October 28, 2022

Why the AIRC Network of Expertise Works for Acquisition Innovation

The DoD and Congress are seeking applied breakthroughs from academia to discover and implement new solutions in defense acquisition across relevant disciplines including management, business, law, culture, data science, engineering, and others. To support that innovation, Congress mandated the formation of an extramural, academic acquisition innovation research initiative.

To meet this requirement, the Acquisition Innovation Research Center (AIRC) was established as a multi-university partnership led and managed by the Stevens Institute of Technology and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) through the Systems Engineering Research Center (SERC)—a DoD University Affiliated Research Center (UARC).

AIRC is delivering a portfolio of research that encompasses Enterprises and Innovation, Models and Data, Human Capital Development and Digital Transformation. On a national level, the network is delivering high-level analyses and research to Services and agencies within the DoD, with a focus on innovation and digital transformation of the defense acquisition ecosystem.

Complex problems require solutions that break down complexity and bring the right expertise together to form a multifaceted view of the problem and develop integrated solutions. As part of a broad coalition, the national network of domain experts from academia is convening with government and defense industry representatives on November 15th in Washington, DC to share collective intelligence on the most pressing issues facing the DoD.

The AIRC enterprise is aimed at creating the conditions and pushing the boundaries for innovation. AIRC research has presented baseline requirements in an Outline to Driving Innovation Across the Entire Defense Ecosystem, shared perspectives on Defining the Nature of the Defense Innovation Problem, thought leadership on Leveraging Consortia to Promote Innovation and innovative ideas through a series of Digital Transformation Incubators.

The 2022 AIRC Research Review will bring together many notable speakers and panelists, including Ms. Tanya Skeen, SES, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition (Acting), OUSD(A&S); Dr. Dennis McBride, AIRC Director, OUSD(A&S); Mr. Mark Krzysko, SES, Principal Deputy Director, Enterprise Information, Acquisition Data and Analytics, OUSD(A&S); HON. Dr. Paul Kaminski, Chairman, SERC & AIRC Advisory Board, Chairman and CEO of Technovation, Inc.; Dr. Don Schlomer, Acquisition Program Manager SOF AT&L and Policy Manager, U.S. Special Operations Command; and Mr. David Drabkin, Esq., AIRC Fellow and Chairman of the Section 809 Panel.

Highlights of the agenda include three panels and several presentations.

Innovation in Acquired Systems: Opportunities and Systemic Impedance Factors to Boosting Innovation, is the opening panel of the day at 9am ET. Ms. Tanya Skeen, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition (Acting), will moderate. She will speak with panelists Mr. Ron Keesing, Senior VP for Technology Integration of Leidos; Brig. Gen. (Ret.) R. Scott Stapp, VP and CTO of Northrop Grumman; and Dr. Steven Walker, VP and CTO of Lockheed Martin.

Professional Staff Member Panel: Legislative Priorities and Perspectives on Acquisition Innovation at 1pm ET, will be moderated by AIRC Fellow Mr. David Drabkin, Esq., who will speak with Mr. Kevin Gates of the United States Senate Armed Services Committee and Ms. Karen Thornton of the House Armed Services Committee.

Emerging Industrial Perspectives to Enable the National Defense Strategy, will be the closing panel of the day at 4pm ET. Mr. Matthew Rose of Adobe and the AIRC Innovation Panel will moderate. He will speak with Mr. Jeff Ryder, VP Growth & Strategy, General Motors Defense (also a member of the AIP) and COL (Ret.) William Mark Valentine, Head of Federal, Scale AI.

Researchers from the AIRC network of expertise will present on topics such as “Responsive Appropriations” by Dr. Philip S. Antón, AIRC Chief Scientist (Stevens), “T&E Strategic Efforts” by Dr. Laura Freeman (Virginia Tech), “Gamification of Training in Emerging Acquisition Methods” by  Lt. Col. Daniel Finkenstadt (Naval Postgraduate School) and Dr. Robert Handfield (North Carolina State University), “Factors and Decision-Making for Additive Manufacturing in Sustainment” by Drs. Jitesh Panchal and Waterloo Tsutsui (Purdue), “Cognitive Assistants for Training Cost Estimators” by Dr. Daniel Selva (Texas A&M), “Agile Hardware Development” by Dr. Gregg Vesonder (Stevens), and more.

In addition to a formal agenda, the Annual Research Review enables government and industry leaders to interact with academic experts and continue conversations to strategically address future horizons for research impact.

Read more about the SERC and AIRC research portfolios.

Visit the Annual Research Review event page to register and follow the AIRC LinkedIn page for updated information on this unique gathering of the defense community.