2005-03-28

Future Combat System wird ausgebremst

--- Das ambitionierte Programm der US-Army, den Krieger der Zukunft zu schaffen und die viel beschworene Revolution in Military Affairs weiter unter dem Titel Future Combat System weiter voran zu treiben, kommt aus Budgetgründen mal wieder ins Stocken, berichtet die New York Times: That price tag, larger than past estimates publicly disclosed by the Army, does not include a projected $25 billion for the communications network needed to connect the future forces. Nor does it fully account for Army plans to provide Future Combat weapons and technologies to forces beyond those first 15 brigades. Now some of the military's advocates in Congress are asking how to pay the bill. "We're dealing today with a train wreck," Representative Curt Weldon, Republican of Pennsylvania and vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said at a March 16 Congressional hearing on the cost and complexity of Future Combat Systems. "We're left with impossible decisions," said Mr. Weldon, a strong supporter of Pentagon spending who was lamenting the trillion-dollar costs for the major weapons systems the Pentagon is building. One of those decisions, he warned, might cut back Future Combat. The Army sees Future Combat, the most expensive weapons program it has ever undertaken, as a seamless web of 18 different sets of networked weapons and military robots. The program is at the heart of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's campaign to transform the Army into a faster, lighter force in which stripped-down tanks could be put on a transport plane and flown into battle, and information systems could protect soldiers of the future as heavy armor has protected them in the past. Army officials say the task is a technological challenge as complicated as putting an astronaut on the moon. They call Future Combat weapons, which may take more than a decade to field, crucial for a global fight against terror. But the bridge to the future remains a blueprint. Army officials issued a stop-work order in January for the network that would link Future Combat weapons, citing its failure to progress. They said this month that they did not know if they could build a tank light enough to fly.