29 March 2012

Fleet Introduction Program (FIP)

In July 2010, I released my Transitioning New Capabilities to the Fleet SERIAL to establish the Fleet Introduction Program (FIP) (within my N8). The FIP ensures that new and modernized platforms and critical systems being delivered to our Sailors meet the standards we require and immediately contribute to our Navy's mission.

Now that we’ve had some run-time with the program, I want to share a few observations.

Teamwork is key
As with any mission in our Navy, success requires teamwork. Each member of the FIP team has an instrumental role in the acquisition process to ensure there are no gaps between Fleet requirements (what we need) and program execution (what we’re getting). The support of our Resource Sponsors, Program Managers, Program Executive Offices (PEOs) and our colleagues at Commander, Operational Test & Evaluation Force (COTF) has been absolutely critical to our success with this program.

Rapid fielding vs. wholeness
The speed at which we can effectively bring a program from concept to operational employment is a critical part of adapting to the unexpected and countering emerging threats. While I understand and support the need to transition some platforms and systems to the Fleet quickly, we must ensure that we fully understand the risks we incur by compressing the established (and extensive) requirements and acquisition processes. The (often) legitimate need to deliver systems quickly can never, repeat never, be license to compromise our duty to our Sailors to provide the training, doctrine, technical documentation, spare parts, etc., they need to effectively operate and maintain those systems.

When we fail to ensure systems arrive in the Fleet whole, we place mission success at risk. It is this behavior that we have vigorously sought to change through the FIP and other efforts (such as the Fleet FAM). Although it is very important that we are capable of rapidly responding to emergent and urgent needs, we must not only do things quickly…we must do things right.

DOTMLPF wholeness at IOC
In my SERIAL and subsequent guidance to my commanders, I made it very clear that the manpower, training and support systems required by our Sailors to sustain the operational readiness of our programs through expected service life must be in place and properly functioning before we accept delivery in the Fleet (i.e., at Initial Operating Capability (IOC)). I consider the DOTMLPF wholeness of our programs a firm Fleet requirement and part of the essential foundation for operational readiness. Everything we do in the Fleet relies upon being whole. It is for this reason that operational wholeness is the sole focus of the FIP.

Although there is still much work to do (there always is), I believe we’ve made significant progress using the FIP to engage with our teammates (RSs, PEOs, PMs, etc) and improve the products being delivered to our Sailors today. All the best, JCHjr

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