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Navy's Fleet Experimentation Program Begins FY18 Planning

by Navy Warfare Development Command Public Affairs
15 March 2017 Navy Warfare Development Command (NWDC) hosted an annual fleet-wide planning event, March 8-9, to start developing the 2018 Fleet Experimentation (FLEX) execution plan.

U.S. Fleet Forces Command, U.S. Pacific Fleet, numbered fleet, and warfighting development center representatives, as well as members of the acquisition and Navy science and technology communities shared experimentation plans and priorities.

Rear Adm. Bret C. Batchelder, commander of NWDC, spoke of the importance of putting new capabilities into the hands of warfighters more quickly -- ultimately for fielding, but first for experimentation.

"The Navy needs to accelerate the pace at which we deliver these solutions to fleet users," Batchelder said. "Fleet experimentation allows us to get early feedback on technologies or tactics by letting the Sailors who will actually use these systems provide input in a wargame or at-sea experiment."

The 2018 FLEX execution plan will be presented to Commanders, U.S. Fleet Forces Command and U.S. Pacific Fleet for approval later this summer and will consist of wargames and at-sea experiments representative of near-term fleet priorities and capability gaps discussed at the workshop.

"When people hear 'NWDC' they tend to think of doctrine, but today we enable fleet readiness by developing solutions to complex military problems," NWDC Experimentation Director Steve Faggert said. "Although we develop tactics through experimentation, we also influence new training standards, refine material integration requirements, and examine manning impacts associated with integrating new platforms into the fleet."

The FLEX program, managed by NWDC on behalf of U.S. Fleet Forces Command and U.S. Pacific Fleet, designs and executes collaborative, synchronized, and relevant experiment campaigns designed to deliver tangible products to improve warfighting capabilities in the next one to three years.