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Speaker McCarthy to create RCO at China Lake

Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s office–  On July 14, Congressman Kevin McCarthy, Representative of California’s 20th Congressional District and Speaker of the House, announced the inclusion of a provision in the Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that creates a Naval Air Warfare Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) co-located at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) at Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy

“Building upon the remarkable progress made at NAWS China Lake following the 2019 earthquakes, the House just passed a bill that supports our troops, including my proposal to create the Naval Air Warfare Rapid Capabilities Office to develop new weapons systems faster,” McCarthy said. “This new office would cut through red tape by increasing coordination between senior Navy leaders and China Lake officials to advance new weapons technologies that will better meet the needs of the warfighter. I am proud of China Lake’s incredible legacy, and I have no doubt that this new office will leverage our community’s top talent, existing resources, and recapitalization efforts at the base that is currently underway.”

Local stakeholders offered the following quotes:

“This is a critical piece of legislation that formalizes a traditional role in NAWCWD’s mission: to create and apply new technology to rapidly develop, demonstrate, and deploy new warfighting capability for our Navy. This also strengthens NAWCWD’s direct relationship with our Fleet commanders as our Nation acts to strengthen our naval positions around the world. It will enable NAWCWD to understand our Navy’s needs and priorities more quickly and rapidly create solutions that address those needs. This is a role China Lake had and actively executed during the Vietnam conflict. Speaker McCarthy’s, and the Congress’s, unwavering confidence in NAWCWD is both astonishing and humbling.” –Scott O’Neil, Executive Director, Indian Wells Valley Economic Development Corporation

“China Lake is well known for its historic and innovative contributions to our nation’s defense. The new Rapid Capabilities Office will provide a vehicle to use China Lake’s expertise to help the Navy provide urgently needed advanced capability directly to our warfighters much more quickly than the standard process. We greatly appreciate Speaker McCarthy’s foresight and leadership in engaging China Lake to maintain our historic global edge in national defense during these increasingly challenging times.” –Dave Janiec, Executive Director, China Lake Alliance


At Congressman McCarthy’s request, Section 211 was included in the House-passed version of the Fiscal Year 2024 NDAA. This provision creates the Naval Air Warfare RCO co-located at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division at NAWS China Lake. The purpose of the office is to rapidly develop and test low-cost weapons systems within the Navy. The Air Force and Space Force have similar offices. The head of the Naval Air Warfare RCO would be appointed by the Secretary of the Navy and report to the Chief of Naval Operations. The office would be governed by a Board of Directors, which includes the Secretary of the Navy, the Chief of Naval Operations, the Commander of the Naval Air Systems Command, and the Commander of Naval Air Forces.

The Naval Air Warfare RCO is one of many continued advancements envisioned and being implemented at NAWS China Lake, which continues to push the cutting edge in the future of our warfighting capabilities, especially with the over $3.7 billion that Congressman McCarthy has secured to help rebuild and reinvest in NAWS China Lake after the 2019 earthquakes.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy