The Army has paired staffers from its research and development community with the requirements community as a way to improve development on new Army platforms.
“With respect to the appreciation of what’s going on out in the technology [sector], that’s the purpose of bringing [Research, Development and Engineering Command] closer to the requirements community so they can show ‘Here’s the challenge that I have, the capability I’m striving for. Here’s what’s available on the market,’” Ryan McCarthy, the undersecretary of the Army, said at the AUSA Global Force Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama March 26.
This synergy will help better advise the requirements developers, which has been a major focus for the Army as it looks to modernize and deploy new capabilities faster.
“You’ll bring together the technologists who will have the ability to better be able to advise the requirements writers on the state of technology, the advancements of technology whether the technology is being done in house to the Army or whether they’re being done by international partners, academia, or through private industry,” Maj. Gen. Cedric Wins, commander of RDECOM told C4ISRNET at the symposium. “You’ll have a better opportunity to do that to help shape the requirements development process.”
Now, the technology community can inform the requirements community if a technology already exists.
“The more we understand through our experimental prototyping efforts, the capabilities that we’re going after, the more you can buy down risk in defining your requirements and then perhaps pass a better product to our industry partners,” Wins said. “[We can] say, ‘Hey this is what we’re looking for in the way of a capability.’”
Winns added this approach may also help eliminate the criticisms that the requirements process is too prescriptive and not descriptive.
“Eventually we’ve got to get to a requirements document but a lot of the feedback we get is the requirements are so prescribed that it doesn’t really allow the innovation that we want to have,” Gen. James McConville, the Army’s vice chief of staff, said at the symposium.