Open dialogue key for Army’s blue ribbon panel

Earlier today the Army announced that the Vice Chief of Staff, General Chiarelli, will host a workshop June 15 as part of the Army’s process to develop the requirements for a new ground combat vehicle. The G-8 team is involved with this effort and we wanted to share a few of the details on what the workshop involves and the purpose behind it.The workshop will afford us the unique opportunity to hear broad and candid ideas and opinions from a large, diverse group of individuals knowledgeable about national defense issues and capabilities that a new combat vehicle must address. The workshop participants include retired general officers, combat veterans, active duty commissioned and non-commissioned officers, and individuals from think tanks, academia, and OSD – all who have a deep interest in how we equip and protect our Soldiers.

Their input will subsequently be considered by a Blue Ribbon Panel of senior leaders from OSD and the Army, of which I am a member. Our intent is to take a fresh look at requirements for an Army ground combat vehicle that provides the capabilities and technologies that our Soldiers need and deserve.

We anticipate – and in fact, encourage – a wide spectrum of ideas and thoughts from the participants. To stimulate this process, there will be six focus area sessions, each chaired by a Blue Ribbon Panel member: (1) Operational Environment 2015-2025; LTG Steve Speakes, (2) Platform Characteristics 2015-2015; LTG Robert Durbin, (3) Platform Threats, LTG Richard Zahner, (4) COTS vs. R&D with a 2017 IOC, Dr. Thomas Killion, (5) Realistic Requirements for Tomorrow, LTG Mike Vane, and Network Considerations, Dr. Ronald Jost.

The Blue Ribbon Panel will carefully consider the information, thoughts, and ideas presented by the distinguished participants during the focus area sessions. Ultimately, the Blue Ribbon Panel’s findings and recommendations will be presented to senior Army leaders to inform the Ground Combat Vehicle requirements development process led by the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. That effort has been ongoing for several months and will continue over the Summer in preparation for a concept proposal by Labor Day, 2009.

This workshop and our Blue Ribbon Panel process is one of the steps that the Army is employing in our movement towards defining the requirements of a ground combat vehicle to be fielded in the next five to seven years and to fill our need to replace Cold War era ground vehicles. We’re moving forward with our analyses of operational requirements, technological advances, and applying the lessons learned from the Manned Ground Vehicle portion of the FCS program, and from seven years of war.

We welcome the information, thoughts, and ideas that the workshop’s participants will provide on concepts for a new ground combat vehicle. We look forward to the workshop and appreciate the time and effort that these distinguished participants are devoting to this effort. We’ll tell you more about the participants in future updates.

We’ll look forward to continuing this dialogue in the days ahead as we execute this exciting opportunity.

Until later,

Steve Speakes

Lt. Gen. Steve Speakes is the Army’s Deputy Chief of Staff for the Army G-8