Lessons from the Army's Future Combat Systems Program
by Christopher G. Pernin, Elliot Axelband, Jeffrey A. Drezner, Brian Barber Dille, John Gordon IV, Bruce Held, K. Scott McMahon, Walter L. Perry, Christopher Rizzi, Akhil R. Shah, Peter A. Wilson, Jerry M. Sollinger
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The Future Combat Systems (FCS) program was the largest and most ambitious planned acquisition program in the Army's history. The FCS was intended to field not just a system, but an entire brigade, a system of systems, with novel technologies integrated by means of an advanced wireless network. Moreover, the FCS-equipped brigade would operate with new doctrine that was being developed and tested along with the materiel components of the unit. The FCS was central to Army modernization plans. In 2009, the FCS program was cancelled, and some of its efforts transitioned to follow-on programs. In 2010, the Army's Acquisition Executive asked RAND Arroyo Center to conduct an after-action analysis of the FCS program in order to leverage its successes and learn from its problems. This report documents the program's history and draws lessons from multiple perspectives, including the conditions leading up to the program, requirements generation and development, program management and execution, and technologies.