In the context of rapidly changing threats, technologies, and business models, the Department of Defense (DoD) and Congress are innovating in acquisition and sustainment to improve both speed and outcomes in contract management and across the entire Defense Acquisition System. The DoD and Congress are seeking applied breakthroughs from academia to discover and implement new solutions across the relevant disciplines including management, business, law, culture, data science, engineering, and others. To support that innovation Congress mandated the formation of the Acquisition Innovation Research Center, (AIRC).
The AIRC is the premier organization, represented by a national network of expertise spanning academia, government, and industry, housed within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, delivering innovative research and opportunities to transform enduring challenges in defense acquisition policies, practices, education, and training.
In an article published in the April 2022 National Contract Management Agency Magazine, Driving Innovation into the Defense Acquisition and Sustainment System, AIRC authors Mr. Mark Krzysko, Dr. Dennis McBride, Dr. Dinesh Verma, and Dr. Philip S. Anton, focused on how to drive this innovation. The authors outlined three challenges to overcome and the unique approaches AIRC is taking to produce the conditions for innovation: AIRC’s university collaborator network gives the government access to faculty and develops a pathway for the DoD to leverage innovative ideas developed within academia addressing aspects of the DoD Acquisition System; AIRC works with DoD leadership and sponsors to ensure that research teams have access and regular connections with those in the DoD who would implement and use new innovative approaches; and AIRC provides tools and applies research to improve the flow of information, decision making and workforce development.