Assessment of the U.S. Army Natick Research, Development and Engineering Center

Standing Committee on Program and Technical Review of the U.S. Army Natick Research, Development and Engineering Center

Board on Army Science and Technology

Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1997



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--> Assessment of the U.S. Army Natick Research, Development and Engineering Center Standing Committee on Program and Technical Review of the U.S. Army Natick Research, Development and Engineering Center Board on Army Science and Technology Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1997

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--> NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competencies and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and interim vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. This is a report of work supported by Contract DAAK60-95-C-2069 between the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Command, Acquisition Directorate, and the National Academy of Sciences. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number 0-309-0-5978-X Limited copies are available from: Board on Army Science and Technology National Research Council 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20418 Additional copies are available from: National Academy Press Box 285 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20055 800/624-6242 202/334-3313 (in the Washington Metropolitan Area) Copyright 1997 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.

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--> Standing Committee on Program and Technical Review of the U.S. Army Natick Research, Development and Engineering Center JOSEPH F. SOUKUP (chair), Science Applications International Corporation, McLean, Virginia DONALD L. ZINK (vice chair), Nestle USA, Glendale, California BISHNU S. ATAL, AT&T Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, New Jersey HAROLD R. BOOHER, Senior Executive Service (retired), Baltimore, Maryland ARNOLD E. DENTON, Campbell Soup Company (retired), Moorestown, New Jersey PHILIP EBERT, DuPont Company (retired), Wilmington, Delaware CHRISTINE HAILEY, Utah State University, Logan RICHARD M. HODGETTS, Florida International University, Miami FRANK K. KO, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania PARRY M. NORLING, DuPont Central Research and Development, Wilmington, Delaware ALAN B. PERKINS, MITRE Corporation, Huntsville, Alabama JANICE A. PHILLIPS, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania Board on Army Science and Technology Liaison ROBERT J. HEASTON, Guidance and Control Information Analysis Center (retired), Naperville, Illinois Board on Army Science and Technology Staff BRUCE A. BRAUN, Director MICHAEL A. CLARKE, Study Director NORMAN M. HALLER, Consultant JACQUELINE A. CAMPBELL-JOHNSON, Senior Project Assistant DEBORAH RANDALL, Project Assistant (until March 1997) DELPHINE D. GLAZE, Administrative Assistant (since May 1997) U.S. Army Liaisons ROBERT W. LEWIS, U.S. Army Soldier Systems Command, Natick, Massachusetts PHILIP BRANDLER, U.S. Army Natick Research, Development and Engineering Center, Natick, Massachusetts PETER F. DECOSTA, U.S. Army Natick Research, Development and Engineering Center, Natick, Massachusetts

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--> Board on Army Science and Technology CHRISTOPHER C. GREEN (chair), General Motors Corporation, Warren, Michigan WILLIAM H. FORSTER, (vice chair) Northrop Grumman Corporation, Baltimore, Maryland ROBERT A. BEAUDET, University of Southern California, Los Angeles GARY L. BORMAN, University of Wisconsin, Madison LAWRENCE J. DELANEY, consultant, Potomac, Maryland MARYE ANNE FOX, University of Texas, Austin ROBERT J. HEASTON, Guidance and Control Information Analysis Center (retired), Naperville, Illinois KATHRYN V. LOGAN, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta THOMAS L. McNAUGHER, The Arroyo Center, RAND Corporation, Washington, D.C. NORMAN F. PARKER, Varian Associates (retired), Cardiff by the Sea, California STEWART D. PERSONICK, Bell Communications Research, Incorporated, Morristown, New Jersey M. "FRANK" ROSE, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama HARVEY W. SCHADLER, General Electric Corporation (retired), Schenectady, New York CLARENCE G. THORNTON, Army Research Laboratories (retired), Colts Neck, New Jersey JOHN D. VENABLES, Venables & Associates, Towson, Maryland ALLEN C. WARD, Ward Synthesis, Incorporated, Ann Arbor, Michigan Staff BRUCE A. BRAUN, Director ALVERA V. GIRCYS, Financial Associate MARGO L. FRANCESCO, Administrative Associate PAMELA LEWIS, Project Assistant

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--> Preface This report is the second in a two-phase response to a request from the technical director of the U.S. Army Natick1 Research, Development and Engineering Center (RDEC) that the National Research Council (NRC) assess the RDEC relative to its vision of being a world-class organization. The NRC committee I had the pleasure to chair provided the basis for this report in the phase-one NRC report, World-Class Research and Development, which was published in September 1996. That report defined the characteristics of a world-class research, development, and engineering organization and the metrics by which an Army RDEC could be assessed. In this second phase of the study, we used those characteristics and their associated metrics to assist us in assessing the Natick RDEC. The results of that assessment are contained in this report. During the assessment we addressed a wide range of issues, related not only to the Natick RDEC's goal of performing at a world-class level but also to subjects related to the command structure within which the RDEC operates. We are hopeful that this assessment will contribute to the RDEC's ability to confront and resolve complex issues, maintain progress toward reaching its goal, and continue its valuable contributions to our nation's defense, despite the many external pressures currently affecting all U.S. Department of Defense organizations. In addition, we hope that other Army RDECs and similar organizations within the U.S. Department of Defense or elsewhere will find the results of our assessment valuable, particularly as they demonstrate the application of the characteristics and metrics of world-class organizations. The Natick RDEC's willingness to subject itself to public evaluation speaks volumes about its commitment to excellence. We want this commitment to be recognized, and we hope that other organizations will also benefit from our evaluation. The committee members included experts in the assessment of research, development, and engineering organizations, as well as in the products and technologies at the RDEC. However, we could not have completed our work without 1   The Natick RDEC is located west of Boston near the town of Natick, Massachusetts.

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--> the splendid cooperation of the many dedicated personnel at Natick who did their best to explain the intricacies of their operations to us and answer our many questions. Finally, the committee and I want to recognize the contribution of the NRC staff members who worked so hard to assist us in bringing this study to a successful conclusion. JOSEPH SOUKUP, CHAIR STANDING COMMITTEE ON PROGRAM AND TECHNICAL REVIEW OF THE U.S. ARMY NATICK RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT AND ENGINEERING CENTER

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--> Contents     Executive Summary   1 1   Introduction   14     Background   14     Statement of Task   16     Pillars and Characteristics   17     Ten Key Issues   18     Study Approach   19     Overview of the Natick RDEC   24     Internal Organizational Structure, Visions, and Missions   25 2   Assessment of the Commodity Directorates   33     Assessment Process   33     Mobility Directorate   33     Survivability Directorate   34     Sustainability Directorate   34     Resources and Capabilities Pillar   35     Personnel Quality   35     Budget   37     RD&E Capabilities, Skills, and Talents   38     Use of External Resources   40     Important Technologies   42     Organizational Climate   45     Information Technology   46     Facilities and Infrastructure   47     Overall Assessment of the Resources and Capabilities Pillar   49     Strategic Vision Pillar   49     Alignment of Vision and Mission   50     Strategic Planning   52     Stakeholder Buy-In   54     Leadership   56     Site Visit in 1997   58     Overall Assessment of the Strategic Vision Pillar   58     Quality Focus Pillar   58     Capacity for Breakthroughs   59     Continuous Improvement   61     Commitment to Quality   62     Structured Processes   64     Learning Environment   66     Quality of Research   68

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-->     Overall Assessment of the Quality Focus Pillar   70     Customer Focus Pillar   71     Customer Satisfaction   71     Customer Involvement   73     Market Diversification   75     Overall Assessment of the Customer Focus Pillar   76     Value Creation Pillar   77     Proper Portfolio   77     Product Performance   79     Cycle Time and Responsiveness   80     Value of Work in Progress   82     Overall Assessment of the Value Creation Pillar   83     Summary   84 3   Assessment of the Support Directorates   86     Assessment Process   86     Science and Technology Directorate   87     Resources and Capabilities Pillar   87     Strategic Vision Pillar   92     Quality Focus Pillar   94     Customer Focus Pillar   96     Value Creation Pillar   98     Summary   99     Advanced Systems Concepts Directorate   100     Resources and Capabilities Pillar   100     Strategic Vision Pillar   104     Quality Focus Pillar   107     Customer Focus Pillar   109     Value Creation Pillar   111     Summary   113 4   The Ten Key Issues   114     Organization and Resources   114     Quality and Customer Satisfaction   125     Research and Technology   133 5   Conclusions and Recommendations   142     Commodity Directorates and the Pillars   142     Strategic Vision Pillar   142     Resources and Capabilities Pillar   145     Quality Focus Pillar   146     Support Directorates   147     Budget Shortfalls   152     Research and Technology Programs   154     Opportunities for Reengineering   155     References   159     Appendices         A Precursory Documents for the Statement of Task   163     B Meetings and Visits   167     C Excerpts from the Phase-One Report   170

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--> Figures, Tables, and Boxes Figures ES-1   The major components of world-class research and development organizations   2 ES-2   The five pillars and 25 characteristics   3 ES-3   Spider diagram for the commodity directorates   5 1-1   The major components of world-class research and development organizations   17 1-2   The five pillars and 25 characteristics   19 1-3   Relationship of Soldier Systems Command (and the Natick RDEC) to the Army Materiel Command   24 1-4   Internal organization of the Natick RDEC   25 1-5   Organization of the Mobility Directorate   27 1-6   Organization of the Survivability Directorate   28 1-7   Organization of the Sustainability Directorate   29 1-8   Organization of the support directorates   30 2-1   Spider diagram for the commodity directorates   85 Tables 1-1   Ten Key Issues Addressed by the Committee in Stage 2 of the Assessment   20 1-2   Major Technical Features of the Directorates of the Natick RDEC   32 2-1   Resources and Capabilities Pillar   50 2-2   Strategic Vision Pillar   59 2-3   Quality Focus Pillar   70 2-4   Customer Focus Pillar   77 2-5   Value Creation Pillar   84 3-1   Summary of STD Assessment   100 3-2   Summary of ASCD Assessment   113 4-1   Ten Key Issues Addressed by the Committee in Stage 2 of the Assessment   115

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--> C-1   Metrics of the Customer Focus Pillar   178 C-2   Metrics of the Resources and Capabilities Pillar   179 C-3   Metrics of the Strategic Vision Pillar   183 C-4   Metrics of the Value Creation Pillar   185 C-5   Metrics of the Quality Focus Pillar   187 Boxes 1-1   Organization of the Natick RDEC   15 1-2   An Ideal World-Class RDEC   18 1-3   Assessment of Customer Satisfaction   23

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--> Acronyms ASCD Advanced Systems Concepts Directorate DOD U.S. Department of Defense MobD Mobility Directorate NRC National Research Council STD Science and Technology Directorate SurD Survivability Directorate SusD Sustainability Directorate R&D research and development RD&E research, development, and engineering RDEC research, development, and engineering center

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