Year End: State of Innovative Acquisition and Education for Federal R&D

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In this episode Strategic Institute gives a year-end review of education for innovative acquisition and flexible contracting authorities for federal R&D.  It has been five years since Congress mandated DoD to educate all ‘management, technical, and contracting’ personnel involved in prototype projects. Improving the business of acquisition for better outcomes of federal R&D investments is believed to be a critical issue, so what progress has leadership had applying the remedies it has been given and charged to use?

Business-as-usual influences kicked the butt of federal business process innovation this year. Whatever bright spots there were in federal business for R&D did not draw much attention. It appears that acquisition reform has fallen out of trend, even though Congress continues to broaden innovative acquisition and flexible contracting authorities for R&D. Those who gain by preserving the status quo appear to be ignoring mandates while making excuses as to why education and various (needed) support is unnecessary. Stakeholders, like the warfighter, taxpayer, industrial base, and national security are forsaken for the interests of government and industry insiders. Even the normally lofty rhetoric was noticeably weak this year. Is this what shrugging looks like? The normative problems facing federal R&D seem to be alive and well.

As for 2023, there are reasons to be optimistic. The Millennials are moving into and filling leadership ranks. This generation has been vocal about being disruptive, innovative, and has indicated a willingness to deviate in order to solve normative problems and make good on federal R&D investments. Let’s pray that they do and those in senior positions will be supportive and clear the way. Removing blinders and relinquishing the shackles of abysmally performing systems would be more than enough reason for cheer and optimism next year and for years to come. Make the decision to learn, explore, and create the alternatives using highly flexible acquisition authorities for federal R&D 😉

“[other transactions] they are a gift!” – LTG Ostrowski


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!