Keep It Rapid

The Pentagon’s Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) has managed the Long-Range Strike Bomber since its 2011 inception, and will continue to do so after the contract is awarded, USAF acquisition chief William LaPlante told reporters Wednesday. Giving background on the program before contract award, which LaPlante said will be made soon, he said LRS-B requirements were set after all the services had a chance to participate in the process, so the bomber is a DOD-wide requirement, and not just an Air Force need. The RCO has kept the project “lean and mean” by limiting the program staff to just 80 people, and there are no plans to shift program management to a formal system program office at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, he said. Even so, the RCO has routinely briefed its boss, Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall, as well as LaPlante, the Secretary of the Air Force, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and members of the various defense committees on Capitol Hill, so it has “plenty of oversight.” LaPlante noted that the RCO has reduced risk by re-using technologies “already flying” on other projects, some of which he hinted are classified, but have been built in some numbers.