army acquisitions for the coming years is to continue to provide current capabilities at a sustainable cost, said Brig. Gen. Harold J. Greene, program executive officer for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors, and Deputy for Acquisition and System Management during a presentation at the Association of the United States Army's Winter Symposium and Exposition in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Greene elaborated that deficit reduction has become a defense issue that the Army has to take into account. The Army must find a way to cut costs while maintaining and expanding on current capabilities.
In the acquisition process, Greene explained, this can be achieved through a Common Operating Environment (COE), which will reduce system complexity, improve interoperability, establish a common support structure, and unifying staff workforce.
"The idea here is to develop a common set of standards so a developer knows exactly the environment they are working into," Greene said.
According to Greene, the most important aspect of acquisitions has become the Quick Reaction Capabilities or QRCs.
Greene said that QRCs have gained prominance "for exactly the right reasons: to get capabilities to our soldiers today, when they need it."
This QRC growth has not come without costs, however. Greene explained that "the price is perhaps we accepted some risk in the longterm with interoperability."
In order to remedy these weaknesses, Greene said, the Army needs to further integrate individual concepts through the COE.
"We really need to make all of these mesh," Greene said. "And this is not just a technical issue. There is a huge, huge sustainment and logistics issue here."
Greene argued that the Army needs to start to focus on the post-Afghanistan, 2015-2019 time-frame.
This future Army will be smaller and leaner but also agile, flexible, ready and technologically advanced, Greene said. It will also be able to retain and build on key advancements in networked warfare, operate with reduced costs, utilize the concept of "reversability" (the ability to quickly reestablish shelved technologies and strategies in the future without losing current efficiencies), maintain an adequate industrial base and investment in science and technology, and protect the ability to regenerate capabilities while maintaining intellectual capitol.
Despite the focus on cutting costs and a leaner Army, Greene assured that "we're going to maintain the capabilities we've developed."