During a press conference on Wednesday, October 7, 2020, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment (USD-A&S) Ellen Lord announced Department of Defense’s (DoD) latest efforts to overhaul how it intends to procure weapons, goods and services—with an emphasis on speed from design to fielding and on cutting operations and maintenance costs. Additionally, on August 13, 2020, acting Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (USD-R&E) Michael Kratsios committed to “doubling“ efforts to work more closely with nontraditional commercial suppliers, most notably startup companies, to help the DoD strengthen and maintain the nation’s position as the global leader in emerging technologies.
Both developments suggest considerable pathways for commercial innovators of these new technologies to work with the DoD in furtherance of its acquisition and R&D priorities.
New DoD Acquisition Reform Initiative—AAF
According to Undersecretary Lord, the Department of Defense’s (DoD) new approach, called the Adaptive Acquisition Framework (AAF), will be