From the Director U. S. Army Capabilities Integration Center


-5. GF adaptation from 2002 to 2008



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6-5. GF adaptation from 2002 to 2008

a. REF.

(1) In many respects, the REF was the flagship of Army organizational innovation to create a capability for rapid response to urgent and immediate warfighter needs for new materiel capabilities in-theater. The history of the organization dates from discussions between the-then-VCSA and the Acquisition Deputy in the Objective Force Task Force at HQDA. The specific issue at the time was the problem of locating and clearing caves in Afghanistan of booby traps and explosive devices. When the Deputy stated he thought he could quickly find a man-portable, remotely operated vehicle to do the job, the VCSA provided initial funding and directed the Army staff to support the effort.


(2) Acting on the authority of the VCSA, the Deputy quickly found some workspace at Fort Belvoir, borrowed some manpower, and pieced together an initial organization. Within 30 days, he succeeded in locating two candidate robotic systems, arranged for an operator controller unit to be customized, and used his staff of volunteers to take what eventually came to be known as "Packbot" and "Marcbot" into theater. While waiting in-country to employ the system, the forward team of volunteers and support contractors trained on the operation of the system, assessed its performance, and made adjustments. Once taken to field locations, the team worked directly with small units at tactical sites and continued the process of feedback, modification, and training of users in these units. Within a short period of time, the units were ready to take control of the gear and execute tasks without the team's assistance. The team handed off the system to CJTF-180 (the U.S. command in Afghanistan at the time) and returned to the U.S. with a list of other needed items not available through the supply system.

(3) Based on this initial success, the REF was officially formed by VCSA directive in November 2002 and placed under the HQDA G-3/5/7, but reporting directly to the VCSA, with a one-year mandate to prove its worth. However, significant obstacles remained with respect to manning, obtaining a reliable funding stream, satisfying acquisition regulations and legislative requirements, stabilizing the organization, and determining the source of its organization and direction.

(4) Two of the initial foundations established by the REF were the selection criteria used to respond to an urgent need, and adoption of a narrow focus with respect to the duration and scope of REF involvement in new materiel development. The critical criterion was time as the fundamental driver – that is, could the organization reliably meet the warfighter request for a materiel solution in a reasonably short time? Neither HQDA nor REF ever established a formal standard for what constituted an acceptable timely response, although the phrase "hours and days rather than weeks and months" framed the general response.125 Other criteria included validation of the urgency of the need, reasonable cost, and an assessment of feasible maturity of the potential materiel solution.
(5) The second foundation was focus and scope, underscored by the title of the organization itself, which made it clear that the REF would restrict its activities to "equipping" an initial force with the proposed solution. Equipping throughout the theater and fielding the capability more broadly across the Army, if necessary, would require migration of responsibility to the institutional acquisition community. Equipping was further understood to encompass only an initial sustainment package consisting of contractor support, spare parts, minimal training materials, and support for rapid fabrication, repair, and adaptation.

(6) In addition, based on guidance received from the CENTCOM commander, REF adopted a standard of "acceptable" (defined as a 51 percent solution)126 as the performance criterion for materiel solutions, which is in stark contrast to the much higher standards that characterize the overall acquisition process. REF further undertook to establish a permanent presence in-theater with forward support element(s) charged to coordinate directly with units; help describe immediate urgent requirements; provide the minimal sustainment as described above; ensure delivery of materiel; collect feedback on system performance; and transmit recommendations to the parent organization regarding the need for improvement, modification, or termination.

(7) During the course of 2003, the REF struggled as a temporary organization to execute its mission to meet urgent operational requirements through rapid equipping of new capabilities, which expanded quickly to cover a broad gamut of needs, including communications, clothing, sensing devices, jamming devices, and even construction and infrastructure items. Initially, the Army provided funding through the Army Strategic Planning Board, a three-star panel chaired by the HQDA Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7, applied to individually approved projects, primarily using supplemental funds. An effort to establish a funding line failed due to constraints on how current-year and POM dollars could be used. Simultaneously, an extended, running debate emerged with respect to the long-term disposition of the REF, comprising several competing viewpoints.
(8) In August 2003, the new CSA, directed that the REF continue to report directly to the VCSA, while operating under the direction of the HQDA G-3/5/7 and under the oversight of the Army Acquisition Executive, specifically the Military Deputy (MILDEP) to the ASA(ALT). He also assigned two new tasks: first, to conduct operational assessments to support decisions on development and fielding of new capabilities beyond the immediate needs met in-theater; and, second, to review requirements for the future force and help identify technologies suitable for incorporation. Nevertheless, as the one-year anniversary of the REF and its November 2003 formal review approached, the organization still had no reliable, sufficient funding source; no authorized source of work force; no approved TDA, MTOE, or organizational hierarchy; and only borrowed workspace in the Night Vision Laboratory at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

(9) The lack of a staffing document meant that the REF had no authority to requisition personnel, and the Army's Human Resources Command had no authority to assign personnel to them. As a result, the organization continued to rely on volunteers and borrowed work force to obtain the experienced operators, logisticians, and acquisition experts that it needed to succeed. In 2004, HQDA G-3/5/7 also issued formal personnel taskings for the REF, within the constraints of the 179-day assignment limit permissible under that process. While this approach helped to staff the REF, it also generated a recurring need for personnel training and assimilation and created high personnel turnover.

(10) Another continuing issue concerned the REF's oversight. Despite clear guidance articulated in August 2003, the debate continued over the question of the parent organization for the REF. Both the Army Acquisition Executive and AMC objected to the placement of the REF under the HQDA G-3/5/7 on the grounds that, as an acquisition entity, the REF should operate under the direction and oversight of the acquisition community. Considering the research and development character of the REF approach, one AMC course of action proposed making the REF subordinate to RDECOM. An assessment by the Army Office of the General Counsel in early 2004 reinforced these concerns by emphasizing the perceived lack of positive control over the acquisition activities of the REF by the milestone decision authority. Legislative constraints on adding organizational structure to HQDA in the National Capital Region further complicated the question.127

(11) In March 2004, the VCSA and ASA(ALT) MILDEP jointly approved a draft REF charter and proposed organization and mission. Its mission was to "provide operational commanders with rapidly employable solutions to enhance lethality, survivability, and force protection through the insertion of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) ('insert'), GOTS ('equip') and future force technologies while informing the Army stakeholders ('assess') to remain ahead of an adaptive enemy." This mission statement with its three primary functions of insert, equip, and assess was briefed to Congress by the ASA(ALT).128 Nevertheless, full implementation stalled. Thus, during the course of 2004, three main questions continued to remain unresolved: How is the REF to be manned? How can a reliable funding line be established? How can the REF be aligned organizationally to accommodate both the need for operational direction to optimally represent warfighter requirements and the simultaneous need to ensure appropriate acquisition oversight to remain in compliance with the manifold requirements within that process?

(12) The decisive point in this debate occurred in October 2004 in conjunction with an in-progress review for the VCSA. At the review, the VCSA directed the preparation of a TDA for the REF and charged the acquisition community to ensure that the REF remained in compliance with Title 10 constraints and acquisition regulations and to accept early hand-off of responsibility for sustainment and fielding. The VCSA instructed TRADOC to deal with the issue of documentation of requirements and determination of the long-term disposition of new capabilities; and directed the HQDA G-8 to get the REF formally funded in the POM. At a subsequent meeting, the VCSA confirmed the overarching relationships previously defined by the CSA a year earlier – that the REF would fall under HQDA G-3/5/7 direction and continue to report to the VCSA. The TDA for the REF was submitted in January 2005 and approved in March, with an effective date of October 2005, roughly 3 years after the REF's stand-up. Figures 6-1 and 6-2 depict the final functional and organizational relationships that define the REF.

(13) Despite the long delays in stabilizing the REF structure, its command relationships, and a funding stream, the REF's performance in support of deployed forces has been remarkably successful. By the end of 2007, the organization had delivered over 550 types of equipment and more than 75,000 individual items, achieving an average of 111 days across all projects for their fielding. The REF did not operate in isolation. As the requirements for its support expanded, so did other requirements that generated parallel demands for rapid response to operational needs beyond the scope or time horizon of the REF. Over time, an integrated network of such organizations arose, all of which connected in significant fashion to the activities of the REF and vice versa. Some of these are summarized below.


ref model 2004

Figure 6-1. The REF model (2004)



ref org command 2004

Figure 6-2. REF organizational chart with command relations (2004)


b. The Army IED TF and JIEDDO.
(1) By October 2003, the IED threat in Iraq had grown to a scale that demanded an institutional response, leading to a decision to establish the Army IED TF. The VCSA deliberately linked the activities of the REF to the new IED TF, which quickly adopted many practices originated by the REF. Essentially, the IED TF and REF formed a partnership, with the REF providing technical assessment and contracting support in the effort to mitigate the IED threat. IED TF teams in-theater, colocated with REF forward elements. The REF acted as the rapid acquisition agent for the IED TF.129

(2) From its inception, the IED TF worked closely with the other services, and its projects often served multiple services. Given the common nature of the IED threat and the logic of fully integrating efforts across the joint force, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, in July 2004, acted to "reflag" the Army IED TF as the joint IED TF (JIEDTF) and formally assign it joint responsibilities under Army executive agency. The ongoing relationship with the REF remained in effect, but expanded to include direct personnel support to JIEDTF in the areas of acquisition, training, scientists, intelligence analysis, and program analysis. The pre-existence of both the REF and Army IED TF substantively enabled the new joint organization to execute its mission without interruption. However, after DOD converted JIEDTF to the JIEDDO in February 2006 and the Army relinquished executive agency, direct interaction between REF and JIEDDO declined (although REF support to JIEDDO remains a priority).130 In addition, the much larger size of JIEDDO and differences in mission and functions serve to increase the separation.131

(3) The JIEDDO mission is notably different from REF in that it focuses more or less exclusively on actions to counter IED threats, and it also carries out a comprehensive training mission. The JIEDDO mission is to lead, advocate, and coordinate all DOD actions in support of the combatant commanders and their respective JTFs' efforts to defeat IEDs as weapons of strategic influence. JIEDDO supports the warfighter through three lines of operations: attack the network, defeat the device, and train the force. Like the REF, JIEDDO employs field teams that are permanently deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan to support its equipping and fielding activities, performing functions similar to those of REF field teams. In the training arena, the JIEDDO Joint Expeditionary Team advises units from platoon to division level prior to deployment on how to attack IED networks, and provides counter-IED battle staff training.132 It may also temporarily deploy elements to perform the same functions in theater. See figure 6-3.

Figure 6-3. JIEDDO organization (2008)133


(4) The rapid acquisition process employed by JIEDDO is the Joint IED Capability Approval and Acquisition Management Process (JCAAMP), published in 2007. JCAAMP leverages an extensive network of interested parties and organizations in industry, academia, service and DOD laboratories, and other government agencies to develop potential counter-IED solutions to urgent operational needs. In 2007, that network included relationships with nearly 300 corporations, 24 universities and research centers, and 37 government labs.

(5) JCAAMP is described as operating like an investment bank to accelerate the development of off-the-shelf technologies and products with high potential for application in-theater. In addition, JIEDDO takes some risk with technologies that still require additional maturation and iterative testing. Candidate solutions are developed and validated for funding within the JCAAMP, then tested, refined, deployed, and assessed under operational conditions. After a sustainment period of 1 to 2 years under JIEDDO control, initiatives are migrated to the services as a program of record or are terminated. JIEDDO calculates that JCAAMP significantly shortens the time between recognition of an urgent capability gap and the delivery of a feasible solution. Its organizational goals are to find and develop an initiative within 4 to 12 months and to deploy and assess that initiative within 12 to 24 months. (As noted earlier, JIEDDO target goals for putting a feasible solution in the hands of Soldiers extend well beyond those of the REF.)134

(6) The Joint Center of Excellence established at Fort Irwin, California, in 2006 is the primary executor of the JIEDDO training function, ensuring that units "have the opportunity to train with the counter-IED tactics and equipment currently found in-theater and in conditions that mirror those in Iraq and Afghanistan."135 The Joint Center of Excellence is augmented by service-specific centers of excellence at Twenty-Nine Palms, California (USMC), Lackland AFB, Texas (U.S. Air Force), and Indian Head, Maryland (U.S. Navy).
(7) In 2007, JIEDDO stood up its COIC to support efforts in-theater to attack enemy networks employing IEDs, fusing multiple source intelligence to support tactical targeting.136 It also enables strategic reachback to exploit information and serves as a source for new technologies in the intelligence community.

(8) Army integration with JIEDDO operates through multiple avenues under oversight of the Army Asymmetric Warfare Office at HQDA. The most directly connected is the Army's JTCOIC, established in 2007 based on a memorandum of agreement with JIEDDO. The JTCOIC is responsible for coordinating the training of deploying units on joint, national, and interagency intelligence and on counter-IED and emerging asymmetric capabilities; integrating processes, practices, concepts, and materiel capabilities into Army DOTMLPF solutions; and coordinating with training centers to provide realistic enemy and environmental signatures into models and simulations in support of realistic intelligence collection and analysis. The JTCOIC models counter-IED solution sets necessary to develop and implement internal unit training provided to deploying brigade and division battle staffs in order to enable effective employment of counter-IED solutions, assist deployed forces in analysis of counter-IED operations, and proactively assist in identifying and addressing counter-IED capability gaps. It maintains high situational understanding of changing IED conditions in-theater through direct linkages to deployed JIEDDO elements and in-theater intelligence sources, and acts quickly to apply those changes into the Army's counter-IED training programs.137

(9) Since its inception, JIEDDO has been resourced through a three-year supplemental fund specifically allocated to their mission. As noted in its FY2007 Annual Report, JIEDDO's rapidly changing requirements often require reprogramming between JIEDDO's three lines of operations. (An example of flexible funding was the Army loan to JIEDDO of $80 million in operations and maintenance funds to ensure coverage of JIEDDO operating costs in the first quarter of FY2007.) As of Fall 2008, OSD Program Analysis and Evaluation was seeking to stabilize JIEDDO funding, which has been at a level of about $4 billion annually, relying heavily on supplemental funds. The funding line in the base budget ($500 million in 2008 and 2009, slated to increase to $1 billion by FY2013) will cover approximately one-third of JIEDDO's overall funding requirement. Looking to the supplemental process to supply the other two-thirds is viewed as encouraging more rapid hand-off of capability solutions to the services for program sustainment and providing flexibility to respond to the ebb and flow of requirements, and to address the delay that often accompanies supplemental legislation. This overall approach presupposes parallel commitment and action by DOD to institutionalize the organization.138

(10) In terms of performance, the JIEDDO Web site notes that the organization "fielded more than 32,000 jammers that prevent remote-control triggered IEDs. It has helped field additional armoring on thousands of vehicles to mitigate IED effects; provided HTTs that helped commanders better understand social networks in their areas of operations; fielded intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities; and provided law enforcement professionals who help commanders better understand the enemy's decentralized, criminal-like networks. Also, JIEDDO provided significant training support for deploying troops by fielding surrogate training systems and enhancing the operational environments in the training centers to reflect conditions in-theater. Training enhancements, troop proficiency, and the employment of protective capabilities have caused the enemy to work harder to achieve desired results.139

(11) Despite an array of capability initiatives delivered to theater forces over the past several years by JIEDDO, a recent subcommittee report by the House Armed services Committee criticized the absence of meaningful metrics that clearly demonstrate the value of JIEDDO activities and permit a reliable assessment of the organization's effectiveness. The report also complained that JIEDDO's reliance on supplemental funding hampered Congress's visibility of JIEDDO's expenditures and hindered the transition of JIEDDO initiatives to service programs of record.140
c. Asymmetric warfare group (AWG) and the AAWO.
(1) The DOD decision to annex the Army IED TF as the base for the JIEDTF left the Army without its own organizational proponent in this area. In response, the Army established the AWG in January 2005 as a FOA under HQDA G-3/5/7.141 The AWG absorbed the tasks performed previously by the IED TF and assumed others, including the following:
(a) Serving as the global conventional U.S. Army expert on asymmetric warfare.
(b) Deploying, integrating, coordinating, and commanding AWG trained and ready forces.
(c) Assisting in the identification, development, and integration of countermeasure technologies.
(d) Establishing linkages with all internal, COCOM, and national intelligence agencies.
(e) Disseminating validated tactics, techniques, and procedures in the area of asymmetric warfare.
(f) Analyzing asymmetric threats and supporting JTF commanders and units in countering asymmetric warfare threats.

(2) As is evident, the AWG's purview extended well beyond that of the REF to areas such as threat assessment, training, and a much broader set of asymmetric warfare concerns. The AWG and REF worked very closely together, with the REF reporting to the AWG and the AWG acting as the conduit for operational direction and prioritization from HQDA G-3/5/7. Subsequently, the G-3/5/7 recognized that it needed its own dedicated staff element to more fully integrate and direct the activities of the AWG, REF, and other organizations, thus establishing the AAWO to assume direction of both the AWG and the REF.

d. TRADOC Asymmetric Warfare Division (AWD) and Accelerated Capabilities Division (ACD)
(1) TRADOC's AWD traced its origins to the establishment of several CSA task forces in late 2003 and early 2004, one of which was charged with examining and providing solutions regarding how TRADOC could respond more rapidly to capabilities urgently needed to support operating forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. This effort was merged with an existing organization at TRADOC, known then as the Spiraling Division, which was engaged in accelerating capabilities emerging from the Future Combat Systems program (an effort otherwise focused on a component of the future force) to be fielded to the current force. Staffed initially with experienced contractors, the new organization successfully supported several major new initiatives, including TF Odin, the counter-rockets, artillery, and mortars program, and counter-IED development.
(2) In 2005, an approved TDA was established and the Spiraling Division transitioned to the AWD, with a portfolio that expanded in the next several years beyond immediate materiel needs to include a broader range of responsibilities and activities related to asymmetric warfare. Over time, the AWD became deeply involved in the development, demonstration, and deployment of many other significant capabilities, including: Convoy protect demonstration, sniper defeat, full spectrum effects platform–Stryker, enhanced logistics support off-road vehicle, base expeditionary targeting and surveillance system, and land warrior–next generation.

(3) With an expansion of its mission to serve as the TRADOC lead for accelerated capabilities development to support the current force across all DOTMLPF domains, the AWD transitioned to become the ACD, while retaining subelements that are still deeply engaged in its former areas of interest. The ACD is also the central coordinating organization for HQDA G-3/5/7 and AAWO support requirements, and is the integrator for asymmetric warfare activities across TRADOC, the Army, and DOD. Periodically, the ACD deploys teams into theater to clarify requirements and obtain firsthand observations and reports on the performance of capabilities which it has sponsored or assisted in development. It is also the action agency for the capabilities development for rapid transition process, described below.

e. RFI.
(1) The RFI is briefly described here as a contrast to the REF, which constitutes the core of the discussion in this chapter. Like the REF, the RFI was created as a result of a VCSA decision in Fall 2002, based on reports of unmet requirements in OEF. In the case of the RFI, the compelling issue was evidence that Soldiers in Afghanistan were purchasing personal items needed for their protection or well-being that were commercially available, but had not been issued to them prior to or after deployment. In response, the VCSA directed Program Executive Officer (PEO) Soldier to take immediate action to equip all deploying Soldiers with enhanced capabilities driven by the demands of operations in-theater, and which supplemented the pre-existing baseline of unit and Soldier equipment. Initial successful efforts quickly led to the institutionalization of the RFI as a centralized, rapid fielding arm of PEO Soldier, with a goal of furnishing a set of new gear to every single deploying or already-deployed Soldier.

(2) Drawing from current programs and operational lessons learned in OEF and OIF, and relying heavily on COTS technology and products, RFI seeks to improve the survivability, lethality, and mobility of Soldiers and units. The list of equipment falling under RFI, which is periodically updated by TRADOC, has grown over 6 years from 15 to over 80 items, based on Soldier feedback and changing requirements. Two categories of equipment are provided, the first focused on Soldier needs and the second on unit requirements.142 Today, the organization has successfully synchronized its fielding program to issue equipment prior to unit deployments, but in its initial period of activity it employed teams to meet units in-theater to size Soldiers for equipment and arrange for immediate delivery from rapidly established fielding sites. As items within RFI kits are incorporated into the Army supply system, they are removed from the RFI list.

(3) By the end of 2007, PEO Soldier had fielded RFI kits to 100 percent of the active Army and 60 percent of the RC, essentially accomplishing the mission set for it in late 2002. However, it continues to innovate and improve its processes to meet Soldier needs in-theater, while also reducing costs. Over the past year and more, PEO Soldier has modified its fielding process to reduce redundant fielding of RFI items, taken action to improve the sustaining base for new gear, trained units to conduct their own sizing activities, and implemented measures to improve supply discipline. In addition, the organization is now implementing and evaluating a HQDA-directed pilot program to conduct RFI fielding in the premobilization phase for RC units identified for deployment.143
(4) As of September 2008, over 1,180,000 Soldiers worldwide had received RFI kits. In addition to the hard work and innovation at PEO Soldier, the immediate and continuing success of RFI can be attributed to the following factors, which are notable as a contrast to the history and evolution of the REF:
(a) RFI was established within an existing organization with an existing POM funding line and manning document.
(b) It is functionally contained within the acquisition community for direction and execution, and well-postured for transition of procurements into programs of record and the sustaining base.
(c) The mainstream function of fielding Soldier and unit equipment was already being performed by PEO Soldier.
(d) It developed and employs streamlined processes for distribution and accountability.
(e) It handles a relatively narrow scope of required equipment, which in most cases was resolved fairly easily through GOTS and COTS procurements.
f. Joint rapid acquisition cell (JRAC).

(1) Other than JIEDDO, the most significant initiative undertaken at the joint and OSD level to address the need for meeting urgent operational requirements was the establishment of the JRAC in September 2004. The JRAC was formed "…to assist in resolving issues impeding the urgent materiel and logistics requirements that the combatant commanders certify as operationally critical,"144 specifically targeting the "institutional barriers that prevent timely and effective joint warfighter support."145 Organized as an element within the Rapid Reaction Technology Office under the director of Defense Research and Engineering, JRAC functions as the single point of contact in OSD for addressing urgent joint force needs, as opposed to service-specific rapid acquisition requirements. The USD(AT&L) and the USD comptroller collectively provide oversight, with the requirement for periodic direct reports on JRAC activities to the Secretary of Defense and Deputy Secretary of Defense. JRAC's small permanent cell is augmented by a larger core group and an advisory group of flag officers and senior executive service representatives from the services, COCOMs, and other defense activities.

(2) Unlike the Army's and other services' rapid equipping organizations, JRAC is focused exclusively on accelerating the acquisition process, primarily through the rapid validation of joint urgent operational needs statements (JUONS).146 Per directive, JUONS may be submitted by a COCOM (or COCOM delegated authority), the CJCS, a military department, a DOD agency, or a senior defense official through the USD(AT&L). In practice, the majority of JUONS originate from COCOMs. The Vice Director, Joint Staff J-8 serves as the gatekeeper for receipt of JUONS, which are then reviewed by the Joint Capabilities Board or one of the Functional Capabilities Boards, as appropriate, to develop a recommendation for disposition, validation by the CJCS, and transmission to the JRAC. The goal for action by the Joint Staff is 48 hours, but no later than 14 days. If the Joint Staff recommends a materiel solution to the JUONS, the core group will normally convene to determine if the JUONS will be designated as an immediate warfighter need.147 Target execution time to provide a solution to the immediate need is 120 days.
(3) At this point, the JRAC designates a military department, a defense agency, or SOCOM as executive agent to implement the project, and then monitors execution. The JRAC provides no funding, but it assists the designated executive agent to obtain funding through Congressional supplementals, such as the Iraqi Freedom Fund, or through reprogramming.

(4) The enactment of the Rapid Acquisition Authority legislation in 2003, amended in 2005, expanded the authority of the Secretary of Defense to acquire rapidly equipment urgently needed on the battlefield. Although it provided no funding source, it allows the DOD to reallocate current-year funding and waive laws and regulations governing equipment testing and procurement. JRAC, as the action agent, serves as the administrator of the Rapid Acquisition Authority.148

(5) The JRAC views its activities as a successful adjunct to the normal acquisition process and cites a number of important equipping efforts. These include the rapid development and deployment of counter-rocket, artillery, and mortar capability; funding support for a suite of non-lethal capabilities applicable to urban environments; purchase of commercial radios to facilitate communications between coalition forces in rugged terrain; and the surge in interest in and emphasis on biometric capabilities to support the war on terror. Work continues within the JRAC to help resolve two common challenges: expansion and simplification of the ways in which current-year funding can be used to support rapid acquisition initiatives, and improvement in the transition of rapid acquisitions into service programs of record to support full fielding and long-term sustainment.149
g. Challenges and obstacles.

(1) Peacetime materiel development and acquisition. The fundamental challenge to rapid equipping and fielding is the fact that the existing materiel development and acquisition system is firmly based on a deliberate, time-intensive, closely regulated, peacetime framework.150 The system depends on rigorous analysis to validate the operational requirement through capabilities-based assessments, which may often take a year or more simply to complete and move through the initial approval process. Once approved for further development, a funding line must be established within the POM (and recertified every 2 years), and a schedule is established to synchronize the effort to acquire the new materiel capability through subsequent milestone reviews and decisions. The process is intended to ensure that new capabilities can be employed in a wide variety of operational conditions and can be fielded across the force. Optimal solutions are sought, adding time, additional requirements, and complexity to the governing requirements documents. Prototypes for major systems are normally required. As products are completed, they are further exposed to exhaustive tests, formal evaluations, and operational assessments. Within the acquisition community, a 5- to 10-year developmental process is viewed as normal; considerably more time is often required for major new air, land, or sea platforms.

(2) Authorities and legal constraints, and acquisition oversight. Overall, the peacetime system is inflexible, difficult to compress in time or to simplify, constrained significantly by policy and law, and designed to avoid risk, misuse of funds, or failure. The pressure of Congressional oversight and the possibility of Government Accounting Office reports or other investigations generate additional caution and deliberateness. The consequences of failure to meet all regulatory requirements, act on the proper authorities, or comply with all approval processes and technical steps can be organizationally and individually dire. As a result, the culture of the community rests on the idea that "slow and sure" is preferable to "fast with risk." This bureaucratic mentality often stands astride even the most well-intentioned and desirable efforts to accelerate specific programs or capabilities.
(3) Methodology for requirements determination. Although the peacetime acquisition system includes the use of operational needs statements (ONS) as a forcing mechanism for priority requirements, the system typically has not linked ONS with an accelerated development and fielding process. During the course of OEF and OIF, both the Army and OSD were compelled to create tailored methodologies for urgent requirements determination to qualify those needs for rapid acquisition. Although the actual formats differed significantly, both provided the information required to support an initial decision. The REF used a modified ONS "ten liner" and assisted users in-theater in completing requirements documentation. That collaboration accelerated the process of validation and also established some fundamental parameters (such as numbers of items needed, enumeration of support requirements, and identification of possible sources) that jump-started project planning.

(4) Organizational stand-up: manning and funding. The historical narrative in paragraph 4 provides a reasonably detailed picture of the many obstacles that must be overcome, first to establish and sustain temporary, ad hoc organizations, and then to institutionalize those organizations as permanent structures. In the first case, ad hoc organizations that exist for more than a few months spend an enormous amount of energy simply sustaining their own existence through the pursuit of personnel, funding, sponsorship, and influence. Absent an official institutional foundation, a temporary organization may be ignored by other organizations whose support may be helpful. Having no requisition or tasking authority, temporary organizations have to rely on the cooperation and largesse of willing partners; they have no guarantees of being able to tap into higher-quality or even well-qualified sources of personnel or obtaining access to other resources. Similarly, initial funding will often be slow in materializing and seldom will have utility or sufficiency through multiple fiscal years. Management and accounting for such funding sources can introduce its own complexity for a fledgling organization.
(5) Subsequently, the implementing actions required to make a temporary organization permanent are also time-consuming and highly complex with respect to manning documents and approvals. They are often constrained by workforce ceilings or other limitations and subject to bureaucratic resistance, particularly when there is another bill payer involved.




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