The Army is working to develop new vehicles and more capability based on what soldiers need to fight in the future, the service's top officer said Thursday.
Using the new Army operating concept as a base, the service is running 20 warfighting challenges to identify "gaps and seams" in capability and determine how to fill those spaces, said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno.
"It's an integrated look across all of our branches and all of our centers of excellence, and we're saying, 'this is where the gap is,'" Odierno said. "I think we're coming up with much better solutions and identified near-term, mid-term and long-term gaps we need to invest in. I'm pretty excited about where we're headed."
For example, the Army is testing a light vehicle at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, that's designed to enable airborne troops to move quickly to an objective after they've parachuted in, he said.
The service also is looking at capabilities such as:
• Mobile protected firepower
• Vertical lift
• An infantry fighting vehicle
• Manned-unmanned systems
• And a "lighter tank-like capability," Odierno said.
This new process also will enable the Army to develop materiel more rapidly and work more closely with industry, Odierno said.
"I'm hoping in the next two years you'll start seeing some developments based on this analysis we've done, and we will really be able to identify this is what the systems we need," he said.
Odierno also said this new approach should improve the Army's procurement track record.
"One of the problems we've had in the past with our major programs is that we tried to build the perfect vehicle," he said. "The requirements were so high they were difficult, they took a lot of time, they were over-budget, and we couldn't meet them."
The Army is now "developing requirements that leave room for improvement," he said.
"As we develop a new system, we can do it quicker, and it may be 80 percent of what we want initially, but in the next iteration, it will be 90 percent, and then it'll be 100 percent," he said. "We've realized this, and I think the processes we're putting in place now are enabling us to do this. It should allow us to do it quicker, it should allow us to do it cheaper."