In this special two-part interview, Under Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy discusses the role of the Army Futures Command and the top six modernization priorities for the branch.
The US Army Futures Command is a major initiative to reorganize the way technology development is handled at the branch. Ryan McCarthy, Under Secretary of the Army, oversees the effort to stand up the authority, and believes that the new command will see more collaboration in weapons development. “The key variables in the weapons system development process were spread across these large organizations, the three 4-star level commands. What we’ve done is taken requirements, research and development, test evaluation and moved them under one organization,” said McCarthy. “They’re still going to live in the same areas of the country that they do, but they’re going to be working together, fused together, under this new organization ‘futures command.’ That’s where we see the reduction span time, the formal relationships designated and the fusion of information.” As part of their modernization efforts, the Army has six major priorities. McCarthy told Government Matters that the Army views them as a “portfolio of capabilities” that covers the wide range of threats the Army can face. He gave a brief update for each of these goals: -Artillery “The reason why it’s our number one priority is that armies shoot, move and communicate. [The] U.S. Army uses long range precision fires to shape the battlefield so that we can maneuver on enemy force.” -Armor “We recognize that there’s just so much more that you can engineer out of a 40-year-old platform. We’re looking at the next generation combat vehicles [and they] will have manned and unmanned teaming concepts. Looking at ways we can reduce weight and make unique investments in armor protection, so that we can maintain the firepower necessary to deal against a near-peer adversary.” -Aviation “There’s a recognition that you need armed reconnaissance helicopters as well as lift platforms that will have longer legs… the platforms will have to have the ability to travel farther, greater range, but also avionic systems to deal with electronic warfare, electromagnetic environments as well as the weapons systems to penetrate and suppress enemy air defenses.” -Air & missile defense “We’ve moved our mobile short range defense capabilities to fit in our armored formations.” -Networks “The Army is looking at a Low Earth Orbit strategy [and] integrated mesh networks that have resilient capability against an electromagnetic pulse.” -Soldiers “Looking at a soldier like a weapons system. We’ve made investments in enhanced night vision goggles, a new squad weapon. Taking weight off the soldier with exoskeletons so that they can maneuver quickly.”