• Study and report on industry/Government best practices to address both evolutionary (deliberate) and revolutionary (rapid) technology development.

  • Identify potential legislative initiatives, if any, to improve technology development and transition into operational use.

With the task in mind, the committee began a process of evidence gathering in which efforts were focused on gaining a current and accurate picture of the situation in the air, space, and cyberspace domains, through documentary research and through interactions with a large number of government agencies and offices. The committee conducted four data-gathering meetings at which input to the study was provided by the following: senior Air Force leaders, including representatives of several Air Force Major Commands; representatives from the other military departments; senior officials in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD); professional staff members from key congressional oversight committees; and senior industry executives. This effort was followed by an exploration of best practices in which the lessons of technological success stories from academia, government, and industry were studied.

Early in the study, the committee developed a framework, the “Three Rs,” for organizing its findings and recommendations. The framework describes characteristics that, in the committee’s judgment, need to be addressed fully in order for successful technology development to occur. That framework is composed of the following:

  1. Requirements—clear, realistic, stable, trade-off tolerant, and universally understood;

  2. Resources—adequate and stable, and including robust processes, policies, and budgets; and

  3. The Right People—skilled, experienced, and in sufficient numbers, with stable leadership.

On the basis of this framework, the committee developed a number of findings and recommendations that are presented in Chapters 2 through 4; the full set of recommendations is provided below.8 In keeping with its statement of task, the committee studied the current state of Air Force technology development and the environment in which technology is acquired, and then it looked at best practices from both government and industry. Because the resulting recommendations are in all cases within the power of the Air Force to implement, the committee chose


The findings and recommendations retain their original numbering regardless of where they appear in the text: for example, Recommendation 4-1 is the first recommendation in Chapter 4.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement