The United States Army, never to be outdone, just launched a rapid prototyping division meant to fast-track military inventions. It’s called the Army Rapid Capabilities Office, and it will focus on cyberwarfare, actual material, and “other priority projects that will enable soldiers to decisively operate and win in contested environments,” a press release states.
ARCO will be limited to situations in which quick, strategic responses will give the Army a much-needed advantage. The ARCO Director, Douglas K. Wiltsie, described the Army’s desire to “operate in an environment where we are leading and causing our adversaries to react to us.” In order to do so, the Army needs to “take those technology risks… to give us the agility to incorporate disruptive capabilities quickly when they can make a difference for our soldiers.”
In 21st century warfare, no fighting country has time for bureaucratic snares; ARCO is designed to clear ground and augment the Army’s ability to react to novel, dangerous enemies and enemy capabilities.
“Our adversaries are modernizing at a rapid rate,” ARCO Deputy Director for Operations Walter E. Platt said, “and in some cases our capabilities are inadequate to keep up.” Still, most ARCO inventions will take one to five years to actually deploy. Others, especially in the cyberwarfare and cybersecurity realm, may come into existence much quicker.
“To maintain our edge,” Platt explained, “it’s vital that we can evolve existing and new technology at a pace that keeps it relevant to today’s and tomorrow’s conflicts.”