Military Capabilities

USN hopes new research framework will accelerate future force capabilities

24 July 2017

Key Points

  • New strategic direction refocuses naval science, research, and development
  • Framework pinpoints cultural mindsets that have hindered USN acquisition at the speed of technological innovation

The US Office of Naval Research (ONR) released a new framework for science and technology (S&T) development on 20 July 2017 that is intended to facilitate the fielding of decisive capabilities and work a sea change of ideology among US Navy (USN) personnel.

The framework outlines key USN and US Marine Corps (USMC) issues as being: structure and cadence of budgeting activities drive near-term, fragmented decision-making, and foster a protectionist mind-set at the expense of strategic programme effectiveness; the lack of research and development (R&D) priorities to guide and align investment/kill decisions sub-optimises outcomes, slowing the maturation and delivery of needed capabilities; prototyping, experimentation, and demonstration are misallocated in acquisition vice earlier in development incurring programmatic risk in cost, schedule delays, and performance shortfalls; organisational bureaucracy and administrative churn associated with the complexity of acquisition rules stifle agility and innovation, and promote splintered governance over an integrated portfolio perspective.

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