The Pentagon’s transformation chief, retired Vice Adm. Arthur Cebrowski,
endorsed the U.S. Army’s Future Combat System for its emphasis on information-based
warfare and speed. The FCS, he said, will help prove that heavy armor is no
longer the dominant factor in a ground war.
Recent battles in Iraq, Cebrowski said, proved that speed and integrated information
networks were key to defeating the enemy.
“I look at these marvelous Navy and Air Force munitions and what they
do to armor. I look at what one of our own tank rounds does to everyone else’s
armor in the world,” he said at a breakfast with defense reporters. “I
go, well, you know the notion that steel protects you, just doesn’t seem
to be there, because it doesn’t protect in the absolute. Nothing protects
in the absolute. What you, therefore, want is a mix of things.
“Do I want to take all tanks out of the force? No. Do I want to take
tanks as we know them out of the force? Probably yes,” he noted. “If
I can have a 35-ton tank [...], a lighter tank with the same protection and
lethality, I’d much rather have the lighter one, because I can move it
faster. ... That is one of the reasons why I like the Army’s transformation
program in the FCS.”
Armor is not the only answer to the survivability problem, he added. “Just
as in some cases, it is really nice to have armor, in a lot of cases it doesn’t
help you. It didn’t help 17 dead sailors on board the [USS] Cole, for
example. That is a steel ship. And so you don’t see Navy talking about
adding more steel to its destroyers. Instead it reaches for other things to
create the protective environment.”