Navy admiral: MACO accelerating IOC by three years on several programs

By Justin Katz / December 5, 2017 at 9:50 AM

Three Navy programs of record will reach initial operating capability three years early as a result of the service’s rapid capability office, according to a top service acquisition official.

The MQ-25A, an unmanned tanker, the Large Displacement Unmanned Undersea Vehicle and the Standard Missile-2 Block 3 system are programs of record within the Maritime Accelerated Capabilities Office, the Navy’s rapid acquisition authority modeled after a similar office in the Air Force.

"MACO programs take full advantage of delegation, waiver and tailoring authorities and report directly to the [chief of naval operations], [Marine Corps] Commandant and [the office of research, development and acquisition] for guidance and decisions," Vice Adm. David Johnson, the Navy acquisition executive’s principal military deputy, told attendees at a Washington conference yesterday.

"Because of these rapid approaches, these systems will field initial capability at least three years earlier than the programs of record," he said.

The Navy's rapid acquisition authority was stood up in January as a way to field capabilities to the fleet within two years, Inside the Navy previously reported.

William Bray, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development, testing and evaluation, said putting capabilities in sailors’ hands quickly is one of the lessons learned from the office.

"How do you get it out to the warfighter? And then how do you do the scaling up?" Bray told ITN during an Oct. 26 interview at the Pentagon. "Prototyping will deliver a widget . . . but then how do you take that" and integrate it into a broader system.

Another lesson learned is to avoid a "tight fix" on the requirements, he said.

"We have to be careful that we don't have such a . . . tight fix on the requirements," Bray said. "I think the whole idea of prototyping is to be able to have a general concept of what you want and some high-level requirements and maybe some ability to do trades."