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Army Capabilities Integration Center hosts experimentation conference

By Glenn E. Gutting, Center for Army Lessons Learned, Joint Experimentation Analyst, MPRI Contractor

FORT MONROE, VA (TRADOC News Service, July 24, 2006) - The Army is pursuing the most comprehensive transformation of its forces since the early years of World War II.  The pace of Army Transformation has produced important results: the Stryker Brigade Combat Teams, successful transition from concept and technology demonstration to system development and demonstration of the Future Combat Systems (FCS), the rapid fielding of digital battle command capabilities of Army forces and Joint and Coalition partners during OIF and the reorganization, deployment and redeployment of modular brigade-based units. 

Clearly, the Army has always changed and always will.  But an Army at War must change the way it changes.  Modern warfare is immensely complex.  The vast array of capabilities, skills, techniques and organizations of war is a recipe for chaos without thoughtful planning to ensure interoperability, synchronization and synergy. 

The TRADOC Commanding General (CG) serves as the Army’s Architect of the Future (Army Campaign Plan).  His Executive Agent for this mission is the Director, Army Capabilities Integration Center (ARCIC – and formerly called the TRADOC Futures Center).  The ARCIC supports the Army and TRADOC CG in the  design, development and integration of force capability requirements for the Army.  The ARCIC uses wargaming, experimentation and concept development to develop and integrate capability requirements from a comprehensive perspective of Doctrine, Organization, Training, Material, Leader Development and Education, Personnel and Facilities (DOTMLPF).  The ARCIC is also responsible to the Secretary of the Army and Chief of Staff, Army for determining and integrating force requirements and synchronizing the development of DOTMLPF solutions across the Army.  The ARCIC is the lead Army agency for coordination with Joint agencies and other Services for identification and integration of joint required capabilities.  This responsibility includes Joint wargaming, concept development and experimentation.  A key enabler for developing the future force is experimentation. 

Experimentation is derived from the Latin ‘expiriri,’ which means “to try.”  Unlike other types of knowledge, experimentation knowledge is always founded upon observation or experience (Code of Best Practices).  That is, it is always empirical.  Experimentation ranges from discovery to hypothesis testing to demonstration.  The Army uses various combinations of live, virtual and constructive simulation to execute experiments.  Experimentation allows concept and capability developers in the Army to “test” new capabilities before making huge program investments or placing them in the hands of Soldiers.  It serves to mitigate risk for the Nation and Army.

The mission of the ARCIC’s Joint and Army Experimentation Division’s (JAED or ‘Experimentation Division’ for short) is to manage and synchronize all Army and TRADOC experiments in order to support current and future force developments.

The Experimentation Division chaired this semi-annual planning conference at the Lockheed Martin Center for Innovation in Suffolk, VA, 31 May – 2 June 2006.
They host a conference like this one on a regular quarterly basis.  Every other conference is live, while the others are conducted via video-teleconference (VTC).  Additionally, JAED leads a bi-weekly VTC to ensure the entire community of practice remains informed and any issues are resolved as quickly as possible.

This live, three-day conference brought together key innovators, called the ‘Concept Development and Experimentation (CDE) community of practice,’ from across the Department of Defense, industry, academic and multi-national partners. 

The purpose of the conference was to:

  1. define the key initiatives for the main experiment – Omni Fusion ‘07
  2. determine which joint experiments can be leveraged for Army requirements
  3. determine which experiments require ARFORGEN support
  4. review and refine FY07 draft experiment proposals
  5. draft resource workbooks
  6. draft resource models
  7. draft experimentation calendar
  8. assess organization objectives for the remainder of this fiscal year
  9. and continue work on the Army Concept Development Experimentation Plan (ACDEP) for FY07 out to FY17

The ACDEP, as an annex of the Army’s Transformation Plan, Army’s Campaign Plan and TRADOC’s Concept and Capabilities Plan, codifies the campaign of learning, addressing the body of knowledge the Army requires to develop the Current and Future Force for the Joint Warfighter.  The ACDEP directs the planning, preparation and execution of the Army concept development and experimentation in order to support this campaign of learning underpinning near and long term Army developments and utilizes the resources of a diverse, DOD-wide community of practice to refine concepts and develop capabilities.  The goal is to increase the knowledge base (learning) and risk mitigation for the Current Army Modular Force and the Future Army Modular Force.

The future and the strategic security environment are uncertain and present many challenges.  The Experimentation Division is leading the Army’s efforts to ensure the Joint Warfighter has the doctrine, organization, training, material, leader development, facilities and personnel they need to carry out their mission. This conference brought together people involved in the process of maturing an individual idea from concept to capability to the Joint Warfighter.  The whole process comprises many threads maturing at different rates and executed simultaneously.  This situation demands careful planning as a basis for change.