Chapter II. Science and Technology Integration With Army XXI
Army Science and Technology Master Plan (ASTMP 1997)

5. Contemporary Operational Issues

It is important to understand a parallel effort that occasionally supersedes all other requirement determination activities. Contemporary operational issues--warfighting needs of soldiers and units engaged in real operations somewhere in the world--take precedence over future requirements. These issues are addressed by a microcosm of the larger requirements determination process, with some of the same teams that are involved with future requirements quickly refocused to address the contemporary issues.

Commanders in the field identify critical operational needs-ones that jeopardize soldiers' lives or a unit's ability to accomplish assigned missions--and forward them to DA DCSOPS via an operational need statement (ONS) in the most expeditious manner possible. (See Figure II-6.)

Figure II-6. Contemporary Operational Issues

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The DA DCSOPS reviews the ONS and determines the appropriate response. Materiel needs that already have approved requirements documents or require urgent, out-of-system reaction to preserve life will be forwarded directly to the materiel development community. TRADOC will be informed of such actions and will assist resolution of the need by all possible means. Need requests not deemed urgent by DA DCSOPS will be forwarded to TRADOC for routine action.

Clearly, work on contemporary operational issues impacts requirements determination. Contemporary operational issues have the highest priority for already scarce resources and divert attention away from future needs. More importantly, contemporary operational issues modify our current capabilities, affecting the amount of change needed to achieve desired future operational capabilities. Our challenge is to address the most critical issues with all possible means and speed but not become sidetracked by unimportant special interest projects.