James F. Geurts, assistant secretary of the Navy for Research, Development & Acquisition (ASN (RD&A)), discussed speed of delivery in operations, testing, and acquisitions with senior leaders at the Advanced Warfighting Summit (AWS) hosted by Navy Warfare Development Command (NWDC) on Oct. 17.
Geurts, the featured AWS speaker, said his visit was “awesome. Good to get a chance to sit down and talk to the folks who are thinking about the future and how we’re going to get at the future; whether that’s the operational side, how we’re going to test, or how we’re going to acquire. There’s no more important thing for us to be focused on right now.”
“I think the key is creating the network and the relationships,” Geurts said. “That way we’ve got clear communication, partnership and collaboration all the way from our earliest part of research and development and all the way through operational employment and experimentation. I think NWDC is a key part in linking all of these different elements together.”
Secretary Geurts discussed the challenge of managing speed of delivery versus the refinement of a capability before it goes to the warfighter.
“I don’t think there’s any one absolute,” he said. “The things that need to go fast require that we figure out how to do that quickly and effectively. Some things we want to take our time on, like if we’re developing a new technology or something that’s a little more risky. I think the real key is how do we always act with a sense of urgency. Some of that is how do we work together and leverage all of our collective strength instead of each trying to do it ourselves.”
The visit and presentation by Secretary Geurts was a perfect fit for a successful Advanced Warfighting Summit.
“The AWS forum provides Strike Group and Warfighting Development Center (WDC) commanders, and other training and capability development organizations, an opportunity to capture current warfighting challenges and share insights to inform future force development and warfighting integration,” U.S. Navy Rear Admiral John F. Meier, NWDC commander, said. “We shape and focus the entire AWS around a specific theme, to include briefs and open, frank discussions with our government partners, along with prominent civilian thinkers and senior Fleet leadership.”
U.S. Navy Capt. Przemyslaw "Kaz" Kaczynski, head of the NWDC Operations Department, provided additional details about this key NWDC event. He said AWS is conducted twice per year.
This AWS is the 10th in the series. Kaczynski said, “We gather all CSG (Carrier Strike Group) and ESG (Expeditionary Strike Group) commanders, WDC (Warfighting Development Center) commanders, and other Fleet and Naval leaders together to capture current warfighting challenges and share insights to inform force development and warfighting integration. We shape and focus each AWS around a specific area of operation, with briefs provided by national and defense intelligence agencies, prominent civilian thinkers, and relevant fleet and WDC leadership.”
“The summits traditionally include comments delivered by a senior leader to stimulate rich discussion from the groups as we focus on different problems or geographic Areas of Responsibility (AOR),” Kaczynski said. “Both venues provide senior fleet leaders an opportunity to collaborate, strengthen cross-domain warfighting capabilities, and hone approaches to dealing with competitors and potential adversaries.”
Held semi-annually, the focus of the forums changes based on emerging threat capabilities, real world events, emerging technologies, and evolving material and non-material warfighting solutions. The events are designed to add value for all warfighters, starting with the Strike Group and WDC commanders, who benefit greatly from the opportunity to hear directly from guest speakers and subject matter experts.
“These events result in evolved knowledge, enhanced warfighting solution development, and strengthened relationships between critical capability providers across the fleet,” Kaczynski said.
NWDC develops and integrates innovative solutions to complex naval warfare challenges to enhance current and future warfighting capabilities. Command professionals are focused on operational-level concept generation, warfighting development, and cross-domain integration to strengthen U.S. Navy warfighting.