Are the trends seen in Army modernization today similar in nature to trends of the previous drawdowns, or is this time different? Historically, the decline in army modernization follows the same general pattern: After a period of growth, Army modernization total obligation authority (TOA) peaks between 27 percent and 31 percent of overall Army TOA. After hitting that peak, the Army modernization budget rapidly declines for the next few years, before leveling off. The Army modernization budget then generally holds relatively steady for a few years at that new budget level, before once again increasing.
The electromagnetic railgun (EMRG) has the potential to change surface warfare in ways not seen since the end of the battleship era. The Navy envisions using it to compliment, and in some cases, replace some of the current missile inventory. However, the Navy must develop a plan for a likely 5 to 10 year gap between EMRG initial operational capability and the commissioning of the next-generation destroyer program, Future Surface Combatant (FSC).
Shrouded in secrecy, the Long-Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) is the last of three Air Force modernization priorities. Despite a plan to keep production costs down through the use of mature technologies, Air Force acquisition history suggests the LRS-B may run over budget. However, with global strike a core tenet of U.S. defense policy and the future of the mission in danger, the program cannot be allowed to flop.