Rainey emphasizes need for agile approach for developing capabilities

By Dan Schere / January 19, 2024 at 1:09 PM

Gen. James Rainey, the commanding general of Army Futures Command, this week urged the service to take a more agile approach to developing capabilities and decrease the amount of time it takes to test some systems.

Rainey, speaking at an event hosted by data firm Govini in Washington on Jan. 18, said defense contractors are capable of accelerating production when needed, as evidenced by the amount of weapons the United States has been sending to Ukraine since its war with Russia started nearly two years ago.

“If the president wants something to happen, contracting works really fast,” he said.

Rainey suggested there needs to be a better strategy for coordinating the development of unmanned systems across multiple portfolios, as opposed to having 10 different programs with UAVs, for example.

“Our commanders need a 24-hour [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] capability that is attritable, that comes with a configurable payload,” he said.

Rainey added that the Army’s “testing enterprise needs to be reinvented,” meaning UAVs could be tested in a shorter period of time than manned helicopters, for example.

In areas such as UAS, artificial intelligence and human-machine integration, Rainey said “our quest for the aspirational is blinding us to the doable.” AI won’t do everything but could close significant gaps when it comes to “knowable information that we don’t know,” he said.

“We have got to dramatically increase the pace by which we’re adapting,” he said.