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U.S. Army To Reform Battle Command Systems With Raytheon's Aid

The U.S. Army made two announcements in the last week as they move to reform their multiple battle command systems. The Army has suffered by having a variety of systems for different missions and levels of command that were not properly integrated.

First the Army is establishing a new engineering organization to support acquisition in general. This will be called the System-of-Systems Systems Engineering (SoS SE) group. Over the last several years there has been a larger focus within the Department of Defense and the services on system engineering with the capability integrated at the program and product office level. This new Army organization will be capable of coordinating and assisting efforts across all Army acquisition programs. Their first task will be designing and standing up a unified command system.

At the same time the Army signed a contract with Raytheon to "enhance and maintain the capabilities of the Army Battle Command System" (ABCS). These are existing systems that are currently in use in Iraq or Afghanistan and do not always work well together or are based on common engineering or structures. The contract is worth over $770 million and will last five years if all options are exercised.

These are two different tacks on fixing the same problem. There can be one, new system developed that meets the requirements of the existing ones and replaces them. It might uses parts and pieces developed so far such as data links, terminals and radios but it is essentially new. The other solution is to work on ways to link and integrate the existing systems. Either solution will not be cheap as the Raytheon contract indicates.

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