In what may be the latest expansion of defense vernacular, senior U.S. Army leadership has confirmed a “graceful termination” of the Joint Tactical Radio System Ground Mobile Radio (JTRS GMR).
Speaking before the Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces, U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee on Oct. 26, 2011, Lt. Gen. William Phillips, principal military deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology was asked about the “cancellation” of that program.
“The Ground Mobile Radio went through a rigorous comprehensive review between the Army and the Secretary of Defense,” he explained. “That took about 60 days of intensive review of the program itself.”
“Up front I will state that the GMR program itself is critical to the Army’s network strategy,” he said. “We must have a GMR radio that will run the Wideband Networking Waveform and the Soldier Radio Waveform – that’s absolutely critical. So when we say ‘termination,’ I’ll use these words: It’s a ‘graceful termination.’ The current contract is with Boeing. We are going to let that contract expire in March of ’12. And it will terminate on its own. We are not going to renew the contract.”
Highlighting the importance of both industry and government GMR “significant” investments to date, he added, “We know through market research that there are a number of industry partners out there that can deliver the hardware to run those two waveforms that I just mentioned. So part of our strategy is working with industry; leveraging our investment. And we will soon put an RFP on the street to ask for the hardware from industry – a Ground Mobile Radio – to run those two waveforms. And that will happen probably next month [November 2011].”
“Sir, at the end of the day this is positive for us,” he stated. “We will get this radio quicker. It will be at a lower cost than what the formal program would have delivered. And we will get it in what we call ‘Capability Set ‘13 – ’14’, so eight brigades that will deploy into combat operations will have a GMR radio running those two waveforms. And we will test that out at the Network Integration Exercise out at White Sands [Missile Range] as well. What we will do is put it in the hands of soldiers. And when you put something in the hands of soldiers and you let them run around with the equipment and use it, you get remarkable feedback from our soldiers as to how well that hardware will perform. We are excited about the strategy we have for GMR.”
Asked about the requirements for the upcoming RFP, Phillips offered, “The original GMR was a four channel radio. We will go in with a requirement for at least a two-channel radio and industry will come back with their solutions. And we think we will get a much lower cost and capable radio that will deliver those two waveforms. And also we are working with legacy waveforms and they will be available at some point to run on a GMR radio as well.”