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The A‐RCI Process — Leadership and Management Principles

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In the mid 1990s, it became clear that the U.S. submarine force had lost the acoustic advantage over contemporary Soviet new construction submarines. At the same time, investment in undersea warfare suffered a marked reduction as the total obligation authority within the services continually eroded the means to develop capabilities in the traditional manner. New acquisition processes had to be created to grapple with the need to rapidly increase warfighting performance while continuously decreasing cost. The keys to solving this dilemma are based on three fundamental truths. First, meaningful competition for ideas always yields a better product at reduced cost. Second, the commercial marketplace readily provides low cost, high performance general purpose processing technologies. Third, the U.S. forward deployed naval forces can provide rapid, hands‐on customer feedback. These three elements are the centerpiece of the Submarine Acoustic‐Rapid Commercial‐Off‐the‐Shelf Insertion (A‐RCI) Program, which provided the vision and strategy to institutionalize a rapid acquisition process through new leader‐ship and management approaches, that has delivered to the Fleet a seven‐fold increase in submarine towed array sensor performance, while realizing a 60‐fold decrease in real processing costs.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2004

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  • The Naval Engineers Journal is the peer-reviewed journal of the American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE). ASNE is the leading professional engineering society for engineers, scientists and allied professionals who conceive, design, develop, test, construct, outfit, operate and maintain complex naval and maritime ships, submarines and aircraft and their associated systems and subsystems.
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