Navy’s Darrah: ‘We Cannot Accept Linear Capability Growth’
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The capabilities of the nation’s adversaries are improving exponentially and must be met with improving U.S. capabilities without a huge investment, a Navy procurement official said.
“The pace of change in adversary capabilities is not a linear change; it is an exponential change,” Rear Adm. Mark W. Darrah, program executive officer for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons, told an audience at the Sea-Air-Space Exposition April 4. “We cannot accept linear capability growth. How can we grow capability without a huge investment?”
Darrah pointed out that the Navy has, and creates, a huge amount of data in the fleet bit that “they’re disaggregated,” with the need to tie it all together by leveraging algorithms. He said the Navy needs to “move from platform-based behavior and move toward wholeness” and a “role-based approach.”
He said that the nation’s adversaries have gained advantage in certain areas and the United States has lost advantage by a small margin.
Darrah focused the need for growth in capability in three areas: agility, rapidity and improvements in non-kinetic effects in electronic attack; improvements in propulsion technology; and collaborative behavior of sensors and weapons.
He described a collaborative concept where there is an exchange of information between weapons in a heterogenous salvo against targets, where a failure of one node will be inconsequential because another node has taken over, “never losing an opportunity to keep the engagement active.”