NBC News posed the following 29 questions to the U.S. Army on Dec. 28, 2006. The Army responded with the two statements that follow the questions.
I. Status of the Raytheon System
- When will the Raytheon active protection system (APS) — to use precise acquisition terminology — be ‘qualified and ready?’
- When will the Raytheon APS be finished with all of its testing, fully integrated and actually deployed in the field protecting US soldiers?
- Back in June, Col. Donald Kotchman told us that the earliest Raytheon’s system could be fielded is 2011. Is that still the case?
- On Sept. 21, 2006, Gen. Sorenson testified to Congress that Raytheon’s system will be ready to “hang on a vehicle” in 2008. Exactly what was Gen. Sorenson suggesting the Army will be ready to hang on a vehicle in 2008? A system that’s fully ‘qualified and ready’ or a ‘black box’ with an APS capability?
- What is the Army doing to integrate Raytheon’s APS on current force systems?
- Has the Army -- not Raytheon, but the Army -- tested the Raytheon system yet?
- When will the Raytheon system be tested under circumstances like those Trophy endured in April 2006 at Dahlgren (i.e. mounted on an Army vehicle… that is on the move… and simultaneously engaging incoming RPGs from two sides)?
- In letters and testimony to Congress, the Army has asserted that the best proof that Trophy isn’t ready for primetime is the fact that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have yet to integrate and field the system. Given that the IDF is currently doing just that, has the Army changed its position?
- The Army has told Congress that Trophy presents an unacceptable risk to soldiers and civilians who are near the system when it engages an incoming RPG. Is that still the Army’s position?
- Has the Army conducted any tests to determine the degree of risk that Trophy poses?
- Has the Army conducted any tests to determine the degree of risk that the Raytheon system poses?
- The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and Ministry of Defense say they’ve conducted extensive tests and found Trophy presents less than a 1 percent increase in risk to troops/civilians. Under Army guidelines, is "less than a 1% risk" acceptable for a weapons system?
- Has the Army asked the government of Israel for its fratricide data on Trophy?
- In the Army’s view, does reactive armor adequately protect against so-called tandem or double warheads like those found on the RPG-29, the Metis and the Kornet?
- Are these weapons capable of defeating reactive armor?
- Does the Army stand by its statements — to Congress as well as NBC News — that the Army has never considered Trophy a threat to FCS?
- Does the Army’s opposition to Trophy have anything to do with FCS?
- To your knowledge, has any Army official (civilian or uniformed) threatened anyone involved with Trophy/FSEP program?
- Has the Army disciplined any Army official (civilian or uniformed) for misconduct of any kind related to Trophy/FSEP?
- Can you confirm or deny that Gen. Charles Cartwright actively campaigned against Trophy?
- Can you confirm or deny that Gen. Cartwright told subordinates that OFT was ‘playing in his lane’ by working on an active protection system?
IV. Timeline Issues
- On Sept. 21, 2006, Gen. Sorenson testified to Congress as follows: “[T]he test report that we got in from our testers said, at best, even with Trophy system, at best, today if we had the system, and get it integrated, to get it tested, and then ultimately get fielded, we're looking at 2008 at best.” We have information, however, suggesting that the Army’s testers believed Trophy could be fielded at the very latest in 2007. How do you explain this discrepancy?
- How does the Army account for the strikingly different outcomes of the May 2006 APS Trade Study and the July 2005 APS analysis conducted by a joint team of Army and Navy engineers?
- Does the Army believe more weight should be given to the May 2006 Trade Study? If so, why?
V. Removing Trophy from FSEP
- The Army has given Congress different explanations at different times about who exactly was responsible for taking Trophy off of FSEP. Which of the following explanations (see i-iv below) are still operative?:
i. 6 Sep 06 Army Information Paper: “OFT made the decision not to include Trophy on the FSEP vehicles”…”The OFT decided not to include Trophy on the FSEP vehicles being deployed to Iraq next year.”
ii. 7 Sept. 06 Army Information Paper: “The JRAC (in coordination with CENTCOM) made the decision not to include Trophy on the FSEP vehicles.”
iii. 8 Sept. 06 Army Information Paper: After receiving feedback from CENTCOM and after consulting with the Joint Staff J-8, the Army Test and Evaluation Command, the OSD Director for Operational Test and Evaluation, the Training and Doctrine Command, and the Army’s PM, the Director, JRAC agreed to proceed with FSEP Spiral 1 without APS…”
iv. 19 Sept. 06 Letter to a SASC member: “The Director of the DOD Joint Rapid Acquisition Cell (JRAC), in coordination with the United States Central Command, decided not to use Trophy on the FSEP vehicles. This was not an Army decision.”
- In a Sept. 8, 2006, Information Paper sent to Congress, the Army asserted that “technical immaturities with the Active Protection System (APS) led the Army…to request a delay in the fielding of the system.” But an Army briefing obtained by NBC News shows that the Army cited “FCS decision” as a basis for delaying Trophy. Does the Army stand by the statements made in the paper?
- The Army maintains that it did nothing to block or frustrate OFT’s efforts to put Trophy on FSEP. Why then did the Army prohibit OFT from using a U.S. Army Stryker to test Trophy?
- On Sept. 21, 2006, Gen. Sorenson testified to Congress that “the Army is committed to making sure our soldiers have the best force protection capability and active protection systems available.” If that’s in fact the case, why on April 6, 2006, did the AR2B affirmatively choose to reprogram $31.3 million worth of funding that was supposed to address urgent calls from commanders in Iraq for for an active protection system?
- What did the Army do with the $31.3 million it reprogrammed?
Statements from the U.S. Army
"The U.S. Army is dedicated to ensuring our Soldiers deploy with the best force protection capability and active protection systems available. The Army is proactively addressing the Rocket Propelled Grenade threat in Iraq. The Army has developed and currently deployed an effective suite of countermeasure systems and continues to upgrade and modernize this capability for our Soldiers. We will not procure or field any active protection system not operationally ready or safe — nor will we give our Soldiers a false sense of security regarding effectiveness. We owe it to our Soldiers and their families to provide our Soldiers with the proper equipment necessary to survive enemy threats. The Army is proceeding diligently and methodically on a path to obtain the best single short-range active protection systems to upgrade current RPG countermeasure capabilities for current force systems as soon as possible. In parallel, we are developing common full-spectrum countermeasure systems for future and current combat systems. Both current and future systems will be robust, effective, safe, and upgradeable."
-- Maj. Gen. Jeff Sorenson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology) for Acquisition and Systems Management
"To counter future threats, the Army has embarked on a holistic approach towards survivability, including leveraging the network for improved situational awareness, reducing signature management, improving ballistic protection, modifying operational tactics, and pursuing hit avoidance. In the context of military ground combat vehicles, hit avoidance comprises technologies that enable defeat of the threat prior to its impact with the vehicle. The hit avoidance requirement for our future force is a 360-degree hemispherical "bubble" of protection to our combat platforms. Currently, the Future Combat Systems (FCS) program and Program Evaluation Office (PEO) Ground Combat Systems (GCS) are developing a full-spectrum solution to counter short (first priority)- and long-range threats, which include a wide range of ballistic projectiles: RPGs, mortars, antitank guided missiles, tank-KE/HEAT, top attack/precision guided missiles, and large caliber cannon. The Army solution will be common to the current and future force and capable of receiving upgrades over time to meet the evolving threat."
-- Maj. Gen. Charles Cartwright, Program Manager, Future Combat Systems (FCS), Brigade Combat Team (BCT)