Monday, March 28, 2005

Sticker shock and awe

An Army Program to Build a High-Tech Force Hits Cost Snags (The New York Times)

    The Army's plan to transform itself into a futuristic high-technology force has become so expensive that some of the military's strongest supporters in Congress are questioning the program's costs and complexity.

    Army officials said Saturday that the first phase of the program, called Future Combat Systems, could run to $145 billion. Paul Boyce, an Army spokesman, said the "technological bridge to the future" would equip 15 brigades of roughly 3,000 soldiers, or about one-third of the force the Army plans to field, over a 20-year span.

    That price tag, larger than past estimates publicly disclosed by the Army, does not include a projected $25 billion for the communications network needed to connect the future forces. Nor does it fully account for Army plans to provide Future Combat weapons and technologies to forces beyond those first 15 brigades.

    Now some of the military's advocates in Congress are asking how to pay the bill. More here (registration required)

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