From 3D printing and smart textiles to digital and photonic circuit manufacturing, a great deal of creative and innovative work is being done by the various National Network of Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) institutes and their industry academic and research partners.
But what about a material that people have been using for tools, weapons and transportation for millennia? For centuries, people have been using various metals to form objects or tools they have needed.
At the end of the Cold War, I was serving as the Deputy Director of Defense Research and Engineering for Tactical Warfare Programs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). For years I had studied the intelligence reports on Soviet weapon systems and worked on ways the United States could achieve or maintain a military advantage over those systems. We knew the Russians had some of the best scientists and engineers in the world working on their designs. They also had aggressive modernization cycles in areas they considered important; their multiple competing design bureaus turned out new designs for armored vehicles, missiles and tactical aircraft on a predictable schedule at intervals of about 5 years.
AIR FORCE RESEARCH LABORATORY PROPULSION DIRECTORATE (MAY 16, 2016)
EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.—The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory and contractor Aerojet Rocketdyne achieved a major milestone under the Hydrocarbon Boost (HCB) program, which is advancing domestic rocket engine technologies in support of next generation launch systems. The HCB program completed full power, full duration tests of the oxygen-rich staged combustion (ORSC) sub-scale preburner. Testing was conducted at the historic rocket Test Stand 2A at Edwards Air Force Base; the facility was first utilized to test the F-1 engine used to power Saturn V rockets in the Apollo program to reach the moon.
The Science and Technology Manager (STM) career field has come into its own in recent years. This fiscal year alone, two of the three required STM courses are new—and one of them is now the first-ever distance learning (DL) course in the field. A Jan. 2, 2013, memo from Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition Katharina McFarland renamed the “Systems Planning, Research, Development and Engineering (SPRDE) Science and Technology Manager” career field as the “Science and Technology Manager” career field. And other major changes have occurred in the STM career field since an article by Dr. Marty Falk and Randy Zittel was published in the May–June 2009 edition of Defense AT&L magazine (see “Revamping theScience and Technology Management Career Field” at http://www.dau.mil/publications/DefenseATL/DATLArchivecompletepdf/may-jun09.pdf, pp. 64–67). There also have been changes in the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) STM certification requirements—including curriculum revisions and knowledge sharing (now known as Workflow Learning) assets. In addition, a set of Acquisition Workforce Qualification Initiative (AWQI) standards focused on STM has been published for the workforce to continue its development beyond DAWIA certification.
The Better Buying Power 3.0 initiatives identified by Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Frank Kendall in April 2015 outlined numerous items, with the common major focus of Department of Defense (DoD) support for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and outreach.
In early June 2015, Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter met with senior Indian officials to work on initiatives that were set in motion during President Obama’s January 2015 visit to India. During that visit, Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi focused on shared concerns ranging from maritime security and cooperation and joint training on aircraft carrier and jet engine technology.
Maj. Patrick Dugan, USAF, Maj. Jon D. McComb, USAF, Maj. Chad Steipp, USAF
The military tends to keep equipment for a long time. Unfortunately, extended product life cycles leave many operators with worn-out or obsolete gear. Aircraft, vehicles, ships, radars and radios are examples of the outdated equipment our Armed Forces use daily.
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Author: Ryan Umstattd, Ph.D.
The foundational question above is asked and then answered by our program directors before they launch any new focused initiative at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E).
Dedicated technology transition programs can be highly effective and efficient at moving technologies across the “valley of death” from technology providers to acquisition. The programs that work best do this by facilitating alignment among the key stakeholders (developers, acquisition officials, resource sponsors, and users) and requiring a short timeline for completion, typically 2 or 3 years. By implementing these and a few other best
practices, dedicated transition programs can produce high success rates that are essential for our nation to keep its technical edge and save operational costs during a period of constricting budgets.
Program stability and funding stability are continuously promoted as key to successful acquisition reform. Funding stability, according to prevailing wisdom, leads to program stability. Unfortunately, the dynamic, evolving, and methodical requirements generation, technology enhancement, and resourcing processes prevalent throughout the Department of Defense (DoD) are not conducive to funding stability. This article discusses results from a survey of financial management practitioners that provide insight into factors that both enable and detract from achieving funding stability. The author presents program stability as a myth in the real world environment where the “norm” is characterized by changing program requirements, technologies, and funding. He further hypothesizes that stability cannot occur without major change in the Planning, Programming, Budgeting and Execution, and Congressional Enactment processes.