By Ann Roosevelt

The Army Vice Chief of Staff and other service leaders yesterday were to hear insights gathered from a mid-June Blue Ribbon panel considering a new ground combat vehicle.

Leaders were to hear the "critical nuggets" gathered from citizens, Lt. Gen. Stephen Speakes, deputy chief of staff (G-8), said at an Association of the United States Army Institute for Land Warfare breakfast Thursday.

An unprecedented June 15 panel invited views on a new ground combat vehicle from think tank representatives, retired general officers, program managers, junior officers and non-commissioned officers. The panelists were invited behind the curtain to add their views to how the service considers the future and creates new equipment.

Without revealing specifics ahead of the Pentagon meeting, Speakes said the panel brought forward "interesting insights that we would not have gotten without this."

The point of the panel was to rectify mistakes of the past, Speakes said: the "failure to integrate citizens comments" as the Future Combat System program moved forward and Defense Secretary Robert Gates made decisions–including terminating the manned ground vehicle portion of the program and considerably revamping the rest of the program.

Army leadership will consider the panel’s insights and then pass them forward to the Training and Doctrine Command, which will do any required analytic work. The command’s Task Force 120, completing a comprehensive review of modernization, will integrate the ‘nuggets’ and supporting analysis into its final results of its work at the end of August. After a senior leader review, results and recommendations will be brought to the Secretary of Defense in September.

The point of the Blue Ribbon Panel, Speakes said was to help the service produce a better modernization strategy.

"We have to be more inclusive," Speakes said. The Army wants support for its coming modernization strategy from Defense Department leadership, Congress, industry and the public.