News 1998 Army Science and Technology Master Plan

Other S&T Initiatives

Advanced Concepts and Technology (ACT II)

The ACT II 6.2 program competitively funds industry at the $10–$20 million per year level to participate in TRADOC battle lab warfighting experiments. A more comprehensive explanation is presented in Chapters II and VII. ACT II highlights are:

Funded simulation and field tests at battle labs
New concept evaluation by the battle labs
Proposals from industry/academia through annual broad agency announcements (BAAs)
Contract management through lead research, development, and engineering centers (RDECs) supporting battle labs
Funding (6.2)—$10–$20 million per year FY95–03.

Manufacturing Technology Objectives

A robust, well–focused S&T program is essential for the Army to achieve its goal to provide the warfighter with the most capable, advanced weapon systems. However, particularly in the current budget–constrained environment, even the most promising systems conceived and developed in the S&T program will never reach the field if they are too expensive to produce. This is because the manufacturing "cost–drivers" for a system are often not addressed until the system is ready for production. Typically, there is little or no incentive for industrial providers to implement changes in processes or technology to effect manufacturing cost reductions, so that "affordability of production" is an issue that rarely gets addressed early in the program cycle.

The Manufacturing Technology (MANTECH) program in budget category 7.8 offers an opportunity to address affordability in a serious way as early in the cycle as possible. The goal of MANTECH is to provide essential manufacturing technologies that will enable the affordable production and sustainment of future weapon systems. Beginning in FY98, the Army is implementing a new initiative to refocus and strengthen MANTECH. Using the STO construct as a model and the ASTWG process as a vehicle for moving the MANTECH program into the Army S&T mainstream, the Army has devised a MANTECH strategy in which MANTECH funds will be leveraged with the funds of multiple PMs to address a few selected cross–cutting manufacturing issues that promise maximum overall impact, preferably supporting several existing planned development programs.

At the heart of this strategy is the creation of a small number of Manufacturing Technology Objectives (MTOs), analogous to STOs, comprising general and specific objectives. MTOs will be managed by MTO managers and have designated PEO/PM customers. Each MTO will be planned for a 3–5–year period and funded at $1–$3 million per year. In addition, there also will be a number of manufacturing demonstrations (MDs) funded at the $0.3–$1 million per year level.

The Manufacturing Technology Technical Council (MTTC), which reports to the ASTWG, will review annually the MANTECH program and approve the MTOs as required. The MTOs approved by the MTTC will be forwarded to the ASTWG for final approval. Within the next several years, as the new MANTECH approach demonstrates that significant cost savings can be achieved with relatively small investments in manufacturing technology early in development, the Army leadership believes that there will be a reversal in the downward funding trend that has been associated with MANTECH in the recent past. In the future, MTOs, in addition to the two hundred Army STOs, will make up the centerpiece of the Army S&T program.

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