April 2, 2013
- November 06, 2012
- March 18, 2013
- July 11, 2012
- June 02, 2009
Technical Challenges of the U.S. Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle Program: Working Paper 2012-15
November 6, 2012
Bernard Kempinski and Christopher Murphy
The U.S. Army plans to spend about an additional $34 billion in 2013 dollars to develop and purchase a new armored vehicle for its infantry, the Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV). The GCV is supposed to operate across the full range of potential conflict types while providing unprecedented levels of protection for the full squad of soldiers it will carry. To achieve the Army’s goals, the GCV would weigh from 64 to 84 tons, making it the biggest and heaviest infantry fighting vehicle that the Army has ever fielded—as big as the M1 Abrams tank and twice as heavy as the Bradley, the Army’s current infantry fighting vehicle. Designing such a vehicle presents important technical challenges.
To aid the Congress in its oversight of the GCV program, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has prepared two reports. This CBO working paper provides background information for understanding the technical challenges that the program faces. It presents the Army’s technical goals for the GCV program, examines the threats that the vehicle could face in combat, and explores the variety of approaches that vehicle designers can take to protect the vehicle and its passengers and to meet the Army’s other requirements. A companion report, The Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle Program and Alternatives, examines the GCV program (including the number of vehicles, the production schedule, and the cost) and alternative approaches that the Army could take that would cost less but still provide substantial improvements over today’s fleet of combat vehicles.
Apr 2013 - CBO compares the Army’s plan for the GCV with four options and finds that, although no option would meet all of the Army’s goals, all are likely to be less costly and pose a smaller risk of delay than CBO expects for the Army’s plan.
Models Used by the Military Services to Develop Budgets for Activities Associated with Operational Readiness
February 14, 2012
The Military Services Use Models to Inform About Two-Thirds of Their Budget Request for Operating Forces
The Congress directed CBO to review the modeling techniques that the military services use to generate their budget request for activities associated with operational readiness. CBO focused on identifying models used to inform the operating forces portion of the services' base budgets for operation and maintenance. CBO included only those models used at the services' headquarters.
CBO found that:
- Models were used to inform about 67 percent ($53 billion) of the services' $79 billion budget request for the active-duty component of operating forces in 2012,
- Operating forces (also known as budget activity 01) accounted for 14 percent of DoD's $554 billion budget request in 2012, and
- Models are one of many inputs to the budgeting process.
Using models does not guarantee good budgeting; not using them does not equate to bad budgeting.
The Amount of Modeling Varies Among the Services
- The Army uses models to inform the largest portion of its budget request for operating forces (82 percent of the request); the Air Force models the least (45 percent).
- Most services model large portions of their budget requests for training and for peacetime operations.
- The services vary widely in the degree to which they use models to generate their budget requests for day-to-day operations at their facilities and bases.
- All services model most of their budget requests for maintenance conducted at the depot level.
Operating forces is the largest budget activity within the services' budgets for operation and maintenance. Funding for operating forces pays for the training of combat and support units, as well as the maintenance and operation of most service installations. CBO did not review budget models outside of the operating forces activity.
Definitions and Scope
For the purposes of this study, CBO defined a model as:
a set of mathematical relationships or similar logical expressions that link a military service's activities, such as training and maintenance, to the cost of those activities.
- Relied on the services themselves to identify and characterize any models used in forming their budget requests for operating forces, and
- Did not compare, audit, or validate the services' models or attempt to identify any deficiencies in them.
An Analysis of the Navy's Amphibious Warfare Ships for Deploying Marines Overseas
November 18, 2011
The Number of Amphibious Warfare Ships Falls Short of the Navy's Goal in 15 of the Next 30 Years
The Navy established a goal for a fleet of 33 amphibious ships in its 2012 30-year shipbuilding plan. Those ships are designed primarily to carry marines and their equipment into combat but also to perform other missions.
Under the current plan, between 2012 and 2041, the Navy will:
- Purchase 20 amphibious ships at a cost of about $50 billion,
- Retire 22 amphibious ships, and
- Meet or exceed the 33-ship goal between 2017 and 2031 but fall below the goal the rest of the time.
At any given time:
- About 30 percent of the total force of amphibious ships is deployed overseas conducting operations;
- About 74 percent is "deployable"—that is, in good material condition and with the crew sufficiently trained to perform a variety of missions;
- About 90 percent could be made available for an amphibious assault if the Navy had about three months to prepare.
Amphibious Force Meets Combatant Commanders' 2007 Request for Overseas Presence but Not Their 2010 "Unconstrained" Demand
In 2007, the combatant commanders requested nine ships for routine deployment. That request could be accommodated with the existing fleet.
By 2010, the combatant commanders asked for 18 ships. (The number increased because the combatant commanders were being asked about "unconstrained" demand—how many ships they wanted in the absence of any fiscal or force structure constraint.)
Meeting the request for 18 ships with the existing force would substantially increase deployment time and reduce time in ships' home ports.
Over a 27-month (117-week) operating cycle:
- Deployment time would more than double—from 26 weeks to 62 weeks.
- Time in home port would fall from 57 percent to 36 percent, well short of the Navy's goal of 50 percent.