a. Since 2006, the Army has engaged in meaningful deliberations regarding the long-term disposition of the organizational capabilities that it has built through the AWG, REF, JTCOIC, and others, and the forms and functions that should be institutionalized to maintain an accelerated materiel development capability for the future. The following discussion is not intended to prescribe a solution or set of solutions to these ongoing discussions. Instead, this section proposes a set of principles and guidelines that should be accounted for within any future organizational solution set. The learning experiences over the past 7-plus years by the DOD and Army organizations previously summarized substantively inform the elucidation of these principles, which are grouped into three main categories, as described below. For the ease of discussion in this study, the strawman organization envisioned for establishment will be referred to as the accelerated materiel development and equipping organization (AMDEO).
b. Organizational principles.
(1) Topping the list of organizational principles is the idea of extreme flexibility that also combines operational direction of the organization's activities with effective oversight by the acquisition community. Extreme flexibility must be maintained in order to permit the AMDEO to adapt its own staff organization, practices, processes, and purview to the dynamically changing character of conflict and associated operational needs. Perhaps the one certain characteristic of a GF capability for accelerated materiel development and equipping is the fact that warfighter requirements will change rapidly as existing conflicts evolve and new conflicts or operational requirements emerge. The discussion below includes additional examples of the need for extreme flexibility in the areas of project approval, commitment of funds, and staff functions.
(2) Operational direction simply means that the organization is guided first by priorities established by HQDA G-3/5/7 rather than by the acquisition community. This principle was widely debated during the evolution of the REF and decided rightly. The HQDA G-3/5/7 is best positioned to fully understand the capability gaps surfaced during ongoing operations and to prioritize them in terms of significance, urgency, and resources. At the same time, however, the organization must deliberately link at multiple levels to the acquisition community, involving the Army Acquisition Executive, a designated milestone decision authority, and specific program managers and program executive officers, to ensure that acquisition law, regulations, and rules are strictly observed and that the close coordination required to deliver materiel to users without delay is carried out.
(3) These two factors – operational direction and effective acquisition oversight – further underpin one of the critical factors for the success of the REF and RFI: four-star sponsorship of both the organization and its authorities and purview. In the case of the REF, the VCSA performed that role by virtue of inherent authority over both the operational and acquisition elements of the HQDA staff. Given that successful experience, it is possible to make strong arguments to establish the AMDEO as a DRU or FOA under HQDA, subject to the overarching oversight of the VCSA. This approach helps ensure priority access to bodies with project approval authority, such as the Army Requirements Oversight Council.151
(4) The experiences of rapid equipping during OEF and OIF further support the principle that the future AMDEO should retain a narrow focus, characterized by an emphasis on materiel requirements that are critical to force protection, survivability, and other capabilities deemed essential to overall mission success. Similarly, the focus should remain on equipping rather than fielding (although a parallel study on the ways and means of achieving accelerated fielding would be a worthy endeavor). At the same time, the AMDEO must be multifunctional in order to adapt rapidly to changing requirements and priorities across doctrinal warfighting functions.152 c. Autonomy. Both the AMDEO director and selected deputies or representatives (such as chiefs of forward support teams) must retain significant authority and autonomy to initiate projects and adapt plans in progress, based on assessments made during the execution process, without preapproval from higher authorities.
d. Operational linkages. The AMDEO should deliberately incorporate a staffing and organizational scheme that aligns its activities with active operations under the direction of COCOM, JTF, and Army commanders. Following the example of the REF and JIEDDO, the AMDEO organization should include forward support teams located within JOAs. Forward support teams require secure communications, mobility, and a support structure (either organic or provided by other theater assets) to enable effective direction of in-theater equipping operations and close coordination with the units being served by their activities. Typically, forward support teams will require a combination of operators, technicians, and administrative or support personnel in order to function effectively and to avoid over-reliance on in-theater organizations for support.
e. External networking and joint integration. Standard practices in DOD materiel development include rigorous emphasis on joint integration with respect to the development and fielding of new materiel capabilities. Although some redundancy is desirable across services because of unique requirements or applications, excessive duplication must be avoided. In support of this goal and to exploit the work of other organizations involved in related or supporting activities, the AMDEO must maintain a robust capability for networking with a broad variety of organizations external to itself. Within the Army, those organizations include the combat development community (such as TRADOC), the intelligence community, RDECOM, and its subordinate elements, ATEC for support and adherence to assessment requirements, and various other acquisition elements on which it will depend for support, and eventually, hand-off of sustainment responsibilities. Networking outside the Army will involve close ties to DOD acquisition and rapid technology and rapid fielding activities, DOD and service labs, advanced technology development proponents, joint commands, and joint organizations such as JIEDDO. In addition, AMDEO must maintain linkages to national labs, industry, academia, and non-DOD scientific and technology centers.
f. Staff expertise. The experiences of REF and JIEDDO both point persuasively toward the need for staff personnel within an AMDEO-like organization to include operators, logisticians, and technical and scientific expertise, acquisition and contracting experts, and agile, innovative support personnel. Personnel must be deployable, with previous in-theater experience highly desirable. It is not unusual to find that the capability to acquire contractor staff provides a higher degree of experience, flexibility, and responsiveness than relying solely on the military and government civilian personnel systems. Contracted personnel also provide a means to adapt to an ebb and flow in tempo.
g. Spin-off organizations. By virtue of the change that it introduces within the force, an AMDEO-like organization can be expected to generate simultaneous requirements for spin-off organizations that are required to support, complete, or expand projects and programs initiated by the AMDEO. These spin-offs may be needed for functions such as manning, funding, training, sustainment, and program management, and may appear in the form of tiger teams, task forces, or other temporary organizations, or permanent structures.