a. Speed and simultaneity. Because rapid materiel development and equipping is intended to meet operational needs, the time in which a solution to those needs is developed and delivered is a critical hallmark of successful organizational execution. Establishing a time standard for project completion in terms of initial delivery of a new capability appears to be an effective metric that serves multiple purposes. It creates a shared expectation with the operational customer; sets a predictable framework for completing all the steps in project execution; helps to size the organization itself and determine the number of projects that can be handled simultaneously; synchronizes action plans across multiple projects; and creates an overall organizational operational tempo for efficient management.
b. Risk balanced against urgency. The imperative of speed and the difficulty of meeting some operational needs introduce risk of failure into the process. Simultaneously, the urgency of requirements creates a higher tolerance for prudent risk. Although a comprehensive analysis of risk will rarely be possible, the AMDEO process should document a risk assessment for each project of sufficient rigor to justify moving forward. Exceptions to this practice should be permissible with respect to observably low-risk projects that may be initiated in-theater. In addition, senior leaders must be prepared to accept and defend a reasonable level of failed projects.
c. Acceptable vice optimal solutions. The urgency of immediate operational needs constrains the ability of a rapid equipping organization to identify, develop, and deliver optimal materiel solutions which would be suitable for the wider variety of conditions and environmental factors normally associated with a traditional procurement. As a result, the AMDEO should establish metrics for what constitutes an acceptable materiel solution. If and when a rapid acquisition is approved for fielding, the Army acquisition system will have the opportunity to upgrade the capability to meet higher performance standards.
d. GOTS and COTS. AMDEO must rely heavily on procuring and adapting technologies and products that are already available commercially or through other government programs. This approach, in turn, demands the organizational capability to quickly contract for the purchase of the materiel, as well as the industry and contractor support that will often be required to adapt the materiel to the specific functions required on the battlefield.
e. Perpetual research. The AMDEO must pursue continuous research activities in order to maintain high visibility of GOTS and COTS technologies, prototypes, industry capabilities, maturing technologies within the government and private science and technology communities, and other potential sources and suppliers. In addition to supporting the rapid identification of possible materiel solutions, this research activity will also serve to avoid redundant efforts, generate multiple solution options for performance and cost comparison, maintain some level of competitive procurement, and provide alerts to potential providers of key defense interest areas.
f. Operations inside the acquisition system. The AMDEO will only be successful if it is able to streamline (that is, abbreviate) and accelerate the standard acquisition process to enable it to rapidly validate requirements, obtain appropriate approvals, commit funding, arrange support contracts, meet test and evaluation requirements, and deliver capability within its established time metric. However, as the previous historical narratives and discussions have indicated, even as it operates under streamlined processes, the AMDEO must also ensure that each project is executed in compliance with fundamental acquisition guidelines, laws, and regulations, which in turn demands close harmony with the acquisition community. It is also imperative to establish a dedicated direct-support relationship with a contracting office and/or contracting team to ensure rapid acquisition support; warranted contracting officer(s) assigned to the AMDEO could also ensure staff expertise.
g. Priority of efforts. If not otherwise directed due to unique circumstances, the logical priority of effort by the AMDEO would be first, to deployed joint and Army forces; second, to deploying Army forces; third, to coalition partners; and fourth, to all others (such as other service-specific needs).
h. Staff functions and planning. AMDEO staff functions extend from basic, continuous research to validation of urgent requirements, thence to project initiation, execution, and delivery, culminating ultimately in a disposition decision that transfers responsibility for sustained support of materiel or else results in redirection or termination of projects. The following are suggested to illustrate their nature and scope.
(1) Maintenance of direct links to theater operators and support organizations, including forward support teams.
(2) Identification, evaluation, selection, and purchase of GOTS and COTS materiel or other-sourced nongovernmental items.
(3) Contracting for support services; contract close-outs.
(4) Collaboration with industry vendors and coordination with other services, joint entities, and coalition partners.
(5) Documentation and certifications in compliance with acquisition statutes and regulations.
(6) Preparation of project supporting plans, including the following:
(a) Acquisition strategy – schedule, performance, and cost.
(b) Materiel development and production plan.
(c) Theater distribution plan.
(d) Employment concept.
(e) Training plan and materials.
(f) Predelivery testing and safety validation.
(g) Operational assessment in conjunction with capability employment.
(h) Sustainment plan, including shipping, delivery to unit, accountability, and initial maintenance.
(i) Transition plan.
(7) Delivery capability in-theater, in-theater training, adaptation, and feedback; and in-theater hand-off.
(8) Post-project evaluation of operational significance.
(9) Conduct and response to predictive analysis.
i. Transition. After a rapid acquisition capability is delivered, validated as meeting the operational need, and distributed to users, AMDEO will need to accomplish an effective, timely hand-off of responsibility to an appropriate component of the Army acquisition and sustaining base for completion of the fielding process in-theater and the establishment of the capability to sustain the materiel solution (maintenance, repair, parts supply, and others). Rapid transition enables AMDEO to apply resources to additional projects and also reduces the burden on the rapid equipping budget.
j. An additional requirement exists to determine the final disposition of rapidly acquired capabilities. That is, will they become permanent items (programs of record) within the Army inventory and supply system, disposed in some other fashion, or terminated? Beginning in 2004, the Army has used the capabilities development for rapid transition process, under TRADOC purview, to determine final disposition of candidate programs of record originating through rapid acquisition. This process considers both materiel and nonmateriel capabilities and introduces those capabilities determined to be suitable as Army programs of record into the JCIDS process for full development. TRADOC carries out an assessment based on feedback from theater users, ATEC, and other objective evaluations, including collection teams. TRADOC's recommendations go to the VCSA for approval, and then to the Army Requirements Oversight Council and Joint Requirements Oversight Council to complete the process.153
k. Anticipation vice reaction. Because of the dynamic character of conflict, a rapid equipping organization will normally find itself reacting to emerging requirements rather than anticipating them and having solutions in hand or underway when needed. However, the capability for AMDEO to anticipate urgent operational requirements can be developed by a variety of means.154 (1) First, the importance of maintaining linkages to intelligence organizations is essential. AMDEO operators must understand how an adversary is operating, how an external supporter might assist that adversary, how similar groups have operated in the past, and exploit sources which can make reliable projections regarding how the enemy may be going to adapt. Along this line, AMDEO's activities can also be expected to generate enemy adaptation. For example, if jamming devices are deployed by AMDEO to prevent terrorists from setting off IEDs by remote signals, they will find another way to detonate the devices. AMDEO should have a process in place, perhaps something like an internal Red Team, to deliberately analyze how the enemy is going to react to the capabilities that it pushes forward. That analysis should be accompanied by a plan to identify follow-on counters to the enemy counters before rather than after the enemy changes his tactics. In short, AMDEO should plan for, not wait for, enemy adaptations, where feasible.
(2) Other means of anticipation deliberately employed by AMDEO to improve anticipation could include use of commissioned studies, access to operational lessons learned (including those emerging from other non-U.S. conflicts), information obtained from captured combatants, and trends analyses.
l. Metrics. The discussion above has cited several instances of the importance in the use of metrics (such speed in acquisition, time to field, risk taken, and viability of materiel), both to guide the work of the AMDEO and to measure the value of its output. Because of the nature of its mission, as the need for rapid equipping inevitably declines when conflicts are stabilized or resolved, demands will rise for AMDEO to justify its past and continuing existence. It will have to prove its effectiveness and continuing utility. Metrics must extend beyond merely documenting what has been done; they should be developed to show effectiveness and operational benefits with respect to issues such as lives saved; decline in injuries and property loss; increase in enemy losses and ineffectiveness; improvement in task or mission accomplishment; satisfaction of clearly defined capability gaps; applicability across the joint force; cost avoidance; competitive procurement; and cost savings through innovation.
m. Information sharing. Many organizations across DOD will be involved in rapid materiel development and equipping. The Army should encourage, support, and participate in DOD-wide information-sharing venues and protocols both to share its experience and capabilities and to benefit from the activities of others.