ing an agile development approach. The soldiers functioned as a user jury and provided candid assessments and recommendations. A board of senior Army general officers conducted regular assessments and provided guidance as FBCB2 and related experimental systems were prepared for the capstone digitization experiment at the National Training Center in March 1997. More than 1000 FBCB2 systems were procured and deployed to the 4th Infantry Division for that experiment. Some systems were MILSPEC, some were ruggedized, and some were COTS-based. This approach provided a set of optional configurations that were evaluated by end users and the operational test organization to provide feedback to the Army on the performance of the configurations. Note that this feedback was not a test-fail evaluation with a report 120 days after the field event that is typical in the formal test environment; rather, the testers provided both daily feedback and an early capability assessment wrap-up that the Army used to make a “best value” determination (the answer ultimately was the ruggedized COTS variant). Following the 1997 AWE, the Army used the feedback from end users to make changes and enhancements to the FBCB2 system. The test articles remained with the 4th Infantry Division for training and further development of tactics, techniques, and procedures for operational use. In 1998 an operational evaluation (Limited User Test) was conducted, and low-rate initial production of 6000 FBCB2 systems was authorized to field the capability to the 4th Infantry Division and 1st Cavalry Division. Today approximately 40,000 FBCB2 systems are in operational use in the Army and the Marine Corps. Moreover, the FBCB2 system is the baseline for a follow-on variant named the Joint Battle Command Platform. The FBCB2 system was recognized as one of the five best-managed software programs in the entire U.S. government and was awarded the Federal Computer Week Monticello Award (given in recognition of an information system that has a direct, meaningful impact on human lives). FBCB2 exemplified the type of decentralized agile development approach that this report recommends.

The Blue Force Tracker (BFT) is a variant of FBCB2 that uses satellite-based communications in lieu of the terrestrial communications capabilities used in FBCB2. Early variants were deployed on surrogate commercial computers for use during the conflict in the Balkans in the late 1990s. During 2002 an intensive effort was initiated with supplemental funds to develop and deploy BFT for forces being prepared for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Contractors and Army program managers were deployed to Kuwait, where BFT was installed on weapons platforms and soldiers were trained in its use. Since the baseline FBCB2 program was in the production and deployment stage, the infrastructure for that program was leveraged to execute BFT very rapidly without burdensome oversight. This is a prime example of an opportunity to bring capabilities to warfighters

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement