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National Defense > Blog > Posts > Army Vice Chief Gen. Chiarelli: Programs Will Be Terminated
Army Vice Chief Gen. Chiarelli: Programs Will Be Terminated
A sweeping review of Army weapon systems will most likely result in program terminations, said the Army’s Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli.

“You will see some” cancellations in the near future as Army senior officials complete a so-called “portfolio” review of key weapon systems, Chiarelli told reporters today at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.

The year-long review started in February and is turning out to be far more comprehensive and complex than anyone had anticipated, said Chiarelli. One of the themes that has emerged from the review is that the Army has to change its budgeting process and the way it acquires equipment.

“In less than a year we’ve been able to identify areas where we can make changes and eliminate redundancies or outdated requirements,” Chiarelli said. The Army, for instance, is wasting money on systems that already exist within the service or in other branches of the military. New weapon requirements often are conceived “in a stovepipe,” Chiarelli said. That approach prevents the Army from taking advantage of technology that is already being purchased elsewhere. On that basis, the Army does not need to keep every program it currently has in the acquisition pipeline, he added.

“You can make just about anything sound really good if you look at it all by itself,” he said. A case in point is precision-guided munitions. The Army is buying PGMs with features that overlap those of other systems, he said. As budgets get tighter, the Army must end these wasteful practices, said Chiarelli.

In a speech in July, Chiarelli specifically cited the Excalibur artillery munition as an example of a weapon that may be nice to have but whose price tag is tough to justify. He noted that Excalibur is the most accurate artillery projectile in the Army's inventory, but at $100,000 per round, it may be unaffordable. It can hit targets to within 10 meters from ranges of about 40 kilometers. By comparison, the accuracy of $600 apiece conventional artillery shells is about 50 meters.

Similar reviews are under way for every category of Army equipment. “Each one has brought to light amazing things, not just what we should buy but how we should buy,” Chiarelli said at the Heritage conference.

It is also likely that the Army will be buying fewer trucks and unmanned aircraft, Chiarelli said. The demand for unmanned aircraft in war zones remains high, but the Army still may reduce future purchases. It will continue to deploy aircraft to meet war commanders’ needs but fewer systems will be left behind in the United States for training, Chiarelli said.

A major determinant in how much equipment the Army will acquire in the future is a possible return to the division-based organization. When the Army was made over six years ago from a division- to a brigade-based structure, equipment demand soared because each brigade had to be outfitted with enough vehicles and aircraft. Now the Army is reconsidering the modular brigade makeup simply because it is too expensive to maintain and in some cases there are not enough resources to supply every brigade, Chiarelli said.

The Army will have 158,000 Humvee trucks by 2012, and it is not clear why such a high number is needed, Chiarelli said. “A lot of that [growth in the Humvee fleet] had to do with moving to a modular force,” he said. It has now become clear that the modular force is “not as efficient as a division-based force when it comes to equipment,” he explained. Whereas in a division, equipment can be allocated to units based on need, “When you break into brigades, you have to provide the capability to each and every one of the brigades.”

The Army Training and Doctrine Command is expected to offer recommendations over the next six to nine months for possibly doing away or partially modifying the modular brigade structure, Chiarelli said. “I’m not telegraphing any changes we’re going to make,” he said. But after six years of combat experience with the modular brigades, it’s time to “take a look,” said Chiarelli. But he insisted that the changeover to modular brigades six years ago was not a mistake. “The success of modularization should be questioned by anyone. … I don’t believe we could have done what we did [in Iraq and Afghanistan] with the division structure.”

Chiarelli also called for change in the way the Army acquires new technology. The current acquisition process makes it difficult to incorporate the latest advances from the commercial industry into Army equipment, he said. He is frustrated by the inability of the Army to grab technology from the open market and make it available to soldiers quickly, before it becomes obsolete. Chiarelli often has cited the iPhone as an example of how the Army should develop technology. The process, he said, has to be more nimble to accommodate improvements. The upshot may be that the Army will end up buying smaller quantities of systems so it can more easily and less expensively replace them when something better comes along.

Comments

Re: Army Vice Chief Gen. Chiarelli: Programs Will Be Terminated

Some eye opening facts here.  The only point I disagree on is the statement on the iPhone.  that is not a method for platform development.  the analogy does not fit well.  A better example would be how the automotive develops vehicles.  Every year small incremental changes.  Buying pieces of technology so that when they are ready to make major platform updates those "pieces of tech" are more affordable for the major upgrade.  this can happen in a 5-7 year cycle.

Right now everyone wants a new abrams tank every 7 years.  Not possible unless they buy a stryker and MRAP program, but that cost billions and leaves a very messy logistics footprint that has to be cleaned up...again more billions to spend.

Allow platforms to upgrade.  relax the restraint of how acquisition can spend money and add technology to the platform.  this will get you what want.....but then all things in the pentagon are about cash flows and egoes.  sometimes very little about combat capability.
Jack at 9/23/2010 7:07 AM

Re: Army Vice Chief Gen. Chiarelli: Programs Will Be Terminated

One of the more prescient points made by Gen, Chiarelli is the one about a possible return to Divisional structure. When units are decentralized such as in modular brigades, logistic support structures balloon in size, rank structures increase and combat support units increase.
Allan at 9/23/2010 4:53 PM

Re: Army Vice Chief Gen. Chiarelli: Programs Will Be Terminated

Just my thought here…….
"Army is buying PGMs with features that overlap those of other systems..."
Agreed but understand overlapping or complementing other munitions is a good thing when you call for it and one cannot accommodate, the other may, whether it's Air Force, Army, or Navy in support with PGM's.  Narrowing a PGM to a specific delivery platform, or force may not be the best decision.  Think of them as overlapping combat multipliers for the combatant commander.
"He noted that Excalibur is the most accurate artillery projectile in the Army's inventory, but at $100,000 per round, it may be unaffordable. It can hit targets to within 10 meters from ranges of about 40 kilometers. By comparison, the accuracy of $600 apiece conventional artillery shells is about 50 meters."
But here again the story is not being told 100%. Conventional Artillery need's adjusting to the Gun Target Line (GTL), taking as few as 3 rounds [most times more] and hitting where you might not want a CNN moment, like a school or town open market in OIF/OEF.  One hit kill's is where you make your money, not lose it.  So that said 3 rounds to get on GTL, with a 5 rounds in effect mission is $4,800.00 and MUCH CHEAPER… yes… but wow at a great cost if your hitting all over to get to the intended target......not mention Time On Target delayed due to adjustments needed, and then...by by enemy car trunk mortar team.....now call in a million dollar TUAV to relocate the target if you can, and reengage? What about collateral damage………..People, innocent civilians?
“When you break into brigades, you have to provide the capability to each and every one of the brigades.”
But here the idea was to be there in 72hr's as a BDE, as needed, engaging the enemy faster and reinforcing as needed.
"… I don’t believe we could have done what we did [in Iraq and Afghanistan] with the division structure.”  Now I'm confused....so changing through DOTMLPF or FDU's, or whatever to get away from the BDE's is going to help how?
Oh and one bias statement I have is: Get the new Paladin Integrated Management (PIM) program in there now, pushing it to the right was and is a mistake. The current fleet is dyeing, for one thing all motors have been re-sleeved at least 2 times each, and prolonging implementation of the PIM is like throwing money at a dyeing platform, the current Paladin/FAASV.


Bull Dog at 9/27/2010 3:19 PM

Re: Army Vice Chief Gen. Chiarelli: Programs Will Be Terminated

I'm so glad I'm in Proponency....I wonder if I still have all my files from 8 years ago, that way I can just pull them up and change the dates on them....

Right back to the way it used to be I guess.....
I Bleed Sarcasm at 9/28/2010 11:06 AM

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