SPAWAR Enterprise Launches Accelerated Acquisition War Room to Speed Delivery of Technology to the Fleet

Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (DASN (RDT&E)), in collaboration with Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) and Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (PEO C4I), announced the launch of the first satellite version of the accelerated acquisition war room to the SPAWAR workforce June 27.

The accelerated acquisition war room serves two primary purposes. First, it provides a consolidated location to understand the potential impacts of the many acquisition changes in the National Defense Authorization Acts of fiscal years 2016-2018 that aim to streamline and accelerate defense acquisition programs.

“It is an immersive, collaborative space to dig into the details of these new streamlined authorities and explore options and topics that are applicable to different groups such as senior leaders, program managers, resource sponsors, fleet representatives, engineers, contracts, financial managers and other key stakeholders,” said Kristen Alvarez, DASN (RDT&E) accelerated acquisition lead.

Second, the war room provides a space where cross-functional teams can prepare detailed, merit-based assessments and acquisition approaches necessary to pursue the “middle tier” of acquisition programs. These programs are intended to be completed in a period of two to five years via two acquisition pathways: rapid prototyping or rapid fielding.

Rapid prototypes deliver an operational capability within five years of requirement while rapid fielding begin production within six months and complete fielding within five years of requirement. The acquisition agility initiative provides similar rapid component prototyping pathways into traditional major defense acquisition programs within two years.

“New and alternate acquisition authorities, such as those provided by middle tier acquisition strategies, increase access to – and the utility of – rapid prototyping and rapid fielding pathways,” said Carly Jackson, SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific’s director of prototyping for information warfare. “These pathways were established with recognition that increased use of rapid prototype development and experimentation early in a program’s formation is not only fundamental to improving acquisition outcomes, but also critical to increasing the speed at which we deliver capability to the warfighter.”

Within its first three days, the accelerated acquisition war room informed more than 500 personnel via the kick-off session, multiple two-hour workshops and executive sessions for military and civilian leaders. Of the people who walked through the content in the room itself, approximately 80 percent directly support PEO C4I programs. That command is creating a digital war room it expects to launch this fall, set up in the same space the accelerated acquisition paper war room temporarily occupies now. The digital format will allow for the space to function as a war room with the capacity to feature multiple story lines, as well as a collaborative and immersive workspace where teams can efficiently develop plans and solve complex problems.

Employees with expertise with rapid fielding from across the SPAWAR competencies were nominated for “future facilitator” training so that SPAWAR can develop their own capability to facilitate future sessions.

“Our people must understand flexible funding mechanisms and changes in contracting rules to accelerate acquisition for the Navy’s C4ISR, space, and cyber capabilities,” said Pat Sullivan, SPAWAR executive director. “This war room provides an environment to develop new business models and approaches that will enable the SPAWAR enterprise to deliver capability at the speed of relevance.”

The robust turnout and positive feedback has led to extended use of the war room spaces to allow for future collaboration on accelerated acquisition. The content will also be digitized and included in upcoming audio and video expansion to further increase the war room’s reach.

SPAWAR identifies, develops, delivers and sustains information warfighting capabilities supporting naval, joint, coalition and other national missions. SPAWAR consists of more than 10,000 active duty military and civil service professionals located around the world and close to the fleet to keep SPAWAR at the forefront of research, engineering and acquisition to provide and sustain information warfare capabilities to the fleet.