This week’s release of the report, “The Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle Program and Alternatives,” by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) leaves almost as many questions as it attempts to answer.
The CBO report [CBO Publication Number 4343], which was prepared “at the request of the former Chairman and the former Ranking Member of the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee of the House Committee on Armed Services,” looks at four options for the Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) program:
- Replacing the current Army Bradley infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) with the Israeli “Namer” armored personnel carrier;
- Upgrading the Bradley IFV to be more lethal than the notional GCV;
- Purchasing the German “Puma” IFV to replace the Bradley IFV; and
- Cancelling the GCV program in favor of reconditioning the current fleet of Bradley IFVs.
In keeping with CBO’s mandate to provide objective and impartial analysis, the report makes no recommendations on the four different approaches, though there does seem to be some confusion on the level of “objective and impartial analysis” conducted.
Specifically, the selection of those four alternatives seems to ignore much of the Army’s significant effort at a broader and more comprehensive analysis and assessment.
For example, Army sources point to the fact that throughout 2012, the Army conducted a Non-Developmental Vehicle (NDV) assessment with a combination of live testing and engineering analysis that evaluated domestic and international vehicles.
As part of that analysis, live Army assessments were conducted on five different vehicle platform designs operating on White Sands Missile Range approximately May 17-24, 2012:
- Stryker with Double-V Hull;
- Bradley with turret;
- Modified Bradley with raised hull and turret removed/replaced by Kongsberg Remote Weapon Station;
- Swedish “CV-90;” and
- “Namer” armored infantry fighting vehicle
Elements of the Army’s assessment process were also applied to other vehicle platforms not present at White Sands.
According to service representatives, “The assessments confirmed that currently fielded vehicles are optimized for performance within their expected operating environments, but are limited with regard to specific GCV capability performance areas. Although all assessed NDVs met some of the critical GCV requirements, none met the minimum set of GCV requirements without needing significant redesign.”
“The Army has been conducting a knowledge based acquisition model for the GCV program in the Technology Development phase of the GCV program,” they continue. “The GCV program followed a disciplined requirements management process that used emerging analysis and data from the Analysis of Alternatives and NDV assessment to fine-tune the program’s requirements for unit cost and technical risk. The Army continues to fine-tune the vehicle requirements to support cost targets while continuing to evaluate requirement trades that better aligns with the goal of an affordable and achievable vehicle.”
While the CBO report does reference earlier Army AoA efforts conducted in 2010, there seems to be little coordination with the continuation of those efforts in the current program phase.