Home' Army Acquisition Logistics and Technology Magazine : Army ALT July-September 2016 Contents scratch, SOF acquisition adopted the existing Southwest Airlines
Row 44 Ku-band internet solution with slight modi cations to
ensure connection to the necessary networks. Later, War ghter
Information Network -- Tactical Increment 1 adopted this solu-
tion for an initial operational capability (IOC) in the Army,
calling it the Enroute Mission Command Capability (EMC2),
while simultaneously taking the next step and adding Ka-band
to the antenna for the full operational capability (FOC).
ese small steps allowed the e ort to build momentum and
provide immediate capability to the Soldier while developing
the future capability. Each of these phases (SOF capability,
Army IOC capability and Army FOC capability) was two
to three years long. DOD names as a primary goal of Better
Buying Power (BBP) 3.0 incentivizing greater and timelier inno-
vation by removing barriers to the use of commercial technology.
Leveraging commercial technology can make big e orts small
and small e orts fast.
e lesson learned? Leverage other people's developments and
make your e orts small to win big.
LESSON 2: SLOW IS SMOOTH,
SMOOTH IS FAST SNIPER MAXIM
When USSOCOM initially approached the Air Force program
o ce, the time estimate for the C-17 antenna installations was
six years---a lifetime to special operations. To reduce that time-
line, USSOCOM framed the e ort. Instead of immediately
chartering a project and standing up an integrated project team,
USSOCOM went back to basics, launching a series of studies.
e rst was a network study to gure out which military or
commercial airborne satellite network should be leveraged, fol-
lowed by an antenna placement study to determine where on
the aircraft the antenna should be located to minimize technical
risk and, therefore, cost. e approach was most aptly summed
up by the deputy J-6: We were "going slow to go fast."
Doing two studies allowed for better framing decisions to be
made, which reduced the risk to the antenna and aircraft con-
tractors and the government at the same time. A prototype
further reduced risk, followed by a kit-proof, or operational pro-
totype e ort, before the full production run.
All this time, we managed the two contractors (antenna and air-
craft providers), rather than putting one in charge of the other.
By production time, all the risk was wrung out of the e ort,
which reduced costs by more than half between development and
production. Overall, the original six-year and $50 million-plus
working estimate for a "give it to a prime integrator" approach
was reduced to three years and just under $25 million. E ec-
tively, both the budget and schedule were cut in half.
e lessons learned? Take the time to do the brain work up front,
be innovative in your approach, control the process and keep the
system-level integration in-house if possible.
LESSON 3: START SMALL, BUILD ON SUCCESS
For the Army's Transportable Tactical Command Communica-
tions program, which provides small satellite dishes to teams
through company-sized Army units, the program o ce lever-
aged a developmental e ort from USSOCOM---the X-Band
MicroSat Project (XBMS). e XBMS project produced the rst
high-bandwidth, sub-one-meter X-band satellite dishes through
a three-part developmental e ort: a proof of concept through
the Air Force Research Laboratory, followed by an open com-
petition for prototypes and a production competition for those
who submitted prototypes. e total cost of development was
less than $1 million and took about a year and a half. at
three-step process resulted in the full elding of these terminals
throughout subordinate units at a little over the original tar-
geted price of $50,000 per terminal.
AIRBORNE SITUATIONAL AWARENESS
A Global Response Force paratrooper uses the Army's EMC2 for in-flight
situational awareness while flying from Fort Bragg, North Carolina,
to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, in December 2015. The EMC2, or
"flying command post," improves situational awareness, command
and control for airborne elements. (U.S. Army photo by Capt. Lisa
Beum, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division (1-82 ABN)
38 Army AL&T Magazine July-September 2016
MAKING ACQUISITION RAPID: A PRACTITIONER'S VIEW
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