Publication:
AIR FORCE SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND AS INNOVATION PATHFINDERS

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Authors
Gsellman, Dale B.
Subjects
special operations
technology
pathfinding
innovation
AFSOC
Air Force Special Operations Command
Advisors
Strawser, Bradley J.
Date of Issue
2023-12
Date
Publisher
Monterey, CA; Naval Postgraduate School
Language
Abstract
This thesis investigates Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) as innovation pathfinders for the Air Force, and answers how their performance in the role can be improved. This is accomplished through a review of AFSOC’s suitability for pathfinding and exploration of the innovation ecosystem. The thesis finds AFSOC has limited influence over acquisition reform and relatively small size, but that small size presents opportunities of organizational agility and funding speed available at limited scale. Pathfinding can be enabled by powerful special operations culture and itself reinforces a culture of initiative and innovation which pays dividends in AFSOC’s warfighting functions. Innovation pathfinding can benefit from understanding wicked problem methodologies and leveraging the power of trust and trustworthiness. Lastly, industry best practices provide means to structure and manage innovation. The concluding recommendations give stakeholders means to increase the effectiveness of AFSOC innovation pathfinding, including working within the scale of more agile acquisitions process, valuing colocation and relationships, identifying efficiencies to be gained in fast following, pathfinding adjacent innovation, and valuing trust beyond compliance.
Type
Thesis
Description
Series/Report No
Department
Defense Analysis (DA)
Organization
Identifiers
NPS Report Number
Sponsors
Funder
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Distribution Statement
Approved for public release. Distribution is unlimited.
Rights
This publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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