Analysis of expedited defense contracting methods in the acquisition of emerging technology
Sabin, Jacob D.
Zakner, Mark K.
Landale, Karen A.F.
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The future of national security rests on more than nuclear weapons, heavy equipment, and conventional forces. Increasingly, security depends on technological advantage, innovation, and asymmetric technology exploitation. Future conflicts will share limited semblance to historical conflicts due to the technology exploitation that characterizes modern warfare. As the U.S. government's share of research and development (R&D) funding shrinks and defense budgets continue to decline, the Department of Defense (DOD) will increasingly depend on new innovative firms to maintain a technological advantage. Such firms inherently differ from traditional defense acquisition in process and culture. They also enjoy demand from broader domestic and international markets. R&D funding sources affect rights to intellectual property—a major concern for technology firms. The DOD has authority for applying non-traditional contracting methods to better adapt to this competitive marketplace. This project studied non-traditional contracting tools at the DOD's disposal and their merits, with an analysis of how the DOD can effectively leverage its existing and potential authorities to be a competitive buyer in the emerging technology market. Practitioners in the field provided first-hand accounts of their awareness and experience with non-traditional contracting. Findings include the benefits and limitations of non-traditional methods with recommendations for their selective application.
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