THE BIG BET: ACQUISITION SPEED AND AGILITY.

Author:Roper, Will
Position:Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office

The dominance of today's Air Force is the product of past investments in leap-ahead technologies like microprocessors, satellites and stealth.

Technology was primarily developed with government sponsorship and took decades to mature; consequently, placing big bets strategically delineated future-shapers from the future-shaped. Fortunately for us, our predecessors were the former.

Today's technology landscape is much different. Technology is primarily developed worldwide by commercial companies in timescales measured in years--even months.

Software, not hardware, is now the lynchpin. "Seismic readings" from fields like artificial intelligence, quantum systems, synthetic biology and advanced manufacturing indicate a potential explosion of breakthroughs that could render, many of today's Air Force systems operationally extinct on the future battlefield.

Given this, the Air Force can ill afford to maintain its historical technology development strategy. Instead, we must bet on identifying, adapting and updating technologies faster than all enemies.

Acquisition speed...

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