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Editor's corner.

In a drastic departure from tradition, the U.S. Navy is moving forward with plans to change the way it maintains and keeps warships ready for combat. The reforms were spurred by escalating commitments around the world coupled with a shrinking fleet. Under the so-called "fleet response concept," the Navy will commit to having two-thirds of the fleet in war-ready status.

Even though the fleet response concept is viewed as a common-sense approach to meeting growing demands, Navy officials concede they have serious concerns about its potential unintended consequences, which could affect the health of the industrial base and the morale of the sailors. For more details on the fleet response concept and its possible implications, turn to page 50.

The Marine Corps, meanwhile, increasingly is hopeful that its controversial V-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft will successfully pass upcoming tests. Based on encouraging trials, the Marines are planning to stand up the first V-22 squadron in December. For a detailed update on the program, go to page 38.

Among the Army's latest initiatives to modernize the force is the Objective Force Warrior. With the recent selection of a contractor to manage this complex program, Army officials say they have reasons to be optimistic about the future of the OFW. But the technical hurdles ahead are formidable, as the Army learned painfully trying to develop the Land Warrior program, now on a path to rehabilitation. To find out more about the Army's plans for OFW, turn to our package starting on page 46.

The Army's Future Combat System appears to be progressing toward the next phase of development and engineering. But it is yet not clear what the Army will do about its truck fleet. The plan was to field the Future Tactical Truck System--a family of high-tech trucks--alongside the FCS. But funding cuts and undefined requirements have delayed the FTTS program by at least five years.

The slip means that the Army will have to rely on older trucks to deliver fuel and ammunition to the FCS fleet. With the Army augmenting its deployments, the service will need to upgrade existing trucks until the FTTS comes to fruition, if in fact the program gets off the ground. Read the complete story on page 25.

Another effort now under way is the development of a combat-identification software architecture for the FCS program. The program is gaining high-level scrutiny in light of the continuing difficulties that plague U.S. forces trying to distinguish friend from foe in the fog of war. The Defense Department has started working on upgrades to friend-or-foe technologies, both for U.S. soldiers and coalition operations. Find out more on page 22.

This August edition of National Defense also includes the 2003 Mega Directory--a comprehensive guide to procurement organizations within the Defense Department and to nearly 1,000 companies in the defense industry.

More specifically, the acquisition guide lists each service's procurement organizations. For the corporate listing, the Mega Directory presents in alphabetical order the corporate members of the National Defense Industrial Association and its affiliates, the National Training Systems Association, the' Association for Enterprise Integration, the Precision Strike Association and the National Correlation Working Group. A comprehensive index of corporate capabilities also is included.

The Mega Directory; additionally, features a "Meetings Guide" section that identifies the volunteer organizations of NDIA, including technical divisions and chapters around the United States.
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Publication:National Defense
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Aug 1, 2003
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