Bridging the gap between acquisition and R&D in the defense community

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Reggie Brothers, former Under Secretary for Science & Technology at the Department of Homeland Security and Peraton Chief Technology Officer, discusses the need for more agile acquisition strategies at the Pentagon, and how it has fueled the rise of Other Transaction Authority.


Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO and chairman of the Defense Innovation Board, recently told the House Armed Services Committee that one of the biggest barriers to the adoption of cutting edge technologies at the Pentagon is acquisition. Schmidt believes that the current acquisition strategy causes obsolete solutions to modern problems. Reggie Brothers, former Under Secretary for Science & Technology at the Department of Homeland Security and Peraton Chief Technology Officer, says that this problem isn’t limited just to the Pentagon.

 

“In order for the Department of Defense, DHS, etc. to stay ahead of adversaries, innovation is important… The challenge is how do you take the prototypes that come out of research and development and actually get them in the real acquisition process. That’s typically called the ‘Valley of Death,’” said Brothers. “Research and development [isn’t] the only part of innovation. When you think of innovation you think about ‘Do I adopt something from the commercial world or furnished by the government, or do I adapt something from the commercial world or actually develop it?’ You have to go through that series of decisions and then figure out who do you talk to about these things, and you run into problems…”