Army's Future Combat System (FCS): Background and Issues for Congress [Updated May 5, 2006] [open pdf - 170KB]
From the Document: "The Future Combat System (FCS) is the U.S. Army's multiyear, multibillion dollar program at the heart of the Army's transformation efforts. It is to be the Army's major research, development, and acquisition program consisting of 18 manned and unmanned systems tied together by an extensive communications and information network. FCS is intended to replace such current systems as the M-1 Abrams tank and the M-2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle with advanced, networked combat systems. The FCS program has been characterized by the Army and others as a high- risk venture due to the advanced technologies involved as well as the challenge of networking all of the FCS subsystems together so that FCS equipped units can function as intended. The FCS program exists in a dynamic national security environment which could significantly influence the program's outcome. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and potential defense budget cuts could play a role in shaping the FCS program. The revised FCS program timeline- including four 'Spin-Outs' whereby equipment is to be tested first by a FCS evaluation brigade and then introduced into the current force- has extended the program's timeline by four years and has added additional funding requirements, but it has also served to reduce some of the risk associated with this admittedly high-risk venture."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32888