DoD News Briefing

NEWS TRANSCRIPT from the United States Department of Defense

DoD News Briefing
Army Maj. Gen. Joseph L. Yakovac Jr. and Army Brig. Gen. Paul Eaton
Thursday, May 17, 2001
(Also participating in this briefing was Army Maj. Gen. Larry Gottardi, chief of Public Affairs. The slides used in this briefing are on the Web at )
Gottardi: Good morning. I think we've got about all the folks that are probably going to take advantage of this opportunity.
I'd like to introduce myself. I'm Major General Larry Gottardi, Army chief of Public Affairs. I'd like to thank you for turning out this morning.
This morning we're going to talk about the interim brigade combat teams, about - at Fort Lewis and about the interim armored vehicle you often hear referred to as the IAV.
I've got two people who will be talking today:
Brigadier General Paul Eaton, who's the training and doctrine command deputy commanding general for transformation, and who is stationed out there at Fort Lewis. And Paul has been there now, I guess, about six months. And he's going to brief you on what the interim brigade combat teams at Fort Lewis have been doing as far as training, working on the development of the tactics, techniques, and procedures for their employment and - deployment and other exercises they've been having out there.
Then he'll be followed by Major General Joe Yakovac, who's the program executive officer for the Army's ground combat support systems. And what he'll brief you on is the Army's fielding of the interim armored vehicle.
I would point out that Paul Eaton is the trainer and Joe Yakovac is the developer in this particular case.
Now after those two briefings, both will respond to your questions. And then we'd ask you to join us at a display that we've got outside of the River Entrance. If you go out there - we'll move out there immediately after this - on that lower parade field right down there on Boundary Channel Drive, we've got two of the variants of the IAV. We've got the infantry carrier vehicle and then we've got the prototype for the mobile gun system. And both of them are displayed down there on that concrete pad that's on the one side.
Now we also with them a squad of infantry from Fort Lewis, from the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry, who have been training with these vehicles or their surrogates since the beginning of the IDCT developmental process out there. We've also got Captain Boylan, who's their company commander, and Lieutenant Colonel Rob Baker, who's their battalion commander. And they can give you sort of the soldier's view of the vehicles and what they've been doing with them.
So at this time, I'll turn the podium over to the Brigadier General Paul Eaton.
Eaton: Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. The last time I got up in a similar audience on the East Coast, we had that earthquake out at Fort Lewis - 7.0. My wife was there. The dogs were there. So I wait with interest.
(To staff.) Next slide, please.
What I'm going to talk about is, I'll review the bidding and the organization and the operational and organizational focus of this brigade. Some of you are very familiar with it. But I'd like to just hit on a couple of key points.
This brigade is optimized for small-scale contingency. It's in the middle of that operational spectrum. It is a full-spectrum unit.
(To staff.) Next slide.
These are some of the operational units that we have in there. It's infantry, sentry, three infantry battalions, artillery battalion. We've got a brigade support battalion.
The jewel in the crown, as far as the situational development opportunities that we have for the commander, is this RSTA, the recon, surveillance, target acquisition squadron, this unit particularly endowed with assets to develop the picture, the common operational picture, for the brigade commander.
It has engineer unit; military intelligence, particularly focused on analysis, which we have not done before in a brigade level. This is a broad capability unit.
Next slide.
Some of the operational characteristics we've got up here. I want to stress this is not a peacekeeping unit. We can use this unit as is, as a main effort, high-intensity conflict for complex and urban terrain because of the significant number of infantry who are focused on close-assault infantry combat operations. It can perform, when augmented for a third dimension, if you add helicopters to the organization and add tanks, because we don't have kinetic energy tank-killing systems in this brigade, akin to the M-1, the mobile gun system can be a tank-killer, but that's not its primary function. It can perform a screen mission in high-intensity conflict. And when, again, augmented with tanks, I'd feel comfortable using this unit in a supporting effort, high-intensity conflict. Again, I told you that it was focused for small-scale contingency and can execute peacekeeping operations. The intent is to go in fast, establish overmatch, overwhelming combat power to contain the !
situation before it jumps out of the box and creates a bigger problem. And, of course, peacekeeping/peace enforcement, same unit executes both.
Next slide.
This illustrates what we've done with two type units. We've taken a mech heavy battalion, a mechanized battalion, a Bradley battalion, and we've taken a light infantry battalion; we've reorganized them. You can see by the slide that we have given a tremendous number of systems to this unit that make it inherently combat-capable. Again, infantry assault. So we've got more infantry in this outfit than the mech infantry does; we have more infantry in this outfit than the light infantry battalion.
Next slide.
This is a complex picture - the situational awareness which goes to the force protection issues associated with this brigade.
If you're going to give up the M-1 tank, if you're going to give up the Bradley, you need to develop a protection for the unit, protection by visibility so that you establish contact with your enemy on an intellectual basis; the commander, when you paint a Blue and Red picture, where he understands the Blue Force, his own, he understands where he is, where his buddies are, and understands to the best degree possible what the Red picture is, where the enemy is. And all these systems develop that.
Upper right is - and I just want to illustrate one system - the Digital Topographic Support System. Now, that's a mouthful. But what we've got right now, we had - I was the operations officer for Army forces in Somalia. We had a battalion diverted in air over Egypt from Baledogle - en route to Baledogle, and changed their destination to Kismayu. We didn't have any maps in that battalion when they arrived. They were there. They deployed. They protected themselves. But they didn't have any maps, and we had to work hard and fast to deliver the maps. The DTSS, what we can do is download digitally through our pipes into the operation centers and print maps out, plus display them throughout the system on that situational awareness panel that we have in our vehicles, the FBCB2. Force XXI Battle Command, Brigade and Below, is what that stands for. But that's a television-like picture that allows the commander to see his world overlaid on a map sheet.
Next slide.
I'm going to go through some slides very quickly. Since we last - or since General Dubik talked to a lot of you about a year ago, we've done a tremendous amount of work in TRADOC, working what we call in TRADOC language the DTLOMS: doctrine, training, leader development, organizational characteristics of the unit, materiel solutions, and soldier support. That represents a tremendous amount of intellectual effort on the part of the schoolhouses - infantry school, armor, engineer and so on - to develop our doctrine, our tactics, techniques and procedures. That work is being validated by our troops and leadership out at Fort Lewis.
Next slide.
Some of the training. We have - and I'm going to go to the most important slide that I've got right here. Next slide.
This is a company live fire that I participated in as an observer with a battalion commander who is the primary. What that slide represents is a rapid over-road then overland infantry assault by an infantry company with our loaner fleet of LAV-3s. You're aware that we have 32 vehicles from the Canadian army working the training program with us. And that over-road, at 50 to 60 miles an hour, then overland, stop at a covered, and in some cases concealed position, drop the ramp, deploy your infantry to live fire, combined arms, day- night, non-illuminated assault of trenchline complexes; a very high-performance event.
My background is 10th Mount Division. General Keane, when he was the assistant division commander up there, started a live fire program and series that's intense. I mean, it is dynamic and a fair amount of confidence required on the part of the soldiers to execute that because you've got supporting fires coming in very close to yourself as you're executing.
Next slide.
Leader development. Upper right, we talk leader team training vignettes. The first time that we've done it was very, very successful - one week leadership working with each other, squad leaders up through brigade commander, so you get to know your boss in a vignette situation where you present a picture and it's now, "What now, Sergeant," "What now, Lieutenant," scenarios.
The first time American soldiers encountered a situation where women and children were pressing against them and snipers were occupying positions behind them, engaging them, was when it happened to them, live fire, in Somalia. We want our soldiers to go through that kind of thought process before they have to make that very hard decision on to engage or not engage. And we do that with that system - 80 vignettes that have been prepared so far, situational exercises.
Next slide.
Organization. We are manned. We have the troops on the ground right now. We are partially equipped. We are working the receipt of the vehicle that General Yakovac is going to talk about. But the organization is in place right now, partially equipped, equipment coming in right now; some of the more sophisticated items, we are working the command and control training, we are training to a very high standard right now out at Lewis.
Next slide.
A tremendous amount of equipment and new equipment training. And the bottom line - next slide - the youth of America is responding very, very well to a very high influx of sophisticated equipment coming in that they've got to absorb; they've got to learn.
And this isn't senior sergeants and officers who are doing the lion's share of the work; it's 18- and 19-year-old infantrymen coming out of Fort Benning, it's tankers coming out of Knox, and it is a very good-news story. And you'll have an opportunity to talk to some of these young soldiers out here later.
I believe that's my last slide. Slide off. And I'll turn it over to General Yakovac.
Yakovac: Good morning. I'm General Joe Yakovac. I'm the program executive officer for ground combat and support systems, and I'm responsible for delivering the family the capability of IAVs to Fort Lewis.
Up front, since the protest ended, we have worked very hard, both with the contracting team and with Fort Lewis and the Training and Doctrine Command to get back to the schedule that we had prior, when we briefed you all back in November, that we contracted for, and that's been very successful. We're very pleased to get back the time that we had lost during the protest, approximately three to four months, and we're pretty close to getting that back.
What I would like to do is run you through the capabilities, and what I will do is, rather than go through all of the configurations and variants, I will talk to the basic configuration, which is the infantry carrier, and then show you what the commonality pieces are and then what's specific. And what I could do if I had the time is show you a slide on each one of the configurations and say, "Here's what makes it different," but the bottom line you will see in the slide is the amount of commonality we have, and what makes them different are the mission equipment packages that go inside those configurations. And then I'll talk about the air transportability.
Next slide.
And I hope you have copies, because this is hard to see.
What I'm showing you here is what you've seen before; the total buy, 2,131, that goes to six brigades as well as the institutional Army, so there's more vehicles than what you would find in brigades, and we have to have training assets, et cetera. And what I list there are the configurations of the infantry carrier and the other variant being the mobile gun system. And you can see what the quantities are per brigade, or if it's just a float vehicle; that's any vehicle we buy, if a vehicle goes down, we have another vehicle to replace it with, if we have to. And then the TDA is just what goes out to the institutional Army - Fort Benning, Fort Knox, et cetera. So we have training assets in the schoolhouse.
Again, the commonality all comes down from the basic vehicle, which is the infantry carrier. And so every vehicle would have the capability - it's an eight-wheel vehicle, you already know that. High, hard steel is the basic armor package. And then a remote weapon station, not on all packages, but on the majority of packages, that mounts both a 50-cal and a 40mm grenade launcher.
We'll talk about the MGS, I think, more during the questions and answers. I don't intend to specifically get into that, except to say up-front it is the variant that has the longest research, development and engineering to be done to it. So what started that process? We're already on contract to deliver the first seven. Now, the other thing I'd like to say, and I'm not - is that what you see out front is not a prototype of this MGS in terms of its final configuration. That was what was bid. The final configuration that we're working on now is what we're doing in the R&D phase of that. So what you see out there is different from - if you look at the specifications for the mobile gun system, what will finally be delivered. And so make sure you understand that when you look at what's outside.
Next slide.
What I'm going to do is go through this, and if there are questions about each variant - configuration, I could take that later.
If you look at the things of supportability, survivability, mobility and transportability, those remain a constant until we go back when we selected the vehicle of commonality, and that commonality is based in every design. And so one of the things that allow us to pull a schedule in is the fact that we have a basic design and we add mission packages to it.
So if this - so if I go through the infantry carrier and mission capability, that's where it differs from other configurations, such as the mortar carrier. In this case, it's a nine-man squad - (inaudible) - crew, okay? We have the remote weapons station that is on it, and you show what you carry to include two Javelin missiles and the crew. Now, embedded in that is also the FBCB2 equipment, which is common across all, and the communications gear.
So you have that basic package for each configuration and then, if you would go to another configuration, the only difference would be in the mission capability. Everything else is the same, and that's what allows us, for ease of maintenance, for supportability, all of those things that we wanted in this unit to give us the overall capability logistically. It also helps me, as the materiel developer and the contractor, as we go through this, because once you have the basic design, you're just stuffing it with different mission packages, and that makes this much different than anything else I've been associated with as a materiel developer.
Next slide.
Up front, in the specification that we put out in the requirement for all the competitors, we sat down with MTMC and determined - not me, but the user community - what the requirement was for C-130 transportability. And that went into the specification and each competitor had to bid of how they would meet that requirement, and that's what this - that's what this vehicle does. It is roll- on/roll-off, it meets the capability as described by the user, not by me, to go from point A to point B.
The other point is that we don't anticipate C-130s going into a hot drop zone to get these vehicles off, and so what you have is a vehicle that's capable of coming off, doing minimal reconfiguration and being totally combat-ready - again, as defined by the user community.
Now, the thing we had to do as we went through this is, in order to be able to get it off and on the vehicle, there are some requirements, and I think some of you have read the studies, but one of the things is to get up the ramp and then make sure that you can fit in.
Well, one of the things we do that is with a height management system that will allow the vehicle to squat. So if you look at the fact that we have a central tire inflation system, you add to that a height management system so you could drive up and you could lower the vehicle five to eight inches. So that, depending on the configuration, you can drive right on.
And so that's inherent into the design. That's, again, based on us putting in a specification, the first time I know we've ever done this, working within a proposal - I mean in a request for proposal, to say here are the requirements you need to meet, and so when you bid this back to us, show us how you'll meet all of these. And so we were very specific up front as to what the requirement was, and a very detailed source selection process that said, okay, here's how they intend to meet it, and our evaluation of whether or not that was feasible. And so we're comfortable and confident that we have an interim family of vehicles that are, in fact, C-130 transportable as defined by the user community as to what they want that to be, the scenario that they want to be able to meet.
That's my last slide. And I'd like to invite Paul back up here. And I guess this is the point in time where you get to ask questions. And I'd like to apologize up front. I have either a cold or pollen, I don't know what it is, but if I start hacking, please understand and give me the benefit that it's not the question you asked - (laughter) - it's just the fact that I'm having some difficulty.
Gottardi: The only thing I would ask you to do, just direct your question by name. I know they look alike, and they think they're brothers.
Eaton: We actually started together, my first assignment, our first assignment.
Yakovac: We're very close friends, very close, for the last 27 years. So you might hear us say the same things.
How do we do this, just pick somebody, just randomly? Okay. (Off mike.)
Q: General Yakovac, this is just a CF question. It's about the fuel capability. Your 330-mile cruising range, is that combat loaded?
Yakovac: It is with a full tank.
Q: Uh-huh.
Yakovac: Okay? So again I go back to the requirement, from a deployability standpoint, what's the mission and what you carry. We know, and again, as we wrote this specification, as you're getting onto an aircraft, you don't carry a full tank.
So obviously, as you get off, that's the specification - when you have a full tank of fuel.
Q: Well, how do they - (off mike) - when there's no fuel? What's the logistic support --
Yakovac: Oh, they know. I mean, they have fuelers that will carry additional fuel. I mean - and you know, we carry on combat vehicles a small amount - you know, a 5-gallon fuel can or - but we don't carry enough to refuel itself, if that's your question. The vehicle doesn't refuel itself. We have to have fuelers that go along as part of a support element of the brigade combat --
Q: Right. Right. But how deep can they go? I mean, that's - the question is, if the vehicle is intended to move fast and hard, penetrate fairly deep into the territory, but then has to run all the way back --
Yakovac: Oh, no. I mean, it's like any other.
Eaton: (Off mike.)
Yakovac: Yeah. No, I think the question is, tactically, how do you do it?
Q: Right. Yeah.
Yakovac: I mean, it's just like when we made the sweep in the Gulf War, I mean, we had to have - depending upon how deep you want go, you're going to have to set up the plan such that you have a refuel capability. And that's all part of how you would operate, you know, as a - as executing whatever we had to do.
So that's inherent to any vehicle we have today. You have a certain tank, you go so far, and when you get so far, prior to getting to the end point, you're going to have to refuel. And that's all part of how you would execute the plan.
Eaton: Let me help you with the questions. Please?
Q: Could you explain how you're going to make the time that was lost during the protest phase and also give a more detailed fielding schedule for the most important variants - the ITB, the --
Yakovac: We're still working the details of when each variant and configuration arrives. But I will tell you what we did working with the contracting team. All I control is the up-front piece, okay, with them, and we were able to look at the production rates that we had anticipated back in November to say, "Here's what we could deliver." And within - that improved the monthly production rate, okay? And that buys back - brings back some of the time that we lost. And that's the major part of it on my end.
Now the other end that we don't get into too much in discussions is the back end. Once we get a vehicle produced, we have to ship it, we have to de-process it, and then we have to field it. Okay.
Historically, if I look at Abrams and Bradley or any other major system, we have said that that back-end time takes about 90 days. And so what we're looking at now, once we get a vehicle built, maybe shipped, can we, working both with TRADOC and forces command, look at those things I don't control?
As General Eaton said, you've seen the tremendous amount of training that's been done up there. When I first fielded Bradleys back in the early '80s, we were taking a unit from no knowledge of how to use a Bradley - tactics, techniques, and procedures - and we had X amount of time for new equipment training.
Well, as you can see, a lot of that has been done already. So the question is, when we introduce the vehicle, how much training do they need? So now we're going after the back end of this with them to see if we could get that done. So it's two pieces; the front end, which is mine and the contractors to look at, and we've done that by increasing monthly production. And then we're still looking at can we do something with this 90 days to push it.
Q: General Yakovac, could you talk about the various modular survivability packages? Do they mix and match? Are they either/or? And how do they travel?
Yakovac: Yeah, we have a basic package that will be on every vehicle, and that's the 14.5, and that's the basic steel hull, which is 7.62, and then a ceramic applique, which gives you - you add on to 7.62 to give you 14.5.
We also have a requirement for an add-on package if you go into a situation where the user, or who's going in, determined that you need more than 14.5. That will be similar to what we have today when we have Bradley add-on armor. That will be appliqued on top. And that will have to be sent - obviously, just like we do Bradley armor today, the Bradley's don't drive around with that. If we have a situation we go to, we get it to that unit, they deploy with it, and we apply it.
Q: General Eaton, you mentioned reorganizing a mechanized battalion and a light infantry battalion. Is either one harder than the other in terms of sort of adjusting your thinking and your approach to the job?
Eaton: Good question. The mech unit - the hardest part converting a mechanized unit is turning in the equipment, which is you have to prep it and turn it in, and the turn-in procedure is significant. They both have light infantry training characteristics. The mech unit is already vehicle-familiar; they've associated, man and system, together. The light infantry just needs to pick that up, but it's not a hard skill to pick up. So the transition is only complicated by the logistics in the mech arena in equipment turn-in.
Q: How many of the vehicles are in the hands of the Army now? When will the first unit be functional with the vehicle?
Yakovac: I don't get to call function; function is based on the commander on the ground saying I'm fully equipped, trained, et cetera.
Q: Approximately.
Yakovac: But we anticipate having - if you start off at a company level, going to a battalion, a brigade, in early spring of '02, our having assets on the ground to begin the process of building up to a brigade.
Q: When would you have --
Yakovac: It will take us approximately one year to get the entire complement of - we showed 309. But again, if you remember from November - maybe you don't - part of the initial brigade we would have in-lieu-ofs, okay? And so the in-lieu-of vehicles are not all IAVs.
For example, the Fox vehicle, we said up-front that the NBC vehicle would not be available, not so much because of the IAV itself, but because we haven't - what we did on that vehicle, we combined two programs. We combined this program with the ongoing R&D program. And so, taking the new mission equipment that has yet to be developed and hosting it in the NBC vehicle has now required us to take the Fox vehicle, initially, until we get to the third brigade, of being the NBC reconnaissance vehicle.
So if you add up all of the vehicles right now in the first brigade that we would need of IAV-configured, the number is roughly 290, and then the Delta is taken up by these in-lieu-ofs. So you're looking at '03.
Q: So by early spring, you'll have the 290?
Yakovac: I'm sorry?
Q: By early spring --
Yakovac: Yes.
Q: - next year you'll have the 290 in the hand.
Yakovac: Of '03.
Q: Of '03.
Yakovac: We will start in '02, so --
Q: But that's - (inaudible) - in '02 --
Yakovac: Right.
Q: - and a year later you should have --
Yakovac: We'll build up by company, battalion and brigade.
Q: - you'd have a functioning battalion, roughly.
Yakovac: Right.
Q: General, can I sharpen that a second? Back in November you laid out a first unit equip - this is the notional of March of '01. That's obviously missed. According to the GAO's protest materials that they released, now the objective GD says the best, most probable for the IAV is January of '02 - that's about a 10-month slip - IOC December '02.
Yakovac: I think what you're mixing is level of units, okay? And I have to go back a little bit. March '01 initially was a company set with in-lieu-ofs, okay? And that was never March of '01, it was always '02 under the IAV contract. And the schedule we're on now of the spring of '02 is pretty much - I said we went back, were able to produce enough vehicles to start the fielding process next spring.
Q: Later than - by how late - off your objective schedule? Isn't that about 10 months to a year?
Yakovac: No, again, if you remember back in November, we picked - we had an objective schedule that we put out in the RFP that we balance with capabilities and supportability.
So when we chose this vehicle to be the interim armored vehicle, that was never - that was an objective schedule. It was never the schedule that we were going to field this vehicle to. So you have to separate what we asked for as an objective in the RFP, and then what we selected as best value overall - schedule, logistics, supportability, commonality, and mission.
So we're very happy with the package we have and, obviously, what we determined was in that best value was giving up some schedule off the objective that we asked for.
Q: Well, it's confusing the answer, because a lot of people - back in November, the story line was you were 16 months behind your original schedule.
Yakovac: Sixty?
Q: Sixteen.
Yakovac: No, that - I don't argue that. That was the objective scheduling, okay? Again, go back to what I just said. It's not confusing. Thee objective schedule that we put in the request for proposal said, "Here's what we would like to have."
Q: Right. Yeah.
Yakovac: "You, industry, come in competitively and tell us what you can deliver to us." And as part of that source selection process, we weighed schedule along with other criteria, okay? When we selected this system then, the schedule that we showed you in November was, in fact, 16 months later than the objective that we asked for.
Q: And is there where you still are?
Yakovac: Yeah, we're pretty close to that; within a month, right now.
Eaton: Let me --
(Cross talk.)
Q: (Inaudible) - IOC and FUE, that might clear it up.
Yakovac: Yeah, FUE - First Unit Equipped - is what I do, okay? I provide equipment in sets, okay? And then we go out and train it. That's FUUE. IOC is Initial Operational Capability. That's called by the commander on the ground. He has a certain set of criteria that says, I raise my hand, I've trained this unit, as a unit, on its individual components; I've taken them through some sort of exercise and they're declared ready. So I don't do that part of it.
Q: What is the FUE, then, for the infantry combat vehicle, at this point?
Yakovac: We're looking at, like I said, early spring - depends on, again, I got to go back and say, what - of the brigade, early spring of '03.
Q: O-three.
Yakovac: For the brigade. And then I got to back up and say when we'll have battalion there, when we'll have a company there, et cetera, and that's what we're working with Forces Command.
Q: Well, the official initial operating capability, which I think was supposed to a company, under the RFP, I mean, when do you expect to have that?
Eaton: Let me address that.
Yakovac: I don't think that - I don't know if that's what we said, IOC, because we don't do IOCs in RFPs. We do FUEs. But go ahead.
Eaton: We're working through the IOC process right now. Our readiness regulation drives at man-train-equip. So in the second to third quarter of '03, we will see a brigade that is manned, that is equipped. The issue is training, at that point. We will conduct, between now and that period, a dominant amount of training to enable that unit to declare a training status. Once that brigade is equipped with the vehicles, the brigade commander will go through his own assessment and he will determine his readiness, based on the training task list that he has.
And at that point, he can say, I am equipped, I am manned, and I am trained to a T status - we go T-1, 2, 3, 4. And he will declare a training status. And at that point, senior leadership in the Army will determine whether or not this brigade is combat-capable and prepared for employment.
Q: Would you expect that to be by the end of '03 or into '04, or what?
Eaton: Oh, I would expect it to be - based on what I see right now of the training plan and what we're able to do, I am confident that this brigade can be delivered to the Army in the third quarter '03.
Yakovac: If I can recall something that was said before, what is different this time is because of the use of the surrogate vehicles that are extraordinarily similar to what the interim vehicle is going to be, they've been able to - on the tactics, doctrine and training side, they've actually been able to move ahead in the system that we've not been able to do before. So we've not really been in this position before; therefore, it's difficult to say - because what we're going to be doing is we're going to be coming up with a more highly trained force on that type of vehicle when we start to approach IOC than we've ever been before. Which I should point out, was an extraordinarily smart way to do it.
Q: The surrogate vehicle, is that the 32 from Canada?
Yakovac: Correct.
Eaton: Now, they're slightly different, but they're LAV-3s.
Yakovac: We have LAV-3s. We also have a gun system out there. We've had the FOX, obviously, that was used for the NBC recovery vehicle. We've used other vehicles to help that are similar.
When I talk about mission packages, I'm not putting any new mission package - for example, the improved TOW acquisition system, which is on the anti-armor vehicle, that is already in the inventory. We're just taking that improved TOW acquisition system and we're mounting it on that. So the training involved in going from what it is today, in terms of soldier-machine interface and how they shoot that TOW missile off the current piece of equipment, will be very similar. And that's the thing that I talked about before. In that back end, we're trying to work with TRADOC and Forces Command and see how much of that you could do before the vehicle ever gets there so that the training time that we normally had taken in new equipment training could be compressed.
Eaton: The people in the back of the room are mouthing threats at me - (laughter) - so I have to choose somebody back here.
Q: Thank you, sir. Will the soldiers in the brigades that use these vehicles be initially trained as 11-Bs, 11-Ms or some new MOS?
Eaton: The infantry center is going to a combination of 11- B and 11-M. So the answer is, they're 11-Bs. Those soldiers in the infantry battalions are 11-Bs, or 11-Cs, as far as the mortarmen go.
Yakovac: Yes, ma'am?
Q: What's the long-term acquisition funding outlook for this program? Do you have any readout from the Rumsfeld review process that you are, over the long run, going to get all the money you want?
Yakovac: I can only answer from my perspective, being the executor of the dollars right now in the budgets we've submitted, we're fully funded for the six brigades. And I have no interface with - until some decision is made and somebody tells us something different, that's what we are fully funded to do and contractually prepared to do.
Q: How much is that?
Yakovac: Total value? I'd - (inaudible) - talk ballpark --
Gottardi: No, we won't ballpark it. We'll get you --
Yakovac: Yeah. I mean, if I tell you, if I'm a billion off, then I - (off mike). (Laughter.)
Q: General Yakovac, back in November, I believe General Kearn said the chief was unhappy, I believe the word was, with the schedule as you had it at that time, and there was talk of trying to accelerate it. Are you trying to do that now, or just trying to make up three months lost?
Yakovac: Yeah, well, that's what I was talking about. We are trying to do both pieces I've got the front end, and we're not done yet. We're trying to do all we can. And then we have, again, the back end, that we talked about, and can we do anything in those 90 days to get that done. So we're not done yet. He's challenged us - in fact, we were in his office, what, three days ago, two days ago, and once again continued to challenge us - and the contractors are with me, it's not like we're in this alone - but is there anything more you could. And we're looking at that. We really are.
Q: Kind of a shotgun question here. The chief - one of the big gripes from the track mafia was you lose mobility in bad weather, bad terrain. How much have you tested thee wheeled vehicles in challenging terrain to see what mobility you lose? Another question is, what's the transport requirements to get this brigade from here to a combat zone? How many C-17s, C-5s or whatever it is --
Eaton: Two hundred seventeen C-17s to move this brigade combat team, which is half what it takes for a heavy brigade. As far as the mobility --
Yakovac: I can answer that. Part of the source selection process looked at that. And obviously, what we do today is we use terrain models, and there's been a lot of studies done, et cetera. But when you look at the mission and the overall package, again, if you remember what I said up front, when you look at a proposal, there are things that you evaluate, and they're traded off. Okay? And so the trade-off that you might have if you go to the argument of a difference in mobility was outweighed by the other capabilities that this gave to us. That was all part of the process.
So this is not, again, an issue - and I don't know what General Kearn said - to me of wheeled versus track. It was looking at an entire capability set and evaluating that capability set against all the offers. And that's from my perspective.
Gottardi: If I can inject something here, that's - I really urge you, after we're through here, to go down to the vehicles, where we've got the crews and the leadership. And these are the soldiers that have been training with these vehicles, you know, eight, 10, 12 months. And that will give you a real appreciation. They've been on ground doing this stuff, and many of them have experience with track vehicles and armor units, and they can give you a really, you know, depth, soldier-eye-view kind of appreciation --
Yakovac: I think the other answer is, if you realistically look at a mission, any missions you go into, part of, like Paul talked about, of doing an intelligence preparation on the battlefield, and you go in there looking at the terrain - it's go, no-go, slow-go, et cetera - and you plan your - again, your - what you're going to execute based on the capabilities that you have - so when you take things in isolation and just look at the capabilities, if they can go through that ditch or go over there, that's not as important as what you do when you deploy it and the scenario and how you would fight it. And that's how this was all looked at. It's a capability set.
Eaton: The majority --
Yakovac: It's not specifically as - is one better than the other in some situation, because you could play that all day. Some situations one is, and one isn't. But again, it comes down to a lot of variables that have to look at how would you complete the mission. And that's how this selection was done.
Eaton: The majority of the missions that we had in Somalia, in Bosnia, Task Force Hawk in Albania, Kosovo were over secondary roads. And this vehicle would do 60 miles an hour and in great crew comfort, so that they're not worn out by the time they get out of this vehicle. And it does go overland. We use it at Fort Lewis, which - we get a lot of rain out there, and it works just fine.
Gottardi: Ma'am?
Q: Do you know which units you're going to transform next? Will those all be mech or infantry?
Eaton: I do not know. I do not.
Gottardi: Yes, sir?
Q: Have you named this vehicle yet?
Yakovac: We will at the HFA in October. That's the goal right --
Q: Any hints? (Laughter.)
Yakovac: No, I don't have hints. So far, all I know is what I - you know, is to be prepared to do something when we do the ceremony. But in terms of what - there is an Army regulation that covers naming - I never knew that - based on weight of vehicle and classification of vehicle --
Eaton: And type.
Yakovac: - and type of vehicle. And man, if you follow the reg - that's the debate right now. What do you want to do? You want to follow the reg, or is this something you want to do differently? And so that's what they're looking at.
Gottardi: Ma'am?
Q: How are your tank guys adjusting to the idea that they're in a vehicle that is not as well-armored and is far more vulnerable to fire?
Eaton: If you're a dyed-in-the-wool 19-kilo M-1 tanker, you're just not going to come off the fact that you want to be a tanker.
And we're going to have tanks in our inventory for a long, long time, and they're only going to get better as we recondition them.
But - so we will allow those 19 kilos, and I'd have to defer to the armor center on how they're going to track our tankers and what kind of flexibility they're going to allow.
Q: (Laughing.) I don't understand the answer.
Eaton: Okay. We had a question back here on 11 Bravo, 11 Mike, and whether or not we're going to have one kind of infantry go through all systems.
Q: Right.
Eaton: The armor center - I'm not sure that their solution is right now on the tracking for their tank crewmen and for the MGS crewmen and for their scouts that will go into this RSTA - reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition squadrons. So I would need to give you a better answer --
Q: (Off mike) - question --
Gottardi: I think what - no, I think what Paul is telling you - this is not his lane, as far as the management of that particular MOS. But we can get you answer from the armor center and the chief of armor. That's a good question.
Q: Can I follow on? Let's go to the other side. I was interested in how quickly you sort of skated over "we just have to teach them to drive." There's - it strikes me, as an outsider, there's more to making the light people put into this thing, that it's more than learning how to drive. I mean, there's a whole mind-set of the light infantry and so on. Talk about that transition, because that's your --
Eaton: From a personal aspect, I command a light infantry battalion. I had never been in a tank, I had never been in a Bradley, and took command of a heavy brigade in Germany. And I turned myself over to the smart sergeants, to the master gunners, and in a period of two to three days, I was comfortable in driving the systems, in shooting the systems.
Now I was not proficient, but I had a comfort factor, so that I knew where to put my hands and feet. And that's the mentality that you're --
Q: I was thinking more about how you fight the unit, not how you operate --
Eaton: This is an infantry-centric organization. In fact, what this has really done - for the first time, as a light guy background, I don't have to carry a hundred-pound rucksack anymore. (Laughter.) I can leave all that heavy stuff in the vehicle.
Q: Yeah.
Eaton: And when I deploy out of there, I only take what I need for 24, 48, 72 hours. Seventy-two hours is our gate.
Now that means that you don't have to ruck up and carry that clue for the Javelin, which is 25, 28 pounds. And you just, if you need it, take it. But if you don't, you leave it in the track, and that two-man front end, the driver and the track commander, meet with you to deliver what you need.
Q: The bigger tip, though, is not in the light infantry; this is from the mech infantry down. They're used to having that firepower backing them up. When they into a situation that they can't handle with M-16s and grenades, they want something with a big bang. Isn't there more of a mental shift for the heavy mechs?
Eaton: And this goes to the question that we had right here as well. If you join the Army and you wanted to do nothing but sit behind the trigger of a 25-millimeter Bushmaster, it's like being a fighter pilot being told to fly bombers.
I mean, it's, you know, some people can make the transition, some people have a harder time. This is a full-spectrum force, infantry focused. And if you want to be an infantryman, this is the kind of system that you want to go to.
Q: A question about where are you at. Are any of the variants particularly more delayed than others? Has the three-month protest delay hit any systems in particular?
Yakovac: Not that I've seen so far. If I go back in time, we were very specific in the request for proposal as to what subsystems we wanted on these. And we gave all offers the specifications of what those were. Obviously, how they integrated them may have varied from system to system. So we go into this period with a baseline of what was proposed.
The delta that we're looking at now is getting soldiers, what we call user juries, into those configurations to say exactly, "Is it okay if I put this screen here, or do you want me to move it six inches to the left?" But the basic design of all of the configurations were bid. And now as we get in, we have what we call sets of that mission equipment available to the contractor so he can do what I just said, and start showing the user, other than pictures, where this would be.
But part of the source selection process, the user was involved, and he already saw what they had proposed. So we have, unlike other programs I have been on, we have a lot of that up-front work already done and now we're refining that configuration to meet soldier nuances as we go through it.
Gottardi: Our last question. Sir.
Q: General Eaton, from your experience, how helpful would it have been to have these vehicles in Somalia, when you were in Somalia?
Eaton: You just touched on an anecdote that I use in a lot of forums. I stood on a street corner one day and I watched 10th Mountain Division troops in trucks with sandbags and plywood, which is pretty much state of the art now as far as defeating a mine strike.
And they were - it was open top, the canvas was off, they were pointed outside, they were wearing flak vests and Kevlar helmets, and they were moving down the road at 25, 30 miles an hour in five-ton trucks, which are big and heavy. Right after they moved, a company of LAVs moved by, accelerating past 50 miles an hour, and only the LAV commander's head - was up, driver up; everybody else protected, and there was small arms fire.
That was a real memory point for me, and this LAV that we are going to use for our soldiers is a leap forward to protecting our troops.
Q: General, can I ask you follow-up on Somalia? You've studied, obviously, the rescue convoy that went in to rescue the Rangers, the U.N. convoy that was pulled together at the last minute by General Montgomery. To what extent would this brigade have bested that kind of effort, in terms of capability - I mean, in getting to the Rangers quicker, with less casualties?
Staff: That's speculation.
Q: But he's studied the thing, see, and he was there.
Eaton: The situational awareness that you - you can predict a better picture, a better understanding of where your soldiers are, of where your unit is, so you're going to have blue pictures a whole lot better. You're going to be protected to 14-5.
Q: Right.
Eaton: You're not going to be protected to generations-beyond anti-tank systems, but with (inaudible) it'll defeat up to RPG. This force, in those confines, would have protected the force infinitely better than the ad hoc force that we were able to muster to execute the rescue mission.
Gottardi: Something I neglected to mention before, we also representatives of the manufacturer, GM/GLS, and they'll be both here and down at the site where we have the vehicles. Again, I urge you, you know, take the time to walk a couple of minutes down there, talk to the soldiers and the commanders. They've got enormous experience with the vehicle. Again, it's down there on the pad, lower parade field.
Thank you very much.