Military Review

The National Interest: The Sobering Truth About Failing Pentagon Projects

According to a lot of research, ratings, etc. The United States currently has the most powerful army in the world. In terms of quantitative and qualitative indicators, the US armed forces are superior to the armies of other states, including large and developed ones. Such leadership is a reason for pride of the American nation, and also causes concern among leaders and citizens of other countries. In addition, worried and American experts. Often there are statements, the authors of which do not share common pride or even criticize the leadership of the Pentagon and the country as a whole.

February 7, the American edition of The National Interest, published an article with the loud title "The Sobering Truth about Pentagon Failing Projects". The author of the material is Lieutenant Colonel Daniel L. Davis, a former US Army officer who previously held the position of commander of the American contingent in Afghanistan, and now works as a military analyst. D. Davis does not share the optimistic views of other military and political leadership of the country. The former officer devoted his article to past and current problems of the Pentagon.

At the beginning of his publication, D. Davis recalls the recent speech of US President Barack Obama. During his speech, the head of state named several reasons for the fact that the USA is the strongest country on the planet and will have a bright future. One of the main reasons for this, according to B. Obama, is the power of the armed forces. The President said that at present the US Army is the most powerful force in the entire history of humanity. After this statement, B. Obama’s speech was interrupted by stormy applause. D. Davis believes that a more careful study of some issues related to the combat readiness of the troops would lead to a less violent reaction to the words of the president.

The National Interest: The Sobering Truth About Failing Pentagon Projects

According to D. Davis, the truth is that the United States is not as powerful and influential as is commonly believed. That is what his “sobering” article is devoted to.

The author recalls the reaction to the completion of Operation Desert Storm two and a half decades ago. The victory over Iraq and Saddam Hussein allowed the Americans to say that the army was finally able to get rid of the "Vietnamese syndrome." In addition, at this time, the United States felt like the only superpower in the world. Then it was not baseless bragging. The main competitors of the United States in the face of Moscow and Beijing have recognized their lag in military power. The Americans, in turn, were proud of the victory and optimistic about the future. Nonetheless, justified pride “mutated” with time and turned into unpleasant arrogance. Now such a transformation of opinions can be dangerous for the country. D. Davis believes that this situation is best illustrated by the unsuccessful attempts of the Pentagon to implement new projects.

There are various official studies that report problems in the development of new projects and the procurement of necessary products. There are violations in this area, as well as inefficient spending of funding. The scale of such problems is often rated as "alarming." However, a detailed study of the issue shows that the situation is much more serious and is already associated with risks to national security.

As one of the loudest failures of the American military in recent years, D. Davis cites the Future Combat System (FCS) project. In his opinion, the failure of this project had a negative impact on the security of the state, and for two reasons at once.

The author recalls that the FCS program started in the late nineties. It all started with the report of the Chief of Staff of the Army, General Eric Shinseki, which outlined the prospects for ground military equipment. By 2003, the preliminary work on the new program was completed, after which it was given official status and began full-fledged work. Work continued until 2009, when they were discontinued by the Minister of Defense due to the mass of unsolved problems. Thus, ten years of work were wasted. The United States simply lost time, which could be used to modernize the ground forces and maintain world leadership.

In addition to losing money, the closure of the FCS program led to a deterioration in the reputation of the United States. The Pentagon has shown its impotence in the creation of new technology, but other countries have been able to do without such problems. As a result, the gaping gap between the United States and third countries has narrowed considerably. A striking example of such a change in the situation - especially offensive for the United States - D. Davis considers the emergence of the Russian project "Armata", as well as the launch of mass production of this technology.

The Future Combat System project meant the creation of a “system of systems”. The basis of the project was to become a universal tracked chassis suitable for the construction of equipment for various purposes. It was planned to develop eight types of specialized equipment, including a tank, armored vehicles for infantry and other vehicles. The work on the FCS program lasted about ten years and “ate” about 20 billions of dollars, but yielded no results.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, Russian experts in just six years developed their own similar project. During this time, specialists from Russia carried out the design, built, tested and put in a series of modern "advanced" combat vehicles of several types. The result of the Russian program “Armata” was the emergence of a promising main tank T-14 and heavy infantry fighting vehicle T-15, built on the basis of a universal chassis.

New Russian models have a perfect reservation, modern weapons and ammunition, as well as equipped with appropriate fire control systems. According to D. Davis, the Russian T-14 tank is not inferior in survivability and firepower to the American Abrams family tanks.

Also, the author of The National Interest reminds that in the 1991 year, Abrams tanks showed their high potential in the fight against enemy tanks. It was demonstrated a great advantage over armored vehicles from other countries. However, over the years, this advantage has been lost.

D. Davis asks a serious question: how can the failure of Washington with the FCS program be explained in the light of the success of Moscow? The US military is gradually weakening compared to the Russian. The United States is ahead of Russia in terms of intellectual potential, economic power and industrial capabilities, but it has a big disadvantage of a different nature: self-deception based on arrogance.

The author believes that with the continuation of the implementation of the aggressive plans of Russian President Vladimir Putin in Europe, the day may come when the US ground forces will have to support NATO allies and fight with the Russian army. Thus, the restoration of military potential and lost advantage over other countries should begin now. In order for this to happen, according to D. Davis, the military and political leadership of the United States must, above all, pacify its excessive pride and assess the situation soberly. Otherwise, the military advantage of the American army over its main competitors may disappear altogether.


Daniel L. Davis raised a very important question. Indeed, at the moment, the US Army, according to several authoritative studies, is the most powerful in the world. However, other developed countries are not idle and are engaged in the modernization of their armed forces. As a result, the gap between the US and other states is gradually narrowing, and in some cases has already become dangerously small. Thus, every year the United States is becoming more and more difficult to defend the title of the most powerful military force on the planet, since Russia and China, they say, breathe in the back of their heads.

To preserve the existing advantage, it is necessary to continue the development of existing weapons and equipment, as well as to create new models. With this, the United States in recent years, there are serious problems. In addition to the Future Combat System program reviewed by D. Davis, it is also worth remembering the projects of other military equipment that either did not produce any results, like the project of the RAH-66 Comanche reconnaissance and attack helicopter, or reached service in the troops, but cost too much. A good example of the latter are the F-35 fighters, the cost of developing and building which is already approaching the level of one and a half trillion dollars.

Nevertheless, the article of The National Interest deals only with the FCS program, on which special hopes were placed in the context of the modernization of ground forces. The aim of this project was the development and introduction of a mass of new equipment and equipment intended for the ground forces. It was necessary to create new combat vehicles, communications and control equipment, equipment for soldiers, etc. By the end of 2000, the program faced a lot of various problems, because of which it was decided to close it, and use some of the developments in new projects.

By the time the FCS program was closed, American specialists had developed several promising combat vehicles. Moreover, some of them even managed to walk to the ground tests. So, self-propelled artillery XM1203 NLOS-C, shown in the illustration, was built in 2008 year and soon went to the landfill. However, in 2009, the project was frozen, and two years later they were finally closed due to the lack of real prospects. It was decided to abandon the XM1203 project, and use the existing developments when upgrading the M109 family self-propelled guns.

Because of the failure of the FCS program, the military and industry of the United States lost ten years and the 20 order of billions of dollars. A kind of compensation for these losses was the emergence of several new technologies, some of which have already been mastered and used in real projects. However, the time and money spent are disproportionately large for such a “compensation”. As a result, the opinion of D. Davis about the failure of the FCS program is fully substantiated and confirmed by real facts.

The failure of the American project is considered by D. Davis not by himself, but against the background of the successes of the Russian industry. Shortly after the cessation of work on the FCS, Russia began developing its own project for advanced armored vehicles. In just half a decade, we managed to develop a project, build several prototypes, test them, and then deploy mass production. Even taking into account the existing problems, the Armata project looks much more successful than the closed FCS, which can not fail to hit American pride.

According to Lt. Col. D. Davis, one of the main problems of American combat capability lies in the wrong attitude to their capabilities. After the events in Iraq in 1991, the United States began to be proud of its capabilities, which eventually led to their reassessment. Such a wrong attitude towards one’s own and others ’capabilities can have a detrimental effect on the potential of the troops and all national security.

Money and time spent on the creation of the FCS project and other unsuccessful developments cannot be returned anymore. Nevertheless, measures can and should be taken to avoid such problems in the future. An important aspect of the fight against such problems D. Davis considers the moral and ethical guidelines of the military and political leadership. The current leaders of the United States indulge in pride, which is clearly shown by the recent speech of B. Obama. However, according to the author of The National Interest, such an attitude toward one’s capabilities is one of those things that should be eliminated as soon as possible in the interests of national defense.

His article, Lt. Col. D. Davis, ends with advice on the correct assessment of their capabilities and the proper planning of the future development of the armed forces. At the same time, the author does not touch upon the theme of the prospects for such a proposal. Whether the current US leadership will listen to D. Davis's advice is unknown, but it can be assumed that it will not even know about it, since it does not follow all publications in the press. In addition, the advancement of ideas expressed is hampered by the fact that the B. Obama administration is actively promoting the idea of ​​US superiority, despite all the existing problems, reducing the gap from other countries, etc.

The article "The Sobering Truth About Pentagon's Acquisition Failures":
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  1. KKND
    KKND 10 February 2016 06: 46
    How much can I reprint materials from NI! How many translations I read in VO, all are one noodle for their inhabitants, who played, perhaps, in their WoT analogue. No serious analytics, no analysis, just water.
    To moderators of VO you still articles of Dave and Uncle Vasya constantly print, very raise the level of Military Review.
    PS Perhaps the comment will be deleted. am
    1. testerman
      testerman 10 February 2016 07: 14
      Come on you. do not boil. For many, including for me, VO is the only site that has enough time. For the rest, there is not enough time. And what's wrong if news from different resources is collected on one source
    2. The comment was deleted.
    3. gvozdan
      gvozdan 10 February 2016 21: 08
      If you are so happy for our awareness, then you have a unique opportunity to remove people’s noodles from their ears in kammenty or at least throw a link but a more adequate objective and professional article.

      Yes, just write what is wrong in this article and what it lacks, at least in general terms.

      And so your message is no more informative than the article itself.
    4. Rock616
      Rock616 11 February 2016 18: 54
      If you meant the articles of this character, DAVE MAJUMDAR, then you are 100% right, this horse really got it with his pussies: Top10, Top-5 "lethal weapons", Su-35 & F-35, armata & leopard, and more carriage and small cart BREDA fool
      But one thing pleases, if they have such "experts" and plus their arrogance of the military and politicians, you can not worry, although not quite so, these "light elves", having convinced themselves that they are not invincible, can try their luck, there have already been examples, the latter was ADIK INSANE so that HZ for better or worse.
  2. Blondy
    Blondy 10 February 2016 06: 57
    I still think that this flock is more good than harm. At least it reveals the nuances of preliminary preparation for a budget cut.
  3. aszzz888
    aszzz888 10 February 2016 07: 16
    because Russia and China, as they say, breathe in the back of the head.

    Or maybe we are no longer "breathing down the back of the head", but you are looking into our backs? angry
  4. qwert
    qwert 10 February 2016 07: 18
    "According to D. Davis, the Russian T-14 tank is not inferior to the American tanks of the Abrams family in terms of survivability and firepower." Duc, the old T-80 was also not inferior to Abramych.)))

    Quote: Blondy
    I still think that this article is more useful than harm.

    I think the opposite. Not everyone will saw. And there will be regular injections into development and production. B-2 they also got after a similar kipish that there are no planes capable of breaking through a strong air defense
  5. Volga Cossack
    Volga Cossack 10 February 2016 07: 24
    nothing personal - just a business ......... a defense pie - fleshy - that's what Americans want a piece of fatter and want ... the article is essentially not new. but thanks!
  6. cth; fyn
    cth; fyn 10 February 2016 07: 30
    Well, you! I thought there will be listed projects that failed, their features and expected results, the reasons for the closure and the results obtained, and here the water is golem: oh armata, oh abrams is outdated, etc.
    1. terehvlad
      terehvlad 10 February 2016 08: 16
      I, too, whinnied wildly over their SDI: "They gathered on our tanks with their lasers to do piu-piu!" Yes, just not on tanks, and the laser is not photonic
  7. 357PDP
    357PDP 10 February 2016 07: 48
    All these Davis remind the American professor from The Golden Calf, who praised the USSR on 300 pages and summed up on 301 pages that therefore Soviet Russia must be destroyed as soon as possible ...
  8. lotar
    lotar 10 February 2016 08: 09
    These programs are often in the West an official cut of the budget between stakeholders. We are only benefiting from this, since it delays the appearance of superior technology to the distant future.
  9. Xpyct89
    Xpyct89 10 February 2016 08: 30
    But here everything is far from smooth. It seems to me that it would be worth it first to replace the T-72 with the T-90 and all the old BMP-1s and 2s with troies
    1. Cap.Morgan
      Cap.Morgan 10 February 2016 09: 02
      T90 probably will not work.
      His time is gone.
      Now - Armats and robots.
  10. Xpyct89
    Xpyct89 10 February 2016 08: 33
    why do I have the flag of romania?
    1. cth; fyn
      cth; fyn 10 February 2016 09: 21
      This is a riddle of the site ....
    2. vvp2412
      vvp2412 10 February 2016 10: 23
      Maybe because you are Romanian? :)
      "-So he seems to be Bulgarian?"
      "-What's the difference?" :)
  11. Cap.Morgan
    Cap.Morgan 10 February 2016 09: 01
    Yesterday, a message flashed about the adoption by the Russian army of the Uran-9 tank (outwardly reminiscent of the Sherman during the war)
    This is a robot, with a 30-mm machine gun and 120-mm rockets. Robot. Americans have been developing on this topic for over 20 years. To no avail
  12. X Y Z
    X Y Z 10 February 2016 09: 10
    The Americans, in turn, were proud of the victory and were optimistic about the future. Nevertheless, quite justified pride over time "mutated" and turned into an unpleasant arrogance.

    And what were you proud of? They defeated the "Third World" army, armed with outdated weapons 20 ... 50 years ago and unfamiliar with the latest developments in the field of tactics. All this happened with complete American air supremacy. This is some kind of strange pride like "well, at least someone won." It is also very important to understand the price of this victory, besides the propaganda one, and whether it has become a defeat sooner.
  13. Alexez
    Alexez 10 February 2016 09: 31
    If Colonel Davis knew about the difference in the cost of developing Armata and FCS, I think he would have eaten his own cap with all the cocktails and a visor! )
  14. vvp2412
    vvp2412 10 February 2016 10: 22
    I watched a cool film recently - "The Pentagon Wars" .. Film 1998. Filmed based on real events. About how the BMP "Bradley" was developed and tested ...
    If the Americans themselves shot such a movie .... What is the reality !?
  15. semuil
    semuil 10 February 2016 11: 34
    I think American politicians should not listen to some colonels. Obama said "exceptional" and the Sabbath.
  16. neo1200
    neo1200 10 February 2016 12: 18
    Well, as always, the Americans praise themselves, especially their Abrams tank. And they exaggerate their "victory" in Iraq. Taking into account the fact that Iraq fought with Iran for about 8 years and its forces were significantly undermined. In service with Iraq were outdated samples of military equipment. The Iraqi army was armed with shells that were removed from service in the USSR in the early 70s of the last century. But as practice shows, when Washington's aggressive plans are rebuffed, the Americans do not succeed. Why don't the Americans give their weapons to the Ukrainians, but because the DPR and LPR are armed with equipment that was created for the USSR army, and not export options. These weapons are capable of effectively countering Western weapons. So American weapons were discredited. Debunking the myth about the exclusiveness of American weapons will cause colossal damage; no one in the world will be afraid of the Americans anymore.
  17. Vova Vasilievich
    Vova Vasilievich 10 February 2016 14: 08
    In truth, they say if God wants to prove, then he deprives a person of reason in this case, the country.
  18. ltc35
    ltc35 10 February 2016 14: 52
    Quote: cth; fyn
    Well, you! I thought there will be listed projects that failed, their features and expected results, the reasons for the closure and the results obtained, and here the water is golem: oh armata, oh abrams is outdated, etc.
  19. Pacifist
    Pacifist 10 February 2016 15: 10
    The point of the article is not analysis. Its meaning is in one phrase: "Give me money!"
  20. 31rus
    31rus 10 February 2016 17: 35
    Dear, what are you so worried about for American money and failed projects, Americans will allot new amounts of money for new projects anyway, everything will be as long as the printing press is working
  21. APASUS
    APASUS 10 February 2016 21: 58
    And I like the American business system and everything legally, with reports, ready-made studies, models and shooting samples, is simply not available.
    It’s our officials who give lectures in Skolkovo for 1 million, and then run to London complaining that they are forbidden to believe in democracy. Or get a fee for an unwritten book, you can immediately see who unfastens someone. They sell the building of the strategic institute in the center of Moscow, and then there is no damage!
    And the Americans are doing market analysis, preparing a project, building a cannon, plane, boat, satellite and everyone is happy, even when all this stuff is dumped. They also have a super hysteria system that the media producers pay for themselves and Congress begs them take money for a super plane, a super gun and a super boat!
  22. rJIiOK
    rJIiOK 10 February 2016 22: 47
    Water with water along with water in water.
    The subject is too narrowly disclosed and the same theses are chewed in different paragraphs
  23. CRASH
    CRASH 11 February 2016 20: 44
    Once RIM was great too, and their Legions were great, where are RIM now and where are those Legions.