Every four years, the annual AUSA 2012 Exposition, taking place in Washington DC next week, is well timed to reflect the priorities – and constraints on defense budgets, reflected by the political debate toward the elections. In 2012 the debate is becoming more intense, as sequestration looming over the horizon could topple any agenda the candidates or their supporters promote. Even without the drastic reductions mandated by sequestration, U.S. Army leaders realize that significant cuts in programs, force structure and procurement will be made. The theme this week will therefore be – carry on building the future force, with the resources and capabilities we already have.
Contrary to the Army planner’s foresight in the 2000s, this decade is not about grand programs, but on reconstruction, reconstitution and incremental building of forces. Those military units that survive the cuts will have to do more with less. For the defense industry, it means that there will be fewer platforms to build but more parts and kits resets, modifications and modernization to deliver. Doing more with less also means more effective processes. Hence, saving energy costs, in fuels, batteries, and harnessing renewable energy in affordable costs would become more popular. It also means fewer soldiers mastering more skills, for which training, simulation and expert assistance will be critical. Among these modernization programs are the replacement of M-113 armored carriers. At present, the leading candidate is the Bradley platform, made by BAE Systems. Currently, the Heavy Brigades in the US Army are equipped with the Bradley infantry carrier and scout vehicle.
The following topics are covered in our preview:
- Vehicle Modernization Programs (online 21-10)
- Armor and Protection (online 21-10)
- Special Forces Mobility (online 21-10)
- Precision Fires (online 21-10)
- Better Force Protection (online 21-10)
- Connecting to the Edge (online 21-10)
- Supporting the warfighter (online 21-10)
These articles will be opened for all readers on Defense-Update on Sunday (21/10) and are currently available in the downloadable PDF format.