Army stands up office to develop new capabilities.

Author:Tadjdeh, Yasmin

* The warnings from government officials have been dire: Adversaries around the globe are beefing up their defense spending and eating away at the technological edge the United States has enjoyed for decades.

Defense Department leaders have responded by standing up a slew of organizations across the Pentagon aimed at cutting red tape and rapidly acquiring new technology and capabilities.

The latest effort is the Army's rapid capabilities office, which was established in late August. The RCO "will expedite the acquisition of select capabilities to meet soldiers' immediate and near-term needs and serve as the breeding ground for ideas that enable a more agile and innovative acquisitions process," said Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning.

The office will initially focus on the execution of rapid prototyping and equipping within the areas of electronic warfare, cyber, survivability and position navigation, he said.

"We're not embarking on creating new systems or new platforms. We're not focused on building a new helicopter, but we would turn to this office if some capability on an existing helicopter is no longer sufficient," he said during an event hosted by Bloomberg Government in Washington, D.C.

With many threats around the world, now seemed like the perfect time to focus on a new way to acquire equipment, he said.

"It's clear as we watch our adversaries that they have studied our capabilities. They have looked for vulnerabilities. They've embarked on ambitious modernization efforts to narrow the technological gap between our forces," he said.

"For our commanders in the field today, and from exercises I've observed in my travels with the Army, it's clear that...the Army's overmatch against a potential adversary is not what it once was and it's not where it needs to be," he said.

The office will have a short chain of command, which will make it more agile and responsive in meeting operational demands, he said. It will have a board of directors, which Fanning will chair. Members include the Army's acquisition executive, Katrina McFarland, and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley.

"[We] mean it when we say, 'rapid.' We're not aiming for the perfect solution that will field to the entire Army 15 or 20 years down the line," Fanning said. "We have great programs already working to do that. This office is closing on capability gaps where we know there are technologies out there today that can make a difference, inside the Army or out."

The office's...

To continue reading