The leadership of the U.S. Army is on a mission to radically alter the way it does acquisition and sustainment. To that end, it has created eight pilot cross functional teams (CFTs) to improve the speed and effectiveness of the requirements generation process and serve as the first step towards the creation of a modernization command. But modernization is not a switch to be flipped on or off as implied by the creation of a modernization command. In reality it goes on constantly across the Army. Virtually every Army asset gets upgraded during its service life, sometimes repeatedly.
An example of the need to think about modernization over time and across multiple platforms or weapons systems is the tactical wheeled vehicle (TWV) fleet. The Army has a strategy for this fleet which focuses largely on replacing as much of the current fleet of Humvees as it can with the new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle. A better approach would be to create a CFT to conduct trade-off analyses and test alternative options upgrading existing vehicles. A TWV CFT could fundamentally change the way the Army thinks about the long-term management of large and varied fleets of vehicles. I have written about this subject for The National Interest here.
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