BCT Modernization
The Brigade combat team Modernization is the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

's principal modernization program for Brigade combat team
Brigade combat team
The brigade combat team is the basic deployable unit of maneuver in the US Army. A brigade combat team consists of one combat arms branch maneuver brigade, and its attached support and fire units. A brigade combat team is generally commanded by a colonel , but in rare instances it is commanded by...

s (BCTs) from 2009 to the present. The Army BCT Modernization strategy plans to build a versatile mix of tailorable, networked BCTs operating on a rotational scale that will leverage mobility, protection, information and precision fires to conduct effective operations to succeed in current and future full spectrum military operations.

A key goal for modernizing the Army BCTs is to enable soldiers with increased Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. Rather than making one modernization decision and then applying it across the Army over two or more decades has been typical for the US army in the past, the BCT Modernization Plan aims to implement modernization decisions incrementally in order to stay ahead of the demands of the security environment and the needs of US soldiers. The Army’s Modernization plan "emphasizes the role of battle-tested Soldiers in the development of new equipment, provides for the incremental delivery of networked capabilities, incorporates MRAP vehicles into our formations, accelerates the fielding of Capability Packages and supporting network Capability Sets across all BCTs, and initiates a new Ground Combat Vehicle program as an element of combat vehicle modernization".

The US Army plans to address capability gaps in its current force by accelerating delivery of advanced capabilities to all 73 Army Brigade Combat Teams. Much, though not all, of this technology is derived from the Future Combat Systems
Future Combat Systems
Future Combat Systems was the United States Army's principal modernization program from 2003 to early 2009. Formally launched in 2003, FCS was envisioned to create new brigades equipped with new manned and unmanned vehicles linked by an unprecedented fast and flexible battlefield network...

 program. As needed capabilities mature they are planned to be fielded in an incremental manner to BCTs that are identified as needing them the most.

Capability Packages

Capability packages and Network Capability Sets

The US Army's goal is to integrate and field 'Capability Packages' and support 'network Capability Sets', described as "key elements of the BCT Modernization strategy" – in order to "collapse redundant and competing network strategies into a single path forward that provides more capability, quicker, to more formations". These 'Capability Packages and Sets' are designed to provide the US Army a regular process to strengthen its units with the latest materiel and nonmateriel solutions to meet the challenges faced in the continually evolving combat environment.

The US Army’s most important network task is claimed to be synchronisation to the ARFORGEN process. The US Army has changed its network focus from providing capability to a few formations over multiple years to a deliberate strategy of providing robust network capability to all strategically relevant, available and deploying forces.

The incremental Capability Package and network Capability Set approach not only mitigates high-risk gaps for our BCTs, but does so by measuring risk reduction and operational benefits informed by solution cost, technological and production constraints, budget and ARFORGEN deployment projections. Essential to developing Capability Packages and supporting network Capability Sets is bringing Warfighters, formation managers and functional area experts together to identify and assess gap-mitigating solutions, and to collectively determine which best serve the needs of the Army and its respective formations. This involves a concerted effort to place new technologies in the hands of our Soldiers earlier in the developmental process of these packages in order to solicit valuable feedback and properly develop new capabilities.

Network Capability Sets allow the Army to answer many of the challenges of today’s maturing network environment by bringing together all network players responsible for requirement development, capability development and material development on a synchronized recurring schedule, allowing the Army to make the necessary resourcing adjustments in response to operational requirements in a timely manner. The first network Capability Set will be fielded in 2013/2014 to support Capability Package 13-14.

Accelerating proven solutions, these packages and network sets will upgrade our units every two years. These bundles of capabilities include Doctrine, Organization and Training, in conjunction with materiel, to fill the highest priority shortfalls and mitigate risk for Soldiers. The incremental deliveries will build upon one another as the Army continually adapts and modernizes.

Tactical Network Integration

The network is the centerpiece of Brigade Combat Team (BCT) Modernization, providing the Soldier, at all BCT echelons, access to enhanced Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance information, continuous Situational Awareness, biometric information and greatly improved communications, while reducing tactical sustainment requirements.

In today’s complex and evolving combat environment, the success of our Soldiers depends as much on adaptable equipment and interconnected information as it does on the strength of arms. The Army is firmly committed to providing Soldiers with this decisive edge, which requires diligent and informed choices as we evaluate, test and field systems in support of this goal.

The Army is adopting an incremental approach to networking the Soldier, allowing for Mission Command capability to extend down to the Soldier-leader level in the brigade. This incremental modernization approach begins with the “tactical edge” – the BCT dismounted Soldier who represents today’s most challenged and important network user. New acquisition strategies are being put in place to build infrastructure and standards as the foundation to support networked organizations, while setting the conditions to allow for the accelerated fielding of technologically advanced networked capabilities to our Soldiers.

The Army’s network priority is to first build the infrastructure and standards as the foundation to support networked organizations and to set conditions for accelerating fielding of advanced capabilities to all brigade formations to ensure our Army retains its technological edge now and in the future.

The Army will retain the Army Evaluation Task Force (AETF), now a full operational brigade, with the mission of validating the operational relevancy of solutions and developing doctrine prior to fielding to deploying forces to ensure a proven capability reaches the hands of the Soldier. Using AETF Soldiers, the Army will conduct integrated BCT network integration exercises in 2011 and 2012 as a means to inform the Army’s long-term network strategy while defining how to devote resources and focus priorities for continued network development cycle.
  • The XM1216 Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV) is a lightweight, soldier-portable Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) capable of conducting military operations in urban terrain, tunnels, sewers, and caves. The SUGV aids in the performance of urban Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions, chemical/Toxic Industrial Chemicals (TIC), and Toxic Industrial Materials (TIM) reconnaissance and inspecting suspected booby traps and improvised explosive devices without exposing soldiers to these hazards. The SUGV’s modular design allows multiple payloads to be integrated in a plug-and-play fashion that will minimize the soldier's exposure to hazards. Payloads to be fielded are the manipulator arm, tether capability, chemical/radiation detection and a Laser Target designator. Weighing 32 pounds, the SUGV is capable of carrying up to four pounds of payload weight.

  • The BCT Network
    BCT Network
    The Army will continue development and fielding of an incremental ground tactical network capability to all Army brigade combat teams. This network is a layered system of interconnected computers and software, radios, and sensors within the Brigade Combat Team...

    . The Army will continue development and fielding of an incremental ground tactical network capability to all Army BCTs. This network is a layered system of interconnected computers and software, radios, and sensors within the Brigade Combat Team. The network is essential to enable Unified Battle Command and will be delivered to the Army's Brigade Combat Teams in increasing capability increments.

Network Integration Kit (NIK) The Network Integration Kit (NIK) is an integrated suite of equipment on a HMMWV that provides the network connectivity and battle command software to integrate and fuse sensor data into the common operational picture (COP). The NIK consists of an integrated computer system (ICS) that hosts Battle Command software and the Systems of Systems Common Operating Environment (SOSCOE) software, along with a JTRS GMR radio to provide the interface to the sensors and unmanned systems, as well as voice and data communications with other vehicles and tactical operations centers.
  • The BCT Soldier will be connected to Unified Battle Command and sensor data via the network. This connectivity provides the soldier increased intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability while both mounted and dismounted, enabling effective performance of Battle Command functions while maximizing Soldier and Force lethality and survivability.

Follow On Incremental Capabilities

  • The Ground Combat Vehicle Program
    BCT Ground Combat Vehicle Program
    The Ground Combat Vehicle is the U.S. Army's replacement program for armored fighting vehicles in Heavy and Stryker brigade combat teams. The GCV is organized under the Follow On Incremental Capabilities Package of the BCT Modernization program. The first variant of the vehicle is to be prototyped...

     replaces the Future Combat Systems Manned Ground Vehicles
    Future Combat Systems manned ground vehicles
    The Future Combat Systems Manned Ground Vehicles was a family of lighter and more transportable ground vehicles developed by BAE Systems Inc and General Dynamics as part of the United States Army's Future Combat Systems program. The ground vehicles were to be based on a common tracked vehicle...

     program. The first vehicle will be an Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) that will replace the M113
    M113 armored personnel carrier
    The M113 is a fully tracked armored personnel carrier that has formed the backbone of the United States Army's mechanized infantry units from the time of its first fielding in Vietnam in April 1962. The M113 was the most widely used armored vehicle of the U.S...

     by 2018 and later, the Bradley in the United States Army
    United States Army
    The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...


  • The Multifunctional Utility/Logistics and Equipment vehicle is an autonomous Unmanned Ground Combat Vehicle developed by Missiles and Fire Control. Only some versions have been canceled, others are still in development.

  • XM1219 Armed Robotic Vehicle MULE will feature an integrated weapons and reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition (RSTA) package to support the dismounted infantry’s efforts to locate and destroy enemy platforms and positions. The ARV-A-L will support both anti-tank and anti-personnel weapons platforms that will be remotely operated by network linked Soldiers.

External links

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