Information Papers

Concept Development and Experimentation

What is it?
Concept Development and Experimentation (CDE) is a campaign of learning supporting current and future force development through a two-path approach (concept development and prototyping). It is consistent with U.S. Joint Forces Command's Joint Concept Development and Experimentation Enterprise. CDE activities are driven by a combination of input and priorities from Chief of Staff, Army; Joint Warfighter Challenges; ARCIC Capabilities Needs Analysis (CNA); and Joint Staff guidance and direction (e.g. JCA initiatives), along with emerging ideas and technologies. Concepts, developed and refined through wargames and experiments, are the basis for determining the capabilities required for the future Modular Force.

What has the Army done?
Among the many achievements of the Army CDE program to date are the following:

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
CDE will continue along two paths: concept development and prototyping. The Concept Development Path develops a concepts-based, joint future Modular Force using live, virtual, and constructive experimentation to provide actionable recommendations, capturing new ideas for potential capabilities and to reduce future Modular Force development risk. The Army capstone concept will be revised and the Generating Force (GF) concept developed in FY09. Additionally, ARCIC will continue to support the development of Joint Concepts - including the development of the Capstone Concept for Joint Operations (CCJO) and other subordinate joint concepts.

Achieving Army outcomes, by accomplishing ARCIC major objectives, will require significant amount of learning through diverse venues. This learning is both deliberate, to support specific learning objectives, and adaptive, to leverage key current and future force data and current operational requirements. The Army’s campaign of learning will balance support to top-down Army priority outcomes with bottom up (Center of Excellence) creativity and innovation, while retaining the capacity to address opportunities to support the current force. This will be accomplished by increasing integration across the Army, including Science and Technology and other focused learning efforts.

The ‘09 Future Warfare Study theme is - “Strategic Agility.” The main effort will focus on how the Army envisions supporting the strategic demands of the nation as a whole, while meeting the demands of the Joint War Fighter across the QDR quadrants of threat, specifically in the area of military capabilities and required capacities to generate and sustain the modular force for as long as required. The study will also continue to explore issues for revision of the Army’s Capstone Concept and GF concept and will provide input to upcoming Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) activities and CCJO.

Why is this important to the Army?
The Army CDE program supports the joint concept-based capabilities development system. The program is focused on development priorities described in the ARCIC Capabilities Needs Analysis. It investigates potential capabilities and reduces risk for the future modular force thru programs and projects in analysis, wargaming, and experimentation. Concept development and wargaming provide the lead ideas for Army capabilities development. Through these two programs, CDE provides the intellectual underpinnings for current and future Army capabilities development in support of Army operating forces including the Maneuver Brigades (Heavy, Stryker, Infantry and Future Combat Systems equipped), Maneuver Enhancement Brigades, Fires Brigades, and the Sustainment Brigades.

Experimentation seeks to discover, evaluate, and demonstrate new ideas or concepts across the doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leader development and education, personnel, and facilities (DOTMLPF) domains. It is also an essential risk mitigation activity. Failure to conduct an effective experimentation program increases developmental risk for the future Modular Force and operational risk to the Army current Modular Force. Through rigorous concept development experimentation, the Army investigates new ideas and reduces risk to the future Modular Force. These activities develop concepts and capabilities that meet the needs of the future Joint force commander. CDE increases the capabilities of the Army Modular Force through prototype experiments that test compelling solution options and develop DOTMLPF capability packages. This supports the spiraling forward of future force capabilities to satisfy critical current force operational needs.

The Army’s Future Study Plan, Unified Quest, symposia, seminars, and games offer the CSA and CG, TRADOC an opportunity to sponsor and encourage high level dialogue inside the Army, across the Services, with interagency partners, and with others influential in shaping national security. It is a co-sponsored study with USJFCOM and USSOCOM and we seek opportunities to build partnerships with other government agencies, COCOMS, ASCCs, and our multinational partners.