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An Assessment of Undersea Weapons Science and Technology B Lessons of the Advanced Rapid COTS Insertion Process The committee was impressed by the significant change in process achieved by the submarine sonar community that allowed advanced rapid commercial-off-the-shelf insertion (ARCI) in all submarines. It believes that three important lessons were learned from that experience. Lesson 1: Operational testing must be adequate and must be carried out under realistic conditions. The change was motivated by real-world operational experience suggesting that U.S. submarine sonars were not performing up to expectations. A similar situation is believed to exist with regard to undersea weapons performance based on exercises and simulations. One of the basic tenets introduced into the ARCI process was the extensive use of at-sea data for several purposes: (1) laboratory evaluation of specific algorithms; (2) end-to-end laboratory testing of system upgrades or builds; (3) at-sea testing prior to introduction into the fleet; and (4) feedback from at-sea operations of certified systems. Lesson 2: Degraded performance must be understood at a fundamental level. The increased attention paid to a first-principles understanding of sonar and validations through testing with real data was one of the key factors in the ARCI process. This special process of build-test-analyze-understand-build-test allows new builds to be introduced quickly into the fleet with very short development cycles for most software algorithms. While testing for weapons system science and technology may not need to be so extensive, the Office of Naval Research could incorporate the lessons of the ARCI process as appropriate. Lesson 3: When senior Navy management became involved, bureaucratic barriers fell. In the ARCI experience, the concerns expressed by Admiral DeMars galvanized a multifunctional, expedited approach. A broad-based data-gathering, analysis, and implementation program was successfully and rapidly implemented and appears to have yielded excellent results. In other words, pressure from senior Navy leadership was applied and overcame bureaucratic obstacles to progress.
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