The Department of Defense’s formal acquisition process is designed for careful and deliberate delivery of solutions that meet well-defined needs. In today's dynamic operational environment, however, the Combatant Commander's (COCOM's) situation often calls for urgent research, development, test, and evaluation programs. These programs require flexibility in acquisition protocols to address undefined evolving needs to permit "try before you buy" demonstrations of new concepts and technologies that may offer transformational potential. Enter the Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) Program. JCTDs speed the demonstration of technology in new operational contexts; foster collaboration among Services, interagencies, and international partners; seek the best combination of operational concepts and enabling technologies; and operationalize innovation based on warfighter demand. While some JCTDs conclude with the fielding of a limited number of usable assets, many others transition into formal programs of record with lasting impact. Predator unmanned aerial vehicles and Link-16 interoperable data links are notable examples of enduring programs that started as JCTDs.
Since 2011, our ANSER team from Analytic Services has been assisting JCTD leadership, staff, and programs with proven analytic processes for programmatic, technical, and fielding assessments in the demonstration of advanced technology capabilities and Concept of Operations. We provide integrated hands-on experience in engineering, business operations, organization of information management systems, warfighter capability system demonstration, acquisition, and other program support. The team tailors and applies best practices systems thinking which produces analytic products in support of technical and operational assessments, transition planning and strategies, and programmatic and funding approaches. This ANSER support informs decision-makers in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the COCOMs, the Services, and at defense agencies. Recent JCTDs supported include: Anti Jam Precision Guided Munitions; Soldier-Warfighter Operationally Responsive Deployer for Space; and Next Generation Wireless Communications.
In 2011 Congressional testimony, Zachary Lemnios, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (ASD(R&E)), said, "Given the globalization of research and development, it is important to accelerate the demonstration of innovative concepts and technologies, and field those that offer the most promise faster than our adversary. The JCTD program is instrumental in meeting that objective". We agree and we’re confident our support to the JCTD program is helping to rapidly transition needed technology and capabilities with measurable impact to those in harm’s way.
JCTDs and the Department of Defense Acquisition Community
The JCTD Program falls under the responsibility of the Director, JCTD Program, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Rapid Fielding) (DASD(RF)). The DASD(RF) reports to the ASD(R&E), whose principal is the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition Technology & Logistics .
COCOMs view the JCTD Program as a primary source to demonstrate, assess, and transition joint and coalition warfighting. JCTDs get the COCOMs and their joint warfighters what they need, when they need it.