Pentagon Demands Millions For New Rapid Experimentation

( In its budget request for FY2023, the Department of Defense’s research and engineering is requesting $377 million over five years to fund rapid experimentation projects, including funding to close capability gaps in support of the Joint Warfighting Concept and improve the US INDOPACOM’s (Indo-Pacific Command’s) Joint All Domain Operations.

The funding request includes $70 million for the Rapid Defense Experimentation Reserve. Of that $48.5 million would support the Joint Warfighting Concept’s command and control, contested logistics, information advantage, and advanced fires.

The requested funding would go to “individual capability experiments and experimentation series” that support the Joint Warfighting Concept’s “functional battles.”

The Pentagon’s undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, Heidi Shyu, said the Rapid Defense Experimentation Reserve (RDER) provides a mechanism for addressing critical capability gaps throughout the Defense Department. While she offered no details about the projects the reserve already funded, Shyu said her team received over 200 proposals from the military of which 32 were selected.

The department has begun working on the next slate of RDER projects which are open to the industry as well as federally-funded R and D centers.

It is unclear how many Joint Warfighting Concept experiments will be conducted in FY2023. The Air Force budget includes $64 million for four RDER projects related to JWC’s experimentation. Three of the four projects relate to sensing and electromagnetic spectrum prototypes, commercial space integration software, and advanced sat-com terminals. The fourth project is classified.

Another $2.5 million is linked to a project the Army submitted to RDER called Olympus. This project would mature capabilities for INDOPACOM’s Joint All Domain Operations, including advanced sensing, command and control, and target identification. The Army separately requested $86 million for Olympus.

Another $10 million of the $377 million requested would establish an RDER coordination and execution cell that would include planners embedded at combatant commands who would report on the results and work with the military to transition capabilities into programs of record.