Army Requests $275M for Training-Related IT in FY 2014
Published: May 15, 2013
Over the last few years, top Army IT officials have said that one of the goals of the Service’s network modernization is to enable CONUS-based personnel (now a majority in the Army) to “train as they fight.” This goal reflects the fact that the U.S. Army’s growing dependence on the network has created an inextricable link between IT and kinetic warfare. Therefore, if the Army is to truly maintain the readiness of its combat personnel, it must spend on the resources and IT infrastructure that its soldiers and commanders require.
Over the last few years, top Army IT officials have said that one of the goals of the Service’s network modernization is to enable CONUS-based personnel (now a majority in the Army) to “train as they fight.” Major General Alan Lynn, the commander of Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM) reiterated this point recently in comments that he made to Army Signal Command Public Affairs. Noting declining Army funding, MG Lynn stated:
“What the chief of staff of the Army wants for the future is a live, virtual, and constructive environment. When funding goes down, at some point training stops. With a virtual environment, you can actually have some helicopters flying, with some folks behind a screen; you have some Humvees driving with some folks behind a screen. Everything is happening all at once."
This statement reflects the fact that over the last decade the U.S. Army’s dependency on network services has created an inextricable link between IT and kinetic warfare. Therefore, if the Army is to truly maintain the readiness of its combat personnel, it must spend on the resources and IT infrastructure that its soldiers and commanders require.
This priority is reflected in a portion of the Army’s budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2014, which requests $275 million to fund 39 technology investments related to Army training needs. Of these investments, 11 have associated Development, Modernization, and Enhancement (DME) dollars (See table below) amounting to $212 million, or 77%, of the total funding requested.
The green shading indicates that in 10 out of 11 cases, DME dollars equal 100% of the requested amount for that project. Clearly, the importance of technology to enable training is translating into a goodly amount of development dollars in FY 2014. Development dollars often translate into procurements. It is just a matter of determining which acquisitions are worth paying attention to.
This said, some DME dollars might find their way into the Train, Educate, and Coach (TEACH) services contract vehicle being competed by the Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training & Instrumentation (PEO STRI). I suspect, however, that most of the money will either show up in smaller procurements for the individual components on the list above or it will fund requirements currently being fulfilled. The table below provides a list of competitions and awarded contracts relevant to the investments above.
As we can see, most DME dollars are likely going to fund contract efforts that are already in place. This is not necessarily the case for efforts related to the Combat Training Center- Instrumentation System (CT-IS) and the Aviation Combined Arms Tactical Trainer (AVCATT), however, both of which have requested 100% DME funding totaling $121 million. Pursuing potential work related to the CTC Military Operations on Urban Terrain Instrumentation System (CTC MOUT IS) is also a possibility, but determining where those dollars are heading will take research beyond the scope of this post. Suffice it to say that in FY 2014 the available business opportunity related to Army IT training requirements amounts to $121 million.