James “Hondo” Geurts, assistant secretary for research, development and acquisition at the U.S. Navy and 2020 Wash100 Award recipient, will be featured as a keynote speaker during Potomac Officers Club’s 2020 Navy Forum on September 30th.
As the Navy’s acquisition executive, Geurts has oversight of an annual budget in excess of $100 billion and is responsible for equipping and supporting the finest Sailors and Marines in the world with the best platforms, systems and technology as they operate around the globe in defense of the nation.
Geurts previously served as the acquisition executive with U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), where he was responsible for all special operations forces acquisition, technology and logistics.
In this position his innovative leadership and technological ingenuity provided rapid and affordable acquisition that positively impacted the USSOCOM acquisition work force and the special operations forces capability on the battlefield.
Geurts recently discussed the challenges and initiatives within the U.S. Navy as the service branch spearheads modernization efforts. He focused primarily on unmanned systems, and stated the various elements in which the Navy will continue to develop.
“From my perspective, the biggest challenge in the unmanned arena is not the technology, per se. There’s certainly some technology elements to work on,” Geurts said.
“It’s really the concept of operations, the command and control, the concept of employment. And so I do think there is a balance we’ve got to strike with getting some prototypes out to the field so that the fleet can understand how to best utilize what’s available,” he added. “We’ve got to balance that with proven discipline, programmatics, and that’s the balance we’re working to put together right now.”
The U.S. Navy has continually worked to decentralize, differentialize and digitize the service branch’s work as well as develop its talent in the field. Additionally, the Navy has accelerated acquisition channels, modernized emerging technologies and increased research and development to become more effective in warfare.
As the Navy continues to evolve to meet the growing demands, challenges still remain. Join Potomac Officers Club’s 2020 Navy Forum to hear notable industry and federal leaders discuss the initiatives, efficiencies and challenges the service branch faces as well as how to join together to improve the future of warfare.