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Army to Test Future Combat Systems at Fort Bliss

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30, 2006 – To further the development of the Future Combat Systems program, the Army is designating a combat unit to evaluate and test cutting-edge technology.

The Evaluation Brigade Combat Team, which will begin forming in March 2007, will be stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas. Fort Bliss was chosen this month to host the EBCT because of its immense training areas and proximity to White Sands Missile Range and Biggs Army Airfield, Army Lt. Col. Carl Ey, an Army spokesman, said.

"The Evaluation Brigade Combat Team is an essential part of getting the Future Combat Systems in place and modernizing the Army," Ey said. "By selecting a location, it shows that the Army's making a very concerted effort to move forward in order to meet the challenges of the 21st century."

Three brigade combat teams are scheduled to move to Fort Bliss from Europe as part of the Base Realignment and Closure process, Ey said. One team will be designated as the EBCT.

The EBCT will start with about 819 soldiers and eventually grow to full BCT size of 3,500, Ey said. These soldiers will evaluate in a real-time environment the technologies in the Future Combat Systems program.

The program, the Army's modernization effort, consists of a family of 18 manned and unmanned systems, connected by a common network. Through this network, soldiers and leaders will be linked to leading-edge technologies and capabilities that are critical to risk reduction in combat, according to an Army news release. The technologies will allow soldiers to maneuver quickly and conduct a variety of missions in complex environments, the release said.

The first round of equipment will be delivered to the EBCT in 2008, Ey said. As more Future Combat Systems technologies become available, they will be delivered to the EBCT for evaluation and testing, according to the release. There will be four such deliveries in total, implemented in two-year cycles.

The EBCT will continue testing Future Combat Systems equipment and technologies until 2016, Ey said. The Army plans to transition the EBCT into the first brigade combat team fully equipped with Future Combat Systems equipment, he said.

As the EBCT tests equipment, the unit's soldiers will provide feedback on the equipment's performance. Through this feedback, the Army will be able to determine what, if any, adjustments or improvements are needed to continuously develop the equipment, according to the news release.

After the equipment is tested by the EBCT, it will be fielded to the operational Army. The first unit is expected to receive EBCT technology in 2014, the release stated.

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