Science and Technology News

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Work Looks to Industry to Maintain Technology Edge



By Amaani Lyle
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Nov. 19, 2014 – In remarks at the Defense One Summit here today, Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert O. Work stressed the importance of engaging industry, services and the Defense Business Board in maintaining the United States’ technological edge in coming years.

Work noted the challenge of balancing resources and requirements against the landscape of what he called an “especially chaotic” drawdown and a persistent continuing resolution over the past five years.

“The temporal aspects of this strategy are going to be much more challenging than in the past,” Work said. “And we’re going to have to do rapid prototyping … or we will continually lose ground.”

Budget Uncertainty Threatens Advances

Speaking on acquisition and technological advances, Work described the Defense Department’s focus across the decades, from the 1950’s nuclear weapons, 1960’s space, 1970’s stealth and microelectronics, 1980’s large-scale systems of systems into current systems that can face asymmetric challenges.

But efforts to increase base-level demonstrations, exercises and prototyping, Work said, can by stymied by budget uncertainties.

Work said that in response to those uncertainties, the department will seek to enhance its effectiveness through the Defense Business Board, which includes former chief executive officers, chief financial officers, chief operating officers and captains of industries.

“They’re now an operational arm directly associated with my deputy chief management officer and they’re going to help us benchmark against civilian business practices,” Work said.

So far, the DoD has been able to annually identify some $26 million in savings from duplication of contracts, administrative costs and other expenses over five years through these internal analyses, he said.

“That gave us great confidence that as we look at the broader defense agencies we were going to find significant savings,” Work said.

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