Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Experts Study U.S. Army's GCV Plans, Schedule

A joint initiative between the U.S. Army and the Office of the Secretary of Defense is examining the acquisition plans and timeline for the service's Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV), an effort that Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he'd like to accelerate.
A GCV red team was formed in the last month to assess the Army's procurement plans for the new program, said Paul Mehney, spokesman for the Program Executive Office (PEO) for Integration. The group is made up of experts in engineering, acquisition and program management, from inside and outside the Defense Department and the Army, he said.
Speaking this weekend to an audience at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., Gates said "we can shave a little time off" the GCV schedule and cited the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle program, which went from an idea to full-rate production "in a year."
Under the current schedule, the first prototype would be ready at the beginning of fiscal year 2015 and the first production vehicle in fiscal 2017.
"This red team is out there taking a look at this schedule and whether that's a realistic schedule to meet," Mehney said.
Simultaneously, the Army is conducting an analysis of alternative capabilities that may fit the GCV requirements.
While the red team will look at that, they are more focused "on programmatic risk and executability as far as the schedule and acquisition process are concerned," Mehney said. The team will consider all phases of the GCV program, but the primary focus will be on the technology demonstration phase, he added.
Specifically, the team is going to assess "the acquisition strategy and critical path for schedule realism, given the current set of requirements," he said.
The team also will identify technological and integration risks and recommend potential mitigation, he said.
The red team will also look at cost and affordability, as well as make recommendations "for adjustments in the requirements scope if needed," Mehney said.
The team was formed in late April and its findings are expected in June ahead of a Milestone A decision and the technology development source-selection process, Mehney said.
"The program manager for Ground Combat Vehicle and PEO Integration is working very closely with the group to make sure that their needs are met, their questions are answered and to provide any clarification on issues that come up where it's appropriate," he said. "It's a very close working relationship."
The Army's GCV effort is replacing the Future Combat Systems vehicle program. The service, which intends to award up to three contracts for a 27-month technology development phase, released a request for proposals Feb. 25. The bidding deadline is May 21; awards are expected in September.

By : KATE BRANNEN(DefenseNews)

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