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DoD processes for enhancing U.S. military capabilities take an inordinate amount of time and energy. In this report, Kent and Thaler propose a framework for streamlining up-front planning. The framework consists of three elements: first, a Mission Need Statement by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to identify deficiencies in the ability to achieve objectives and call for an exploration of operational concepts to remedy them; second, a distinction between those responsible for concept development and those responsible for realization of the concept (the military departments--not those responsible for science and technology or for system development and acquisition--should be responsible for concept development); third, the convening of Concept Action Groups, consisting of operators, development planners, technologists, intelligence personnel, cost analysts, acquirers, and other analysts, to match mission needs with technological opportunities in the form of alternative operational concepts. The authors emphasize that concept demonstrations differ from technology and engineering/manufacturing demonstrations. The first show proof-of-principle of operational concepts; the second verify the viability of a scientific principle or technique; the third show that engineers can design and manufacture a system within criteria. Concept demonstrations must be devoid of competition; engineering demonstrations are the forum for competition between prospective contractors.

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