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I knew there was something about JSTARS which caught my attention, but forgot what it was ... it's related to the procurement process:
Dec 30, 2016
Wednesday at 10:08 PM
indeed: "Congress handed down guidelines in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act requiring the Air Force to work only with a fixed-price contract — locking in a price and putting the company on the hook for cost overruns. Yet the NDAA also made a provision for the defense secretary “to waive this limitation if the Secretary determines such a waiver is in the national security interests,” the release states."
Air Force Launches $6.9 Billion JSTARS Competition
source is DefenseTech
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where's
Brumby
anyway? hope he's alright and just quit here ...
 
now I read
Senator: The Submarine is America’s ‘Strategic, Decisive Edge’
There was an air of optimism in a crowded room in the basement of the Rayburn Building on Capitol Hill, where dozens of congressmen, staffers and defense industry executives gathered in a crowded room to hammer home the importance of the submarine to the U.S. Navy and the nation, and to the industrial base that builds them.

On March, 1 the Submarine Industrial Base Council (SIBC) held its annual Supplier Day, which gives the companies that build components for submarines the opportunity for their representatives to lobby their congressmen in person. Several senators and representatives of states where the components are built addressed the gathering in short speeches that sometimes gave the event the air of a pep rally.

The speakers, veterans of the Hill and new representatives, spoke of the contributions their states or districts make to building — or in one case retiring the reactors of — the Navy’s submarines.

Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and in whose state major structures of submarines are assembled by 3,600 Electric Boat employees, recalled that the Submarine Caucus was formed in 1991 to protect the Seawolf-class attack submarine and stressed the caucus’s value today.

“The submarine is the strategic, decisive edge we have, technologically,” Reed said. “The [Columbia-class ballistic-missile] submarine is the most critical part of the [nation’s nuclear] triad.”

“We are in a century of undersea warfare and cyber,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. “That is our future.”

The Navy’s submarines, Blumenthal said, “make sure we will never have a fair fight.”

Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., credited the SIBC with helping to get Congress to authorize the Columbia-class submarine, noting that “the Columbia class is in really good shape. That doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Getting suppliers from all across the country is key to the success in getting members [of Congress] to pass the budget.”

“Our submarine industrial base is critical to where the Navy needs to be,” said Rob Wittman, R-Va., chairman of the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee, noting that the current status of shipbuilding will help the Navy to grow its fleet.

“We have hot production lines with mature designs,” Wittman said. “It is the submarine that is key to that Navy presence around the world.”

Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., stressed the importance of training new shipyard workers and engineers to keep a “strong, highly skilled defense capacity” and expressed hope that federal funding would be applied to accomplish such training. She said that General Dynamics Electric Boat is hiring 2,000 workers in 2017, with 1,350 of them in the company’s Groton, Conn., facility.
source:
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Air Force Brat

Brigadier
Super Moderator
I knew there was something about JSTARS which caught my attention, but forgot what it was ... it's related to the procurement process:
Dec 30, 2016
where's
Brumby
anyway? hope he's alright and just quit here ...
Yep, I've tried to shoot him a PM, no reply, I think he was having some vision issues??? or something, course some folks were snotty to him,,, I just hate it, we lose these great friends who are honest enough to tell us the truth!
 

TerraN_EmpirE

Tyrant King
Sniper shortage: Too many Marines are washing out of sniper school
By:
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March 5, 2017 (Photo Credit: Sgt. James R. Skelton.)
The Marine Corps is facing a “critical gap” of scout snipers due to the high washout rates at sniper school, so the Corps is looking at changes to how the elite sharpshooters are trained, officials said.

The graduation rate for scout snipers school for the past several years has been down significantly. An uptick in 2016 bumped the graduation rate to about 44 percent; but that remains well below the nearly 56 percent graduation rate in 2012, according to Training Command.

“The significant causes of attrition in the course are in practical application evaluations, which includes stalking, marksmanship and land navigation,” Training Command said in a statement to Marine Corps Times. “The eligibility requirements and training requirements have not been made more difficult.”

The one-shot, one-kill capability that snipers bring to the battlefield continue to be invaluable in protecting troops and civilians from enemy fighters – including enemy snipers. Snipers also support infantry battalions with forward reconnaissance and observation. And they are often used to boost force protection, especially at U.S. embassies, where security has intensified during the past several years.

Having scout snipers on the battlefield will be even more important given the types of environments where Marines will likely fight in the future, a Marine Corps official said.

But the Marine Corps has determined that it has a shortfall of scout snipers, said Maj Henry Nesbit, deputy infantry advocate for the Ground Combat Element Branch of Plans, Policies, and Operations.

“While we remain proud of those who achieve the hard-earned right to be a scout sniper, we recognize that there is a critical gap that must be addressed," Nesbit said.

To boost the graduation rates for student snipers, the Marine Corps is overhauling the way those Marines are trained.

Until now, scout snipers have honed their skills in a single training program where they learn critical skills that include blending into any environment, moving without drawing attention and hitting targets at long distances.

Starting this spring, however, the Corps will experiment with breaking up the training into two parts and, in between, giving those Marines time on an operational unit, a Marine Corps official said.

“Traditionally, there’re two areas that challenge our students: one is stalking and the other is the marksmanship skills,” the Marine Corps official said.

“The intent is to give a sniper student the basic skills they need to join their unit under seasoned scout snipers,” the official said. “Then they will be doing [on-the-job-training] out in the operating environments and doing certain skills, holding certain billets at a lower level in their teams to gain that experience and be mentored and coached under the senior scout snipers of their unit prior to going to the advanced course – and having a greater chance of success.”


A Marine student undergoing the 2nd Marine Division Combat Skills Center Pre-Scout Sniper Course looks through an M40A5 sniper rifle at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 6, 2016.
Photo Credit: Cpl. Paul S. Martinez.
“The Marine Corps understands the importance of that capability,” the official said. “So we’re looking at ways to be able to increase throughput and enhance our training. That’s why we’re doing this.”

Many details of the planned experiment have yet to be worked out, such as how many student snipers would participate and what requirements they would have to meet to move from the basic to advanced course, officials said. Breaking the training course in two and having the students spend time with units will lengthen the overall training.

“It’s not finally approved,” the official said. “It’s predecisional. I don’t want to get ahead of the commandant on this one. We’re testing the concept at this point.”

Battalions select infantry Marines at the rank of lance corporal and above for the training, which is held at School of Infantry-East at Camp Geiger, North Carolina; School of Infantry-West at Camp Pendleton, California; and Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia.

To earn the scout sniper military occupational specialty, infantry Marines must currently complete a three-week indoctrination course and the 79-day Scout Sniper Basic Course.

One challenge the Marine Corps faces in filling out Scout Sniper platoons is that many of the Marines completing the course are nearing the end of their first term of enlistment.

Top Marine Corps officials are reportedly considering a plan to make the scout sniper military occupational specialty, 0317, into a primary MOS, which would allow recruits to come into the Corps and move directly into a sniper training pipeline, according to a report from the online publication We Are the Mighty.

A Marine Corps spokesman declined to confirm that such an option was being looked at. “The Marine Corps is currently assessing the best way to train and sustain its scout snipers,” said Maj. Clark Carpenter.

Inside the scout sniper community

Typically the Marine Corps has up to 300 or so trained scout snipers across the force, said Caylen Wojcik, a former Marine staff sergeant who served as a scout sniper from 1998 to 2005.

Being a scout sniper involves many technical skills, such as camouflage field-craft, mission planning and marksmanship, said Wojcik, who taught at the scout sniper basic course for three years. Without prior training, it is difficult for Marines to successfully complete sniper school, he said.

“As an example, before I went to school, I went through a regimental pre-sniper course, which was six weeks long,” Wojcik said in an recent interview. “A significantly higher percentage of attendees at the regimental course graduated the division course because they were prepared.”

Wojcik, who sits on the board of the United States Marine Corps Scout Sniper Association, said the Marine Corps' need for scout snipers comes in waves, typically ramping up during intense combat and ebbing when things calm down, he said.

“Generally during a wartime scenario, a commander sees the benefit of scout snipers on the battlefield and he says, ‘I want you guys everywhere; I need you guys everywhere,” because a sniper is probably the ultimate force multiplier on the battlefield,” Wojcik said.

When operations wind down and those commanders move on, they leave a vacuum in institutional knowledge about how best to use scout snipers, he said.

The scout sniper community itself also sees a very high rate of turnover because once Marines become staff sergeants, their primary MOS becomes 0369 – Infantry Unit Leader – and that means they will be sent to whichever unit the Marine Corps deems necessary, Wojcik said.

Without any career progression in their community, the only way scout snipers can keep doing their jobs is by becoming reconnaissance Marines, he said.

Wojcik said he believes that scout snipers should have their own company to reduce the turnover rate. That unit’s various platoons would then be attached to infantry battalions as needed, he said.

“What I see would be the most beneficial for that MOS is to be able to have career progression,” Wojcik said. “In an ideal world … all that leadership would be qualified scout snipers so that they have a thorough, in-depth understanding of what those Marines do and what they’re capable doing. That’s going to allow them to best support that unit.”

'It's not meant for everybody'

A scout sniper platoon works directly for the battalion commander and may be tasked to provide support to maneuver units or may operate separately, officials said.

Scout sniper teams are assigned to surveillance and target acquisition platoons, which fall under a battalion’s intelligence section, said Gina Cavallaro, author of the 2010 book “Sniper: American Single-Shot Warriors In Iraq And Afghanistan.”

“They are trained to conduct close surveillance and intelligence-gathering missions and long-range marksmanship,” said Cavallaro, a former Army and Marine Corps Times reporter. “Recon Marines are trained as snipers as well, but their missions support larger regimental or brigade level operations and they are part of the special operations community, often working in a joint tactical environment. They gather intelligence for big amphibious operations and also execute direct action missions.”

As an elite force, scout sniper teams have “one of the most dangerous jobs on the battlefield,” so it make sense that the required training is hard, she said.

“Everyone wants to be a scout sniper but it’s just not meant to be for everybody,” Cavallaro said. “It takes discipline and maturity and skill. Anybody can pick up a rifle and shoot a target. But to be sniper you have to really be switched on.”
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TerraN_EmpirE

Tyrant King
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By
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on December 12, 2016 at 4:00 AM
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300SHARES
When V-22 Ospreys full of Marines take to the skies 10 years from now, they could be escorted by armed high-speed drones called MUX.

That’s become the Marine Corps plan because drones let you do things differently. Doing without a pilot inside makes it possible to build
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. You can also test unmanned aircraft more quickly, because you don’t have to validate pilot safety features, and because crashes don’t cost human lives. So the Marines figure they can get the MUX — a new
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— four to seven years before the Army-led
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(FVL) project starts replacing existing helicopters with advanced, far speedier
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VTOL aircraft.


A model of the Bell V-247 concept on Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Jon Davis’s desk.

The Marine Corps’s rotorcraft requirements director, Col. John Barranco Jr., told me after a
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that his service wants the drone first because “we have a gap that the Army does not have.” Specifically, the Corps needs an armed escort for its
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, which at 250 knots (287 mph) cruise more than twice as fast as its AH-1Z Cobra gunships. The Army doesn’t have that problem because the Army transports troops in conventional helicopters.

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and a
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team are building manned technology demonstrator aircraft under the FVL umbrella — the V-280 Valor and SB>1 Defiant, respectively — that will be required to fly fast enough to escort an Osprey. First flights are scheduled next year. But no production FVL aircraft are expected until the early 2030s.

By contrast, “we’re trying to accelerate MUX and field it in 2026,” said Barranco, using the acronym within an acronym adopted for the sea-based drone. (MUX stands for MAGTF Unmanned eXpeditionary; MAGTF, in turn, stands for Marine Air Ground Task Force). For manned aircraft, Barranco said, “we have a lot of testing requirements. A lot of the burden in test is really related to aviation life support systems, air crew survivability, which we don’t have in an unmanned system. Crashworthiness. G-(force)-compliance for the air crew.” Since that won’t be needed for a drone, he said, “MUX could fill that gap, temporarily, to escort the Osprey.”

Obligingly, Barranco then posed and answered a pertinent question: “Why temporarily? Why not permanently?” Because, he explained, “You have to escort to the objective area and from the objective area. (That’s) kind of defeating some of the purpose and advantage that an unmanned system gives you, which is overhead persistence in the target area.”


Tern, DARPA’s proposed ship-launched drone.

Lt. Gen. Jon “Dog” Davis, deputy Marine commandant for aviation,
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the Corps wants the MUX to do everything the Air Force’s fixed-wing MQ-9 Reaper drone can do and more. The Reaper, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems’ derivative of their MQ-1 Predator, offers airborne endurance in the 20-hour range; carries sensors to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR); and is typically armed with four AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-ground missiles and four 500-pound guided bombs.

Barranco said what the Marines primarily want the MUX to do is, when an assault is being mounted, “go ahead of you, get over the target area, show you that picture, stay there once troops are on the ground, and when you have to go back, be there when you come to resupply, be there when you come back, to do close air support, give you that persistent SA (situational awareness).” Escorting Ospreys to and from objective areas would sacrifice the ability to loiter over the target area, he said, but the MUX “can be a gap-filler temporarily for the seven or eight years until FVL starts coming on line to be our manned solution to provide escort in support of our Ospreys.”

Davis has said a relay of MUX could also serve as an airborne “picket line” around ships, which is one reason Bell Helicopter has named a tiltrotor drone it is offering for the job “V-247,” pronounced “vee-twenty-four-seven” to emphasize the potential for round-the-clock operations. Other contenders for MUX include a tail-sitter flying wing called
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, which is being developed by Northrop Grumman for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and a Karem Aircraft tiltrotor called Swift.


Karem Swift

The powerful
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(JROC) approved moving ahead with the MUX on Oct. 27 and the Marines will conduct an official Analysis of Alternatives next year. The JROC has also approved the much larger FVL program.

Barranco and two Army colonels on the FVL panel at CSIS indicated the services are gradually coming to agreement on broad requirements for the first aircraft to be developed, known for now as “Capabilities Set 3,” or as insiders say it, “cape set three.” In the past, Army leaders have been a lot less enthusiastic than the Marines about paying more for faster aircraft, since they generally operate over shorter distances. But Army Col. Erskine Bentley,
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Capabilities Manager for FVL, began his remarks by noting the strategic and tactical advantages faster VTOL troop transports could offer his service.

“The three panelists highlighted the broad support of the Army, Navy/Marines and SOCOM (Special Operations Command) for FVL within their services,” said
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, executive director of the American Helicopter Society International. “There’s also growing support in Congress for FVL and accelerating it. Advocacy in the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill is going to need to be strengthened for that to happen.”

Maybe they could speed things up by taking the humans out of the
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, too.
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FORBIN

Lieutenant General
Registered Member
Maybe posted ? in addition than planned plus 1 Burke, 1 LCS and 1 amphibious transport dock
with also 14 Super Hornets a good point

Defense spending bill increases US Navy's shipbuilding funds
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The true ramp up after normaly + 30 or 54 billions $ i see.


The expansion of the Chinese Navy confirmed by an Admiral
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They going for + 1/3 of MSCs you are warned...

Normaly decrease in size for Army and possible a bit for AF possible new fighters don' t replace one by one older as since 1990 they had about 3500 fighters-bombers now AF 2100 remains consequent !
 

TerraN_EmpirE

Tyrant King
Future of Army Combat: McCain Wants Ambition, Army Offers Caution
By SYDNEY J. FREEDBERG JR.on February 28, 2017 at 4:00 AM


CAPITOL HILL: Sen. John McCain wants an ambitious plan for new ground vehicle designs and new kinds of combat units from the Army. So does the Heritage Foundation, which has provided much of the brain power for the Trump administration. But the Army isn’t on board: Burned by past program meltdowns like FCS and GCV. the service is focused on incremental upgrades to existing weapons,

McCain & co. have plenty of suggestions. As Senate Armed Services staffer (and retired Army colonel) James Hickey reiterated today at a Lexington Institute briefing on Capitol Hill, McCain’s recent white paper calls for


leap-ahead investment in new technologies “such as electronic warfare (jamming) and unmanned ground vehicles (robots)”;
new unit organizations such as “Multi-Domain Combat Brigades” with long-range missiles and offensive cyber, or reconnaissance-strike brigades riding new combat vehicles, such as
a new design for a multi-mission ground combat vehicle, albeit using existing components to save time and money;
a new “highly maneuverable, short-range air defense system” to accompany combat units and protect them from drones, helicopters, and attack aircraft;
“major investments” in Army missiles and munitions, both defensive — like Patriot and Stinger — and offensive — ATACMS, Guided MLRS, and the Paladin howitzer; and
rapidly upgrading five of the Army’s nine active-duty Armored Brigade Combat Teams to the latest models of existing vehicles, the new Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle, plus Active Protection Systems (APS) to stop incoming anti-tank missiles.
The Army is upgrading its brigades, but at a pace of one every three years, which will take three decades to transom the regular active-duty force. (The National Guard gets upgraded… someday). Similarly, the service wants to do almost everything on McCain’s list some day, but those new weapons systems won’t happen until the 2020s or much later.


“The level of investment in my portfolio is unacceptably low,” said a blunt Maj. Gen. David Bassett, the Army’s Program Executive Officer for Ground Combat Systems. “Sometimes I’m asked, ‘do you really think it’s a good idea to keep the Abrams tank until 2050?’ No, (but) you develop a strategy for the resources that you have…. What we haven’t done is give you a strategy for the resources that we don’t have.”

The service is coming up with what Bassett calls a “more aggressive” long-term modernization plan, but it is also understandably gun-shy about getting out ahead of the Pentagon, the White House, and Congress by proposing its own, much bigger budget. And the Army was twice burned (at least) since 2009 by cancellations of ambitious and innovative, but ultimately impracticable programs.

“I have no desire to develop the next UCV, the Unaffordable Combat Vehicle,” Bassett said. “In the past, technology was going to become that great thing that kept us from making tradeoffs…so our requirements community would sit like Linus in the pumpkin patch, waiting for the great pumpkin of technology to deliver capability that was absolutely everything they wanted. And the Great Pumpkin never came, and we lost generations of modernization.”


So the service prefers a low-risk approach. In fact, the Army feels well positioned for any Trump build-up because it has an array of “shovel-ready” modernization programs:

improving the M1 Abrams tank and M2 Bradley troop carrier,
rebuilding the M109 Paladin howitzer with an all-new automotive system,
and building the new Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV), a utility workhorse that’s basically a Bradley without a turret.
“We now have upgrades for every single platform in the ABCT (Armored Brigade Combat Team) just about ready to go,” said Bassett. “Those systems today are nearly shovel ready, ready for production dollars, and we can turn industry on to produce them.” There are parallel programs with the medium-weight, eight-wheel-drive Stryker armored vehicle, which is gradually getting automotive upgrades and heavier guns. If Trump and Congress provide more funding than planned — which isn’t guaranteed — then the Army can just dial up production and modernize brigades faster.

The problem with this plan is that “at the end of this period — however long it lasts — this rebuilding period… the Army will still be relying on the technologies and the platforms that were introduced in the 1980s,” countered Thomas Spoehr, a retired Army three-star and director of defense programs at the influential Heritage Foundation. “Absent some change, the Army’s going to continue down the path of de-modernization.”


An incremental approach may make the Army miss the bus on Trump-era modernization, Spoehr said. When you look at McCain’s defense white paper, he noted, it calls for lots of new ships and aircraft, from the B-21 bomber to the Columbia submarine, but there are no new Army programs named. That’s not for want of enthusiasm on McCain’s part, Spoehr argues, it’s for want of things to invest in: “The Army’s own wishlist for fiscal year ’18 contains no new programs nor the hint of new programs.” That’s why McCain is forced to call for such things as a generic “new multifunctional, adaptable ground combat vehicle” instead of being able to cite a specific, existing program.

There’s “a vicious Catch-22″ at work, Spoehr acknowledged: “OSD doesn’t typically allow new programs to be started unless you can show they’re fully funded, and Congress can’t fund a program that doesn’t exist.”

The Army has to cut that Gordian knot by advocating for itself, for a change, Spoehr said. “The Army should come forward and make public their concepts and requirements for future new platforms and systems, despite the lack of a clear path leading funding,” he said. “The Army is famous for coloring within the lines, but desperate times call for desperate measures.”
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TerraN_EmpirE

Tyrant King
Just in time for Summer.
New Army jungle wear gives trench foot the boot
By C. Todd LopezMarch 6, 2017



]


WASHINGTON (Army News Service) -- The standard issue combat boot most Soldiers wear today, the one most commonly worn in Iraq and Afghanistan, is great for sandy dunes, hot dry weather, and asphalt. But it's proven not so good in hot and wet environments. So the Army has developed a new jungle boot that some Soldiers will see this year.

In September, Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark A. Milley directed the Army to come up with a plan to outfit two full brigade combat teams in Hawaii, part of the 25th Infantry Division there, with a jungle boot. The Army had already been testing commercial jungle boots at the time -- with mixed results -- but didn't have a specialized jungle boot, so Program Executive Officer Soldier, headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, had to get a plan together to make it happen.

By October, the Army had made a request to industry to find out what was possible and, by December, contracts were awarded to two boot manufacturers in the United States to build more than 36,700 jungle-ready combat boots, enough to outfit both full IBCTs in Hawaii.

"This is important to the Army and important to Soldiers in a hot, high-humidity, high-moisture area," said Lt. Col. John Bryan, product manager for Soldier Clothing and Individual Equipment with PEO Soldier. "We are responding as quickly as we possibly can with the best available, immediate capability to get it on Soldiers' feet quickly and then refine and improve as we go."

MIXING LEGACY WITH TECH

Right now, the new jungle boot the Army developed will be for Soldiers with the 25th ID in Hawaii -- primarily because there are actually jungles in Hawaii that Soldiers there must contend with. The new boots look remarkably similar to the current boots Soldiers wear. They are the same color, for instance. And the boots, which Bryan said are called the "Army Jungle Combat Boot" or "JCB" for short, sport a variety of features drawn from both the legacy M1966 Vietnam-era jungle boot and modern technology.

The M1966 Jungle Boot, which featured a green cotton fabric upper with a black leather toe that could be polished, had a solid rubber sole that Soldiers reportedly said had no shock-absorbing capability. The new boot uses a similar tread, or "outsole," as the M1966 "Panama style" -- to shed mud and provide great traction, but the added midsole makes it more comfortable and shock absorbing, according to Albert Adams, who works at the Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center.

The outsole of the new boot is connected to the leather upper via "direct attach," Adams said. That's a process where a kind of liquid foam is poured between the rubber outsole and leather boot upper. "[It's] a lot like an injection molding process," he said.

The foam layer between the rubber sole and the upper portion of the boot not only provides greater shock absorbing capability, but it also keeps out microbes in hot, wet environments that in the past have been shown to eat away at the glues that held older boots together. So the new boots won't separate at the soles, he said. "It provides a high level of durability, and it also adds cushioning."

Also part of the new boot is a textile layer that prevents foreign items from puncturing the sole of the boot and hurting a Soldier's foot, Adams said. The M1966 boot accomplished that with a steel plate. The new boot has a ballistic fabric-like layer instead.

Staff Sgt. Joshua Morse, an instructor at the Jungle Operations Training Center in Hawaii, said the puncture resistance is welcome. He said punji sticks, familiar to Vietnam War veterans, are still a problem for Soldiers.

"They use these punji pits for hunting purposes," he said. "In Brunei, you are literally in the middle of nowhere in this jungle, and there are natives that live in that area and still hunt in that area, and it can be an issue." And in mangrove swamps, he said, "you can't see anything. You don't know what's under your feet at all. There are a lot of sharp objects in there as well."

The new JCB also features a heel with a lower height than the M1966 model to prevent snags on things like vines in a jungle environment. That prevents tripping and twisted ankles.

The boot also has additional drainage holes to let water out if it becomes completely soaked, speed laces so that Soldiers can don and doff the boots more quickly, a redesigned upper to make the boots less tight when they are new, an insert that helps improve water drainage, and a lining that provides for better ventilation and faster drying than the old boot.

"You're going to be stepping in mud up to your knees or higher, and going across rivers regularly," Adams said. "So once the boot is soaked, we need it to be able to dry quickly as well."

FEEDBACK FORMED FINAL DESIGN

Morse has already been wearing and evaluating early versions of the JCB, and he thinks the results of the Army's effort to provide him with better footwear are spot on.

"The designs were conjured up in a lab somewhere, and they were brought out here, and the main focus was the field test with us," Morse said. "A lot of us have worn these boots for a year now, different variants of the boots. And all the feedback that we've put into this, and given to the companies, they have come back and given us better products every single time."

Morse said he was initially reluctant to wear the new jungle boots he had been asked to evaluate. On a trip to Brunei, he recalled, he went instead with what he was already familiar with and what he trusted -- a pair of boots he'd worn many times, the kind worn by Soldiers in the deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I wore a pair of boots I'd had for a couple of years," he said. "I wore them in Brunei and I had trench foot within a week. But then I thought, I have this brand new pair of test boots that they asked me to test; they are not broken in, but I'm going to give them a shot. I put them on. After 46 days soaking wet, nonstop, my feet were never completely dry. But I wore those boots, and I never had a problem again."

The Army didn't design the new JCB in a vacuum. Instead, it worked with Solders like Morse to get the requirements and design just right to meet the needs of Soldiers, said Capt. Daniel Ferenczy, the assistant product manager for Soldier Clothing and Individual Equipment.

"We take what Soldiers want and need, we boil that down to the salient characteristics, hand that over to our science and technology up at Natick; they work with us and industry, the manufacturing base, to come up with this product," Ferenczy said. "This is a huge win, a great win story for the Army because it was such a quick turnaround."

In March, the Army will begin fielding the current iteration of the JCB to Soldiers in the first of two brigade combat teams in Hawaii. During that fielding, the boots will be available in sizes 7 to 12. In June, the Army will begin fielding the JCB to the second BCT, this time with a wider array of sizes available: sizes 3 to 16, in narrow, regular, wide and extra wide. They will also go back and take care of those Soldiers from the initial fielding who didn't get boots due to their size not being available. A third fielding in September will ensure that all Soldiers from the second fielding have boots. Each Soldier will get two pairs of JCBs.

In all, more than 36,700 JCBs will be manufactured for this initial fielding -- which is meant to meet the requirement laid out in September by the Army's chief of staff.

By December, the Army will return to Hawaii to ask Soldiers how those new boots are working out for them.

"Al Adams will lead a small group and go back to 25th ID, to conduct focus groups with the Soldiers who are wearing these boots and get their feedback, good and bad," said Scott A. Fernald, an acquisition technician with PEO Soldier. "From there, the determination will be made, if we had a product we are satisfied with, or if we need to go back and do some tweaking."

AUTHORIZED FOR ALL

Fernald said that sometime between April and June of 2018, a final purchase description for the JCB will be developed based on feedback from Soldiers who wore it. He expects that in fiscal year 2019, an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract will be signed with multiple vendors to produce the final version of the JCB for the Army.

Bryan said the JCB, when it becomes widely available, will be wearable by all Soldiers who want to wear it -- even if they don't work in a jungle.

"From the get-go, we have worked with the G-1 ... to make sure we all understood the Army wear standards for boots," he said. "One of the pieces of feedback we have gotten from Soldiers before they wear them, is they look a lot like our current boots. That's by design. These will be authorized to wear."

While the JCB will be authorized for wear by any Solider, Bryan made it clear that only some Soldiers in some units will have the JCB issued to them. And right now, those decisions have not been made. Soldiers who are not issued the JCB will need to find it and purchase it on their own if they want to wear it.

"We are not directing commercial industry to sell them," Bryan said. "But if they build to the specification we've given them for our contract, they can sell them commercially and Soldiers are authorized to wear them."
 

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