Department of Defense (DoD)

U.S. Department of Defense Lead Photos Update

You are subscribed to Lead Photos for U.S. Department of Defense. This information has recently been updated, and is now available. Refueling A Thunderbolt
11/28/2016 06:00 PM CST

An Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt refuels from a KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq, Nov. 29, 2016, in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jordan Castelan

Bookmark and Share

Advertisements
Department of Defense (DoD)

DIUx Releases Guide For Faster, Less-Costly Technology Acquisition

You are subscribed to News Articles for U.S. Department of Defense. This information has recently been updated, and is now available.

DIUx Releases Guide For Faster, Less-Costly Technology Acquisition
11/30/2016 05:29 PM CST

DIUx Releases Guide For Faster, Less-Costly Technology Acquisition

By Rick Docksai

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Nov. 30, 2016 — Bringing vital technology innovations from commercial developers to fighting forces more quickly is a challenge that the Defense Department’s Defense Innovation Unit Experimental, or DIUx, has been working to solve since its inception last year. Today, it shared its model for success as it released a “Commercial Solutions Opening” guidebook describing how other federal agencies can create “innovative contracting vehicles” to bring technological innovations to practical use in less time and at lower cost.

During a forum focusing on improvements in acquisition services at the Center for a New American Security in Washington, guest speakers from defense, Congress and the Office of Management and Budget discussed a broad range of potential improvements.

Lauren Schmidt, pathways director at DIUx, was one of the first panelists. She discussed her unit’s June 2016 debut of a first-ever Commercial Solutions Opening, or CSO, which is a new mechanism for working with private-sector developers to obtain prototypes of newly emerging technologies that can benefit U.S. military operations.

“We have to be able to change our business practices in order to be able to access these phenomenal technologies,” Schmidt said.

DIUx formed in April 2015 in response to a pressing problem: how to integrate newly emerging technologies into fighting forces in the midst of constrained defense funding. It created the CSO process as one way to meet the challenge.

Fast-tracking the Acquisitions Process

In the CSO process, DIUx solicits private-sector developers who are creating relevant new technology products and services that stand to benefit U.S. military operations. DIUx receives developers’ proposals, awards “Other Transactions,” or OTs — which are similar to traditional contracts but offer more flexibility — to those who show the most promise, and fast-tracks prototypes of the new technologies to defense units or departments that will deploy them in real-life settings.

“CSOs use merit-based selection approaches to address a particular problem the Department needs to solve,” said Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics, in a statement released alongside the guidebook. He added that the process is similar to that of broad agency announcements, or BAAs, by which the National Institutes of Health and other federal agencies fund scientific and technological research and development.

What sets CSOs apart, however, is their speed: On average, it takes no more than 59 days for DIUx to solicit a proposal, award a contract, and deliver the prototype. This amounts to massive time savings over typical technology-procurement processes that can take months or even years.

“Not only do we get a better outcome and better project, but it also saves a lot of time and money,” Schmidt said. “We’ve demonstrated through the CSO that DoD can move at the speed of business and be attractive to these companies.”

Schmidt also discussed the new guidebook during her talk. The guidebook, which is 99 pages and titled “Fast, Flexible, and Collaborative: The Commercial Solutions Opening and DIUx’s Approach to Other Transactions for Prototype Projects,” shows how other federal agencies can create CSOs of their own and how they can benefit from doing so. DIUx is now offering the book for free viewing on its website.

“We’re making this information more widely available, so that others can hopefully build on our success with the CSO and really help to build the acquisitions process. We’re hoping that by spreading this across the department, that we can really drive innovation throughout DoD,” Schmidt said.

More recently, DIUx has been advocating for expanded use of CSOs throughout the Defense Department. At present, a defense organization must first have an Other Transaction Authority, or OTA, before it can use a CSO to acquire prototype. However, the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act may allow agencies holding Federal Acquisition Regulations-based contracts to also procure prototypes via CSOs.

“DIUx is opening up the DoD to a new vendor base many times larger than the vendor base the department works with today,” the guidebook’s introduction states. “The CSO allows us to leverage the enormous amount of commercial research and development investment and quickly access cutting-edge technology.”

Related Biographies

Frank Kendall
Senate Confirmed in May 2012, Mr. Frank Kendall currently serves as the Under Secretary of Defense
Lauren Schmidt

Bookmark and Share

Department of Defense (DoD)

Carter Talks with Defense Senior Enlisted Leader Council

You are subscribed to News Articles for U.S. Department of Defense. This information has recently been updated, and is now available.

Carter Talks with Defense Senior Enlisted Leader Council
11/30/2016 11:28 AM CST

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks with Army Command Sgt. Maj. John W. Troxell before addressing senior enlisted members of the armed forces during the Defense Senior Enlisted Leader Conference at the Pentagon, Nov. 30, 2016. DoD photo by Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Carter Talks with Defense Senior Enlisted Leader Council

By Jim Garamone

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Nov. 30, 2016 — Defense Secretary Ash Carter thanked the senior noncommissioned officers he calls his “eyes and ears” with the force as he addressed the 2016 Defense Senior Enlisted Leader Council at the Pentagon this morning.

Chaired by Army Command Sgt. Maj. John Troxell, the senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the council consists of the service and combatant command senior enlisted advisors. Troxell calls it “the Top 25.” The council is the only time all the senior enlisted leaders get together each year, and Troxell hopes to build synergy and cohesion among the group.

Carter said the role these senior NCOs play is important in transmitting the concerns of the enlisted force to Defense Department leaders and the as conduits of information from the top down. “I hope when you speak with these young men and women, you tell them how proud we are of all of them, and how proud we are of what they chose to do with their lives,” he said.

The secretary spent much of his time with the senior NCOs discussing readiness. He said each service has different readiness issues, so one solution cannot apply to all. The Army and Marine Corps are working to get back to full-spectrum operations after a generation of – necessarily – concentrating on counterinsurgency. The Marine Corps also has aviation issues it must address, he said.

In the Navy, shipbuilding and overhauling affect readiness. The Air Force is confronting an air fleet that is the oldest in the service’s history.

“There is a bill to be paid for 15 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said.

Carter said he does not begrudge the money spent, noting, “If you are in, you have to be all the way in.”

But there are costs and DoD is addressing those shortfalls. He said a new administration needs to take a serious look at the readiness issue and expects it will. “The world is the world,” Carter said. “So our major strategic directions will, I think, basically remain the same in the sense that the problems aren’t going to change, but approaches to them might.”

The secretary spoke of the four-plus-one litany of threats – Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and violent extremism. These probably won’t change, but he does not know what could happen elsewhere to change the equation.

The secretary specifically discussed the current efforts against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. “As far as ISIL is concerned, obviously there is the complete necessity to destroy this thing,” he said. “And we are going to do that.”

He doesn’t want any vestige of the group to be able to reconstitute in a couple of years. He said stabilization and economic efforts have lagged behind the military campaign against the group, and that is a concern. Providing hope and jobs for young Arab men are keys to ensuring the ideology loses its appeal.

Overall, the military needs to continue to innovate and encourage agility to build the force of the future. “Generations change, kids change, societies change; it requires a constant effort,” he said. “A force that has seen the future and grasps the future and gets there before anyone else does, is what we need to continue to nurture.”

The secretary specifically said he is more concerned now about the geographical base of the military more than any other personnel issue. The services need to reach into area underrepresented in the armed force, to give every American the opportunity to serve.

The council will continue through Friday.

(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)

Related Biographies

Ash Carter
Ashton B. Carter is the 25th Secretary of Defense.Secretary Carter has spent more than three decades
Command Sergeant Major John Wayne Troxell
Army Command Sergeant Major John Wayne Troxell is the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the

Related Images

161130-D-SV709-024.JPG Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks with Army Command Sgt. Maj. John W. Troxell before addressing senior enlisted members of the armed forces during the Defense Senior Enlisted Leader Conference at the Pentagon, Nov. 30, 2016. DoD photo by Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith
Download screen-resolution
Download high-resolution

Bookmark and Share