The Air Force Rapid Response Process

Streamlined Acquisition During Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm

by Michael G. Anderson

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During Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, the United States Air Force realized that the normal peacetime requirements approval and acquisition process could not meet the time-urgent mission needs in the theater of operations. As a result, the Air Force instituted the Rapid Response Process to acquire munitions, communications, computers, and avionics. The process submitted, assessed, approved, and funded a validated Combat Mission Need Statement (C-MNS) within 24 days and implemented procedures to field the desired capability in less than six months. This note describes the Rapid Response Process and examines its effectiveness during the Gulf War. By the time the process was terminated, C-MNS processing averaged 13 days and time to field averaged 1.8 months.

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