APRIL 9, 2015, NORFOLK (NNS) – Navy Warfare Development Command (NWDC) hosted a Fleet-wide planning event last week to kick off development of the fiscal year (FY) 2016 Fleet Experimentation (FLEX) execution plan.
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 based on near-term fleet priorities and capability gaps.
“We have an extended but unified network of Fleet commanders across the globe with similar challenges, and challenges unique to their areas of operations,” said Rear Adm. Scott A. Stearney, commander, NWDC. “There are many organizations across the Navy conducting experiments with potential solutions to those challenges; we must be synchronized to ensure we’re driving toward the same campaign end states.”
The FLEX program continues to design war games and at-sea experiments that result in tangible products to improve warfighter capabilities, primarily as doctrine, training, and materiel solutions.
“Experimentation results may include analytical reports to be shared across the Navy’s intellectual domain; products that highlight new actions Fleet operators need to be taking now; or further developing tactics, techniques, and procedures,” said Stearney.
The annual planning event, held March 31 – April 2, was an opportunity for numbered fleets, warfighting development centers, and representatives from acquisition and science and technology communities to share experimentation plans and priorities.
Stakeholder organizations also discussed planned events that can be leveraged for future experimentation efforts, such as training exercises or transit periods. Capt Steve Faggert, NWDC’s lead for the Fleet Experimentation program, reiterated the importance of connectedness.
“Ships’ steaming days are a valuable commodity, so it is extremely important to leverage fleet events whenever possible,” said Faggert. “That requires early coordination and support of senior leadership; not only to ensure our objectives don’t interfere with training events, but also to ensure there is enough dedicated time to complete successful experiments.”
NWDC develops and integrates innovative solutions to complex naval warfare challenges to enhance current and future warfighting capabilities.