Army's Future Combat System (FCS): Background and Issues for Congress [Updated January 11, 2008]   [open pdf - 158KB]

"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 the Army's major research, development, and acquisition program consisting of 14 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. The FCS program has been characterized by the Army and others as a high-risk venture due to the advanced technologies involved and 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 Administration has committed the United States to 'the Long War,' a struggle that could last for decades as the United States and its allies attempt to locate and destroy terrorist networks worldwide. Some question if FCS, envisioned and designed prior to September 11, 2001 to combat conventional land forces, is relevant in this 'Long War.' The FCS program has achieved a number of programmatic milestones and is transitioning from a purely conceptual program to one where prototypes of many of the 14 FCS systems are under development. With a variety of estimates on the total cost of the FCS program, questions have been raised about FCS affordability, and the Army cites anticipated budgetary constraints for the recent restructuring of the program from 18 to 14 systems."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL32888
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