The U.S. Army has an ambitious program, called the Integrated Battle Command System (IBCS), which seeks to network the Army’s entire suite of air and missile defense systems: Patriot, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, Integrated Fire Protection and eventually short-range air defense. Frankly, IBCS is overly ambitious and too expensive. It was conceived during the period of Army acquisition hubris that produced such debacles as the Future Combat System. IBCS has already missed its original goal of 2018 for an Initial Operating Capability (IOC); the new IOC is 2022. More significantly, IBCS may be unnecessary. As air and missile threats loomed larger in U.S. defense planning, investments were made in a series of sensible and achievable upgrades to existing systems and networks that could achieve most of what IBCS promises to deliver and do so years sooner and at much lower cost. I have written on the alternative to IBCS in RealClearDefense here.
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