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On 18 June 2018, USD(R&E) Dr. Griffin issued the memo and accompanying document "Framework for Risk Categorization for Use During Independent Technical Risk Assessments" that implemented FY17 NDAA language concerning conduct of ITRAs. On 3 Dec 2018, then-DEPSECDEF Shanahan issued the memo "Policy Memorandum for Independent Technical Risk Assessments for Major Defense Acquisition Programs" that superseded Dr. Griffin's memo and established policy on conduct of ITRAs using the framework issued with Dr. Griffin's memo in June. Some confusion resulted about the status of Technology Readiness Assessments (TRAs) in the context of ITRAs.
Recent discussions with OUSD(R&E) have clarified this a bit. As stated in the framework document, the ITRAs will leverage ongoing program activities such as TRAs whenever practical. So the bottom line is that some sort of TRA is still being done to satisfy the Title 10 Section 2366b requirement that technologies have been demonstrated in a relevant environment but they are being done as part of the ITRA. So, if anyone questions whether we are still doing TRAs the answer is "yes" for MDAPs as part of the ITRA. However, we are not sure how the Services are handling this on non-MDAP programs.
If you have info to contribute to this discussion, please post it in this forum.
"The Cold War paradigm of defense acquisition can no longer keep the United States ahead of its near-peer competitors. During the Cold War, the Department of Defense (DoD) was able to out-science its adversaries, because it was the world's biggest investor in, and consumer of, advanced science and technology (S&T), and could set the agenda for what commercial industries produced. Today, the DoD's share in the global S&T market is small and shrinking fast. In the future, the DoD no longer will have exclusive access to these technologies that once gave it the edge over potential adversaries. Instead, the DoD must return to an even older, pre-World War II paradigm: We must out-doctrine our potential adversaries by adopting and adapting commercial S&T for the battlefronts-and do it faster and more efficiently than our competitors."
Read the above article by DAU's Dr. Larrie Ferreiro in Defense Acquisition magazine and post what you think about it here. Can the DoD take advantage of commercial technologies and integrate them into our forces the way we did in the 1800s and early 1900s as he proposes?
DepSecDef Patrick Shanahan announced that, effective immediately, DIUx would become the Defense Innovation Unit. Removing ‘experimental’ reflects DIU's permanence within the DOD. DIU will continue to experiment with new ways of delivering capabilities. Not sure if or when their website https://www.diux.mil/ will change.
On 18 June 2018, USD(R&E) Dr. Mike Griffin issued a policy memo implementing conduct of Independent Technical Risk Assessments (ITRAs) for MDAPs (posted on this CoP under Documents > References, starting with "Policy"). The policy mentions nothing about the relationship of ITRAs with traditional Technology Risk Assessments (TRAs), which are still operating under the 2011 TRA Guidance document and still required by the FY2006 NDAA supporting Title 10 Section 2366b (see DoDI 5000.02 Enclosure 1, Table 2). At last October's NDIA Systems Engineering Conference, I asked Aileen Sedmak of ODASD(SE) if the ITRA replaces the TRA and she said, "No." So, how do you think the ITRA corresponds to the TRA? Please post your comments in this discussion area.
Dr. Mike Griffin was confirmed by the Senate as the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (USD(R&E)) on 16 Feb 2018. He's an engineer by training and a former NASA Administrator in the last decade. I met him once at a Space Industrial Base Council meeting I helped set up at the Pentagon in the 2007 timeframe and found him to be a grounded, thoughtful person. He has stated that hypersonics research is his number one S&T priority. What do you think his tenure as USD(R&E) will mean for the S&T portfolio in general?
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