AUSA NEWS: Army Futures Command Breaking Down Barriers

By Stew Magnuson

Photo: Army

Just a few months after becoming fully operational, Army Futures Command is already making inroads breaking down barriers and cutting red tape, its commander said Oct. 16.

The command was established in 2018 in Austin, Texas, and reached full operational capability in July. One of its accomplishments so far is bringing together the requirements and acquisition communities, Gen. Mike Murray, Army Futures Command commanding general, said at the Association of the United States Army's annual conference in Washington, D.C.

“Normally, requirements belong on the AFC side, but I hate to even say that,” Murray said during a panel discussion. Barriers are coming down at the cross-functional team level, where representatives of both worlds are working together. Cross-functional teams were established around the Army’s top modernization priorities in order to speed up acquisition.

“There is a very solid relationship between the requirements community and the acquisition community and they often go back and forth without a clear fence in between,” he said. “That, I think, is the most powerful thing that has happened.”

The new command has been “freed of the shackles of leadership,” he said, referring to lawyers, when it comes to having open and honest dialogue with industry, he added.

“We are having a constant dialogue back and forth,” he said. The Army can ask industry whether its requirements are valid and for recommendations on how to improve them.

Contracts have been simplified and the command is working hard to boil the essential requirements down to three to five pages. “The rest of them is pretty much boilerplate,” he said.

At the end of the day, success will be determined by what AFC can deliver to its soldiers, Murray said. The command has had some 5,000 hours of interactions with the troops who will actually be using the technology to help inform requirements, he added.

“The Army took some really bold steps two years ago when they came up with the concept of the Futures Command. It is about doing things differently. ... It is about moving the Army into the information age because we will not be successful if we just continued to do the same thing we have always done in the past,” Murray said.

While the command has focused on materiel solutions, the new Army Modernization Strategy, released the morning he spoke, will look at modernization more holistically than the service has in the past, he said.

The document incorporates the multi-domain operations concept along with ways in which the Army must grow its talent pool in order to reach its modernization goals, he said.

It is intended to be “readable” — it is about a dozen pages long — although there is a 250 page implementation plan for Army leaders which is not so readable, Murray said.

Meanwhile, Murray said the command should never work itself out of a job. “What I don’t want to do is modernize here in the near term and find ourselves in the same hole we have found ourselves in 30 years from now,” he said.

There will eventually be a new doctrine that replaces multi-domain operations and that will require modernization, he said.

“The role of the Futures Command — I don’t think that ever goes away,” Murray said.


Topics: Army News

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