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Defense Acquisition University
Rapid Capabilities Office Recognized for Excellence
Written by: DAU Public Affairs Office
February 19, 2019
The David Packard Excellence in Acquisition Award is awarded annually to Department of Defense teams, organizations and groups that have demonstrated acquisition excellence and greater efficiency and productivity. The presentation of the 2018 awards will occur on February 25, 2019.
The Army Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) and Project Manager Electronic Warfare & Cyber (PM EW&C) is being honored for implementing a phased prototyping, experimentation and fielding approach to deliver new electronic warfare capabilities.
In 2016, the United States Army Europe determined a critical strategic gap in electronic warfare (EW) capabilities that had to be addressed for soldiers to be able to defer and defeat potential Russian aggression. Russia had demonstrated the ability to use the electromagnetic spectrum to affect military operations, potentially hampering the Army’s ability to maneuver equipment, vehicles, and air support effectively. LTG Ben Hodges, the United States Army Europe Commanding General, pushed for quick acquisition action to create capabilities to address this need.
The RCO, formed in August 2016 and chartered with unique authorities to address strategic-level urgent and evolving threats, received the assignment to deliver an EW solution. They partnered with PM EW&C, which develops and manages electronic warfare programs for the Army, and teamed up with the 2
Cavalry Regiment and 173
Airborne Brigade to develop a rapid prototyping approach focused on system design, performance, functionality and training to meet operational needs in the near- and mid-term. They incorporated soldier feedback throughout the process, integrated new technology as it became available and quickly delivered incremental updates to reduce operational risk.
The partnership expedited the traditional acquisition process by working with multiple parties, taking advantage of the RCO charter and the mid-tier acquisition pathways provided in Section 804 of the NDA to tailor and condense key elements of the acquisition process. They modified several existing systems while working to develop new ones. Within months of conception, “Phase 0” EW prototypes hit the ground in Europe for operational assessment. After feedback from soldiers in the field, “Phase 1” prototypes were developed. One year after initiation, the RCO and PM EW&C received approval to field the project. Delivery and training of “Phase 1” prototypes took place in 2018, while efforts to develop newer prototypes continue.
The efforts of the RCO and PM EW&C enabled the Army to more quickly get much needed capabilities into the hands of soldiers and ensure they are equipped to deter electronic attack efforts.