On 28 November, US Army Contracting Command issued an official cancellation for the full-auto fire capable, 7.62mm Interim Combat Service Rifle, bringing to a close this controversial initiative which began early this year. This cancellation also clears up any confusion over the true status of the programme.
"This notice is to inform interested parties of the cancellation of the Commercial Opportunity Notice (CON) for the Interim Combat Service Rifle (ICSR), under CON W15QKN-17-Z-0ANP due to a reprioritization of funding previously allocated for the ICSR. Resulting from a change in strategy, the Government is reallocating the ICSR funding to the Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW). The NGSW will be a long term solution to meet the identified capability gap instead of the ICSR, which was an interim solution."
Unfortunately, the assertion that the Army is reallocations the funds to NGSW is a bit of a stretch considering the programme is only in its infancy, and the funds to procure ICSR would have been spent in the near-term, while NSGW will need to be funded in the out years. US Department of Defense procurement dollars cannot be kept in a bank to be spent later.
Although the cancellation was just formally issued, testing ceased almost before it had started after multiple companies jumped through hoops in August to answer the army’s call for this rifle.
In a speech during AUSA 2017 in Washington, DC, Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley alluded to a new path forward, calling for new small arms which offer a, “10x improvement over any existing current system in the world.”