Publications

Research Reports

Quarterly Research Forums: AIRC and the Defense Acquisition University

PUBLIC RELEASE
February 2024

COMPLETED
October 2023

AUTHORS:  Ms. Kara Pepe1
STEVENS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY 1

AIRC collaborated with the Defense Acquisition University to host quarterly research forums (QRFs) featuring presentations, discussions, and Q&A sessions on research and training opportunities. AIRC experts presented relevant research and received feedback from faculty and practitioners in the field, while also providing DAU with insightful views on its curricula initiatives and challenges in support of acquisition missions of the Department of Defense (DoD).

Portfolio Performance Analysis and Visualization

PUBLIC RELEASE
December 2023

COMPLETED
September 2023

AUTHORS:  Mr. John D. Driessnack1, Mr. John Johnson1
UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND 1

According to researchers from the University of Maryland, the Department of Defense needs more efficient data-driven approaches to improve analytic insights on performance and risk at program and portfolio levels. This report shows their efforts to expand the use of portfolio-level data, analysis, and visualization of the data across Program Executive Offices (PEOs), Capabilities, and Missions to inform Integrated Acquisitions Portfolio Review (IAPR) and other portfolio decisions.

Mission-Aware Integrated Digital Transformation for Operational Advantage

PUBLIC RELEASE
December 2023

COMPLETED
September 2023

AUTHORS:  Dr. Jitesh Panchal1, Dr. Waterloo Tsutsui1, Dr. Dr. Mikhail Atallah1 Dr. Nathan Hartman1 Dr. Daniel DeLaurentis1 Dr. Richard Malak2
PURDUE UNIVERSITY 1, TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY 2

AIRC researchers from Purdue and Texas A&M completed this report that presents valuable insights drawn from in-depth conversations with Department of Defense stakeholders, focusing on critical aspects of digital modeling, data utilization, and data-driven decision-making for ground vehicles. The report addresses challenges and opportunities in these domains and offers strategic considerations for optimizing the DoD’s operational advantages.

Cognitive Assistant for Training Cost Estimators

PUBLIC RELEASE
November 2023

COMPLETED
September 2023

AUTHORS: Dr. Daniel Selva1, Dr. Theodora Chaspari1, Dr. Alejandro Salado2
TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY 1, UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA 2

AIRC researchers from Purdue and Texas A&M completed this report that presents valuable insights drawn from in-depth conversations with Department of Defense stakeholders, focusing on critical aspects of digital modeling, data utilization, and data-driven decision-making for ground vehicles. The report addresses challenges and opportunities in these domains and offers strategic considerations for optimizing the DoD’s operational advantages.

Loud and Clear: The Negotiation Game

PUBLIC RELEASE
November 2023

COMPLETED
October 2023

AUTHORS:  Dr. Daniel J. Finkenstadt1, Dr. Robert Handfield2
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL 1, NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY 2

The research objective of this project was to improve acquisition workforce training, especially on new acquisition concepts and approaches by investigating if/how gamified training approaches could improve training. AIRC researchers from the Naval Postgraduate School and North Carolina State University produced a set of negotiation scenarios that were incorporated into an interactive player platform that allowed teams to take on various roles within a negotiation team on either the government or industry side. Players competed against each other and tried to reach the optimal solution for their team given their tasks, constraints, and goals.

Acquisition with Digital Engineering

PUBLIC RELEASE
October 2023

COMPLETED
July 2023

AUTHORS:  Mr. Tom McDermott1, Mr. Geoff Kerr2
STEVENS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY 1, VIRGINIA TECH 2

Although the Department of Defense (DoD) Digital Engineering (DE) Strategy is guiding transformation across the DoD, this report finds that successful DE implementation in acquisition and sustainment must involve all acquisition functions—not just technical ones. In other words, acquisition with DE support, a.k.a. DE-enabled acquisition, cannot succeed as an engineering initiative pushed by engineers. It must be pulled into acquisition and sustainment by acquisition and sustainment functionals and fully integrated across all of their activities, including those that are not seen as technical.

Training in Innovation and Emerging Technology Adoption

PUBLIC RELEASE
September 2023

COMPLETED
March 2023

AUTHORS: Dr. Maegen Nix, Ms. Christina Houfek
VIRGINIA TECH APPLIED RESEARCH CORPORATION

In response to Congressional tasking, AIRC partnered with the Defense Acquisition University to study the status of innovation and emerging technology adoption training programs available to DoD employees. AIRC researchers from the Virginia Tech Applied Research Corporation (VT-ARC) prepared a comprehensive review of the topic through literature reviews, interviews, and surveys. Drawing from the broader study, this report presents the status of DoD, academia, and industry innovation and emerging technology adoption training programs while specifically addressing enumerated items requested by Congress.

Congressionally Mandated Study on Contractor Debarments for Violations of U.S. Labor Laws

PUBLIC RELEASE
July 2023

COMPLETED
September 2022

AUTHORS:  Mr. David Drabkin1, Mr. Christopher Yukins, Esq.2
STEVENS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY 1, THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL 2

The conference report accompanying the National Defense Authorization Act for 2021 raised concerns regarding contractor violations of U.S. labor laws and whether statutory debarments should be introduced. The Defense Pricing and Contracting directorate of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment asked AIRC to study the issue of labor law compliance among federal contractors and the use of statutory and discretionary debarment as tools to protect the government’s interests.

DoD Bid Protests

PUBLIC RELEASE
June 2023

COMPLETED
October 2022

AUTHORS:  Mr. Christopher Yukins, Esq.1, Mr. David Drabkin2
THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL 1, STEVENS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY 2

This report presents an analysis of information on bid protests stemming from Department of Defense (DoD) procurement activities. It is based in part on interviews and written survey responses with senior DoD program and procurement personnel, senior DoD procurement attorneys, representatives of industry, and members of the procurement bar. Its recommendations seek to improve the expediency, timeliness, transparency, and consistency of bid protests at the DoD.

Agile Acquisition: History and Recommendations

PUBLIC RELEASE
June 2023

COMPLETED
October 2022

AUTHORS:  Dr. Gregg Vesonder, Dr. Nicole Hutchison
STEVENS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

Agile development along with DevSecOps can accelerate acquisition and improve relevance. While industry has successfully applied Agile and DevSecOps to software, hardware, and inter-reliant hardware/software systems, the DoD has lacked applying Agile and DevSecOps beyond software development. This report devises ways for the DoD to leverage the potential of Agile and DevSecOps for both hardware and software, including to integrate Agile and DevSecOps initiatives with digital transformation; pursue agility in contracting, requirements, and funding; and address cultural and risk barriers through leadership and incentives.

The Acquisition Innovation Research Center: Innovation for Digital Transformation and Policy Analytics

PUBLIC RELEASE
March 2023

COMPLETED
December 2022

AUTHORS:  Dr. Hanumanthrao Kannan1, Dr. William Rouse2, Dr. Nirav Merchant3, Dr. Alejandro Salado3, Dr. Young-Jun Son4, Dr. Zoe Szajnfarber5
THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA IN HUNTSVILLE 1, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY 2, THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA 3, PURDUE UNIVERSITY 4, THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY 5

This report presents the initial results of an AIRC Policy Test Laboratory (PTL) study and was performed by the research team over a period of two months. The goal of this project was to establish an initial reference architecture to support the development of the PTL, which is conceived as a service where a domain model developed in a project can be used and/or integrated with another model of a different domain developed in a different project.

Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2)

PUBLIC RELEASE
December 2022

COMPLETED
November 2022

AUTHOR: Dr. Roshi Rose Nilchiani
STEVENS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

This report provides an overview on the current state of Joint-All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) and identifies opportunities for academic research in various domains (engineering, sciences, and social sciences) that can contribute to a state-of-the-art JADC2 system. This set of opportunities emphasizes the need for research and development and identifying gaps in knowledge, technologies, procedures, and capabilities that can empower JADC2 as a resilient, agile, adaptive, and strong shared command and control platform.

Blockchain Data Structures for Tracking DoD Budget Spending

PUBLIC RELEASE
December 2022

COMPLETED
October 2022

AUTHORS: Dr. Yeganeh M. Hayeri, Dr. Ian Taylor
STEVENS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

This study aims to develop a blockchain data structure and a prototype to track budgeting as funds flow between DoD elements. The objective is to improve insights into transactions to enable acquisition funding flexibility and to better spend tracking information for DoD planning, management, and macro balancing. A prototype for organizing a blockchain data structure is proposed with the aid of graph analysis concepts. Upon developing a preliminary roadmap, and a graph network demonstrating DoD fund transfers, seven novel use cases have been proposed to show the applicability of this solution. Use cases cover several issues related to budget management, data manipulation, and security optimization, as well as issues related to cost and cost-effectiveness. For each use case, the researchers identified which problem has been targeted, how the proposed design can be applied, and how the suggested solution design can be beneficial.

Thoughts on Agility Through Appropriations

PUBLIC RELEASE
November 2022

COMPLETED
October 2022

AUTHOR: Dr. Philip S. Antón
STEVENS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) seeks sufficient funds from the U.S. Congress to meet critical national security missions. However, predicting, budgeting, authorizing, and appropriating the type and amount of needed funding can be challenging, especially when threats and technologies are changing faster than Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution (PPBE) process timelines, which run over two years given that the DoD starts planning 19 months before the programming and budgeting stage begins. Threats and needs can even change after budgets are authorized and appropriated by Congress and reprogramming of those funds are limited. This paper hypothesizes different approaches related to budgeting and appropriating to improve defense acquisition given inherent DoD and Congressional equities.

Additive Manufacturing and Digital Engineering Strategy Development

PUBLIC RELEASE
November 2022

COMPLETED
October 2022

AUTHORS: Dr. Daniel A. DeLaurentis, Dr. Jitesh H. Panchal
PURDUE UNIVERSITY

The overall objective of this research was to develop tools and knowledge to support the development of an additive manufacturing supply chain sustainment strategy and a digital engineering strategy. As we initiated the research effort at the beginning, we asked ourselves: Can the whole supply chain and sustainment strategy change given the additive manufacturing opportunities instead of traditional manufacturing? In what timeframe? What are the limits (e.g., materials science; systems engineering; cost; reliability; infrastructure)? To effectively perform mission engineering and ensure readiness for additive manufacturing, we set up a digital environment ready for sustainment and have the capabilities we need when we need them.

Data-Driven Capability Portfolio Management Pilot

PUBLIC RELEASE
November 2022

COMPLETED
October 2022

AUTHORS: Dr. Daniel A. DeLaurentis, Dr. Jitesh H. Panchal
PURDUE UNIVERSITY

AIRC research adapted a previously developed system-of-systems analytic workbench (SoS-AWB) of analytic tools to create a decision-support prototype effective for informing decisions in Integrated Acquisition Portfolio Reviews (IAPRs). Mission engineering analysis and portfolio optimization of an anti-surface warfare (ASuW) mission thread using personnel and munitions in the surface, aviation, and space domains was demonstrated via the prototype software. These advanced prototypes provide a broader range of insights (e.g., resource tradeoffs, cost-sensitivity analysis, and the most robust ASuW systems to be acquired in specific portfolios) for stakeholder decision making.

Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS)

PUBLIC RELEASE
October 2022

COMPLETED
September 2022

AUTHORS: Dr. Mo Mansouri, Dr. Michael McGrath, Dr. Donald Schlomer, Dr. Dinesh Verma, and Dr. Philip S. Antón
STEVENS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

The Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS) in the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has come under increasing scrutiny over the past decade, with a particular focus on its latencies. Since a validated requirement is needed before an acquisition program can begin, delays in the JCIDS process were perceived by Congress as adding months or even years to the acquisition cycle. In support of the DoD’s response to Congressional concerns, the Acquisition Innovation Research Center (AIRC) was asked to assess how it can improve the efficiency of developing and approving capability requirements and to develop a model to show the effects of proposed alternatives.

The Nature of the Defense Innovation Problem

PUBLIC RELEASE
August 2022

COMPLETED
July 2022

AUTHORS: Dr. Melissa Flagg, Ms. Molly Nadolski, Mr. Jose Sanchez, Mr. Tom McDermott, and Dr. Philip S. Antón
STEVENS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

We identified the following recommendations and next steps that could begin moving the DoD more towards empowering, creating, identifying, assessing, and adopting operationally significant innovation (rather than attractive innovation that cannot be justified and pursued given limited resources).

IP Evaluation and Valuation Study

PUBLIC RELEASE
March 2022

COMPLETED
October 2021

AUTHORS: Dr. Claudia Stewart, Karrie Wessing, JD, Mr. Michael Ryan, Richard Beutel, JD, and Ms. Sonia Kaestner
GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY

This study develops lean and appropriately customizable Intellectual Property (IP) management modalities that can be fully integrated into acquisition and product support strategies; acquire only the necessary deliverables and license rights at the appropriate times to secure DoD’s interests throughout the product life cycle.

IP Data Repository

PUBLIC RELEASE
March 2022

COMPLETED
October 2021

AUTHORS: Dr. Laura Freeman and Dr. Brian Mayer
VIRGINIA TECH

Tasked to develop a data and electronic information repository for models, samples, templates, and exemplars of Intellectual Property (IP), through the use of the “FAIR” principles (Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability, and Reusability), the team researched government data using a two-tiered approach that explored the requested data fields in the AIRC Performance Work Statement (PWS) and publicly available metadata to create a longitudinal topology of DoD contracting activity.

AIRC Perspectives

Best Practices for Addressing New Challenges in Testing and Evaluating Artificial Intelligence Enabled Systems

PUBLISHED
September 2022

AUTHORS: Dr. Laura Freeman, Dr. Justin Kauffman, Mr. Daniel Sobien, Dr. Tyler Cody, and Dr. Erin Lanus
VIRGINIA TECH 

The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and statistical machine learning (ML) into complex systems exposes a variety of challenges in traditional test and evaluation (T&E) practices. As more decisions at varying levels are handled by AI-enabled systems (AIES), we need T&E processes that provide a basis for ensuring system effectiveness, suitability, and survivability. 

Measuring the RoI of Digital Engineering: It’s a Journey, Not a Number

PUBLISHED
July 2022

AUTHORS: Mr. Thomas A. McDermott Jr.1, Dr. Kaitlin Henderson2, Dr. Eileen Van Aken2, Dr. Alejandro Salado3, and Dr. Joseph Bradley4
STEVENS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY 1, VIRGINIA TECH 2, UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA 3, OLD DOMINION UNIVERSITY 4

Systems engineering as a discipline has long had difficulty providing quantifiable evidence of its value (Honour 2004); DE transformation provides an opportunity to better measure its value. Transitioning from a document-based to a model-based approach is expensive, and organizations want to know if the effort and cost to adopt MBSE is worth it.

Defense Data Grand Prix: Solving Grand Problems to Meet a Grand Vision

PUBLISHED
June 2022

AUTHORS: Dr. Stoney Trent1, Dr. Hoong Yan See Tao2, Dr. Ying Wang2, Dr. Paul Grogan2and Dr. Christian Lucero1
VIRGINIA TECH1, STEVENS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY 2

The DoD Data Strategy supports digital modernization and use of data at the speed and scale needed for efficiency and operational advantage. As the future workforce for the DoD, university students studying data science benefit from practical research challenges as part of their education. The Defense Data Grand Prix provides research opportunities that expose students to Defense Acquisition System challenges, decisions, and processes.

Critical Competencies to Support Digital Transformation in Acquisition

PUBLISHED
May 2022

AUTHOR: Dr. Nicole Hutchison
STEVENS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

As the DoD transitions to digital engineering, there is a need to develop and maintain an acquisition workforce that is literate in model-based approaches, competent in digital models, methods, and tools, and understands digital artifacts across the acquisition lifecycle. This perspective paper explores those competencies and levels of proficiency needed to support digital transformation.

Managing Portfolios in an Environment of Dynamic Requirements and Uncertainty

PUBLISHED
April 2022

AUTHORS: Dr. William B. Rouse1, Dr. Dinesh Verma2, Mr. Thomas A. McDermott, Jr.2, and Dr. Philip S. Antón2
GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY 1, STEVENS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY 2

Organizations would like to have the flexibility and agility to address the uncertainty of both needs and technologies that results from challenges related to performance, organizational experience, supply chains, etc. This perspective paper outlines and illustrates new ways of thinking and allocating resources that organizations can adopt to address these challenges.

CHALLENGES TO INNOVATION TRANSITION: The Valley of Death Results from More Than a Lack of Flexible Funding

PUBLISHED
March 2022

AUTHOR: Dr. Philip S. Antón
STEVENS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

Innovation is appealing and attractive, but it is a difficult and risky business. The Department of Defense (DoD) and the commercial sector have long struggled with transitioning and fielding innovative concepts and systems to operational use. Data show that very few innovations are successfully fielded. To tackle innovation, the DoD and its partners have created a range of organizations to pursue and apply innovative concepts.

Incubator Reports

Digital Engineering Enhanced T&E of Learning-Based Systems

PUBLISHED
December 2022

AUTHORS: Dr. Peter Beling1, Dr. Laura Freeman1, Dr. Jitesh Panchal2
VIRGINIA TECH 1, PURDUE UNIVERSITY 2

This research, led by Principal Investigator Dr. Peter Beling (Virginia Tech), Co-Principal Investigators Dr. Laura Freeman (Virginia Tech) and Dr. Jitesh Panchal (Purdue University), posed the principal hypotheses that acquisition costs can be significantly reduced if test and evaluation (T&E) programs are based on the optimal balance between the cost of acquiring the technical data/algorithm rights of AI/ML systems and the cost of testing those systems.

Holistic Assurance Framework

PUBLISHED
December 2022

AUTHOR: Dr. Lance Sherry
GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY

Department of Defense (DoD) Acquisitions must ensure that the design/testing (i.e. digital twin) and operational maintenance of fielded systems-of-systems composed of tightly coupled components meets system-of-systems requirements with regard to the Target Level of Safety (TLS) and the risk of hazardous outcomes. Led by Principal Investigator Dr. Lance Sherry (George Mason University) the research team demonstrates the potential for Deep Learning Neural Networks (DLNN) to overcome limitations in system validation testing of complex, time-dependent behavior resulting from the interaction of components over time.

Gamification in Defense Acquisition Training and Education

PUBLISHED
December 2022

AUTHORS: Dr. Rob Handfield1, Lt Col Daniel J. Finkenstadt2
NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY 1, NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL 2

The objective of this incubator project is to demonstrate that gamified learning in non-traditional defense contexts (e.g., defense acquisition) can support the Department of Defense (DoD) in improving its workforce education and training. Evidence from empirical research is presented to highlight the opportunities and challenges for advancing military education into the present age through gamified learning methods. Further, two prototype games are presented with one incorporating the Federal Acquisitions Regulations (FAR) related to protest risk and the second related to contingency contracting via interactive scenario generation.

Innovation for Digital Transformation and Policy Analytics

PUBLISHED
November 2022

AUTHORS: Dr. Azad M. Madni, Dr. Dan Erwin
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

In this study, led by Principal Investigator Dr. Azad M. Madni of the University of Southern California, a risk-based validation approach was developed and applied to the acquisition of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to detect forest fires. The concept of risk was defined within the context of system acquisition and defined an initial validation metamodel. The system comprises a UAV with a GPS and two cameras that can send photos to a processing facility. The validation method was based on the detection of hot spots and smoke. The central idea was to build a tree to help evaluate what-if analyses, look for overlaps and gaps, and help prioritize validation demonstrations.

Cognitive Training Assistant for Cost Estimators

PUBLISHED
November 2022

AUTHORS: Dr. Daniel Selva1, Dr. Theodora Chaspari1, Dr. Alejandro Salado2
TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY 1, UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA 2

Cognitive assistants (CAs) enable humans to solve complex tasks and problems more efficiently. The goal of this project, led by Principal Investigator (PI) Dr. Daniel Selva (Texas A&M University), was to demonstrate proof of concept for a CA that would assist in training new cost estimators in the Department of Defense (DoD). This CA was developed to provide trainees with interactive, hands-on opportunities to learn concepts, methods, and best practices related to estimating the lifecycle costs of complex systems.

Calculating Return on Investment in a Department of Defense Context

PUBLISHED
October 2022

AUTHORS: Dr. Eric W. Burger, Dr. Robin Dillon-Merrill, Ms. Erika Heeren-Moon, Mr. Franco Forti
GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY

To determine the value of expenditures, businesses use return on investment (ROI) to measure success over time and eliminate the guesswork of future business decisions. The ability to calculate ROI can be beneficial to any business, regardless of its size or industry. Although the Department of Defense (DoD) uses business analytics in its acquisition process, including market research studies and alternative analyses, it does not aim to maximize profits. The DoD instead seeks to increase operational capabilities, make life safer, establish deterrent positions and reduce risk. This research aims to identify opportunities in the DoD acquisition process where ROI calculations can improve the performance of defense acquisitions in cutting-edge technology. The research team, led by Principal Investigator Dr. Eric W. Burger of Georgetown University, believes that the DoD will be able to accelerate contract development, letting and awarding with higher functionality, and lower total cost by adopting best practices of the private sector and non-DoD public sector ROI calculations.  

Management and Business Knowledge Representation for Decision Making

PUBLISHED
October 2022

AUTHOR: Dr. Johnathan Mun
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL

This current first-phase research looks at how the Department of Defense (DoD) can inculcate institutional corporate memory. Specifically, the research tests and develops recommendations about how a transparent Decisions Options Register (DOR) integrated intelligent database system can be developed, where the DOR helps capture all historical decisions (assumptions, data inputs, constraints, limitations, competing objectives, and decision rules) for programs within the Department of Defense (DoD).

Incentives for Motivating Workforce Agility and Innovation

PUBLISHED
September 2022

AUTHORS: Dr. Amanda Girth, Dr. Mike Rayo, Dr. Elizabeth Newton, Mr. Asher Balkin, Ms. Christine Jefferies, Ms. Priyanka Tewani
THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY

This pilot study, conducted in partnership with the Air Force Installation Contracting Center (AFICC), developed approaches and initial set of systemic pressures that hinder innovative behavior in the acquisition workforce of the Department of Defense (DoD). An approach was developed to create interventions that mitigate systemic pressures to incentivize lasting behavioral and cultural changes to improve acquisition outcomes in support of the National Defense Strategy.

Annual Report

Annual Report for FY 2022 Extramural Acquisition Innovation and Research Activities

PUBLISHED
October 2022

This report reflects on a growth year for AIRC after it was established in September 2020. The sponsor base now includes 13 DoD entities, and initial research projects and investments have matured and produced a large number of practical pilot ideas for tackling some of the DoD’s most enduring organizational challenges for improving acquisition outcomes.

Annual Report for FY 2021 Extramural Acquisition Innovation and Research Activities

PUBLISHED
September 2021

The Secretary of Defense created the Acquisition Innovation Research Center (AIRC) on September 30, 2020, in response to section 2361(a) of title 10 U.S. Code. AIRC has achieved its goals for its inaugural year, and a breadth of activities have been funded to engage AIRC on key challenges facing the Department of Defense (DoD).