Tag Archives: rapid acquisition

The innovation flash mob

In today's war, our strategic reserve is the commercial tech base. It's time they joined to fight!

Picasso couldn’t teach his legions of devoted acolytes the mastery of color and composition that differentiates his work. By the same token, true innovation (irrespective of the field of inquiry) can’t be reduced to practice. There are no shortcuts. Sorry Jomini.

But we can create (or at least influence) the conditions under which such flashes of inspiration are likely to manifest. And one of the most important of these conditions is the cross fertilization of ideas. The defense industry presents extra barriers (i.e. security, proprietary information, export restrictions, etc.) to the open, cross-cutting collaboration that provides the seed corn for such innovation hot beds as Silicon Valley. But in a world where competitiveness is increasingly predicated on information-based intellectual capital (as opposed to industrial capital), the companies (and militaries) that sample from the largest pool of ideas will earn an overwhelming strategic advantage.

Following are some additional thoughts on how the Defense establishment can position itself to compete in the all important battlespace of ideas:

1. Explore new approaches to problem identification, problem vetting, and problem solving. To get ahead of the competition, the Defense establishment must accelerate problem AND solution discovery. The best way for this to happen is to place experts with knowledge of the problem space in direct contact with the widest possible cross section of technology subject matter experts (i.e. people who understand the art of the possible). The web is a great vehicle for facilitating this kind of interaction, but it’s not a solution in and of itself. Person to person interaction is far and away the preferred vehicle for facilitating the synergistic group dynamics that underwrite productive brainstorming. Consider by way of example the “innovation flash mob” used by the Nordstrom Innovation Lab to prototype new approaches for improving the customer experience. Check out the following clip…

2. Replace the old industrial model where carefully controlled requirements strictly limit the problem and solution spaces. Life is messy. And contemporary warfare is even messier. It took the British empire over 100 years to learn that imposing “order” on the battlefield only works so long as all the players elect to follow the same set of rules. While we teach improvisation and ingenuity as cornerstones of modern operational art, we continue to plan and equip for wars according to a strictly prescribed (albeit artificial) order. To remain competitive in the irregular warfare environment, the Defense establishment must pursue approaches where more organic problem <-> solution dynamics can emerge, making allowances for the disruptive insights that fail to conform to the “orderly” corporate view of the problem space.

3. I have said it before: problems are the new currency in defense. And job #1 is to actively engage the collective resources of the U.S. (global) tech base to underwrite solutions to these problems. Much has been made of asymmetric advantages enjoyed by terrorists and insurgents in modern global conflicts: speed, agility, invisibility, etc. I would submit that the U.S. enjoys an even more compelling asymmetric advantage – one that, by and large, we have failed to make full use of. The engine that drives the U.S. economic machine is commercial technology innovation. But today, thanks to the Internet, our terrorist and insurgent adversaries enjoy almost equal access to these innovations. DoD must look for opportunities to directly engage the commercial technology marketplace in the problems of Defense. This is easier said than done. By and large, the commercial tech base views Defense as an opaque, inscrutable world, where the barriers to entry eclipse the modest financial returns that a company might expect to realize. The first step to overcoming this impedance mismatch is to educate the commercial tech base (in a  non-FedBizOpps kind of way) to the “jobs” that Defense practitioners need to accomplish. In today’s war, our strategic reserve is the commercial tech base. It’s time they joined to fight!

Battle Forge: The Defense Innovation Platform

As the center of gravity for technology innovation has shifted from the defense-industrial complex to places like Silicon Valley, there is an increasing need to harvest sources of technology innovation that are outside of the immediate sphere of influence of the Department of Defense (DoD). And do so in a holistic, repeatable, and highly efficient manner. This idea represents a major change to how DoD currently conducts business, enabling organic R&D costs to be substantially displaced to the commercial marketplace, and is a foundational component of the Defense 2.0 thesis: more capability for less cost.

Battle Forge is Mav6′s small contribution to this objective. It will be a focal point to forge today’s art of the possible, crossing industries and disciplines, with operational insights from the field to rapidly design and build capabilities for urgent edgefighter needs. It consists of web-enabled and physical resources that combine to provide a streamlined facility for the 1) collaboration, 2) co-creation, and 3) deployment of game-changing military tech.

If I sound a bit light on the details here, that’s because I am. We’re still framing the Battle Forge concept. Suffice it to say, Battle Forge will represent the manifestation of a vision to create a defense marketplace for ideas augmented by a full spectrum of co-creation and relationship management capabilities required to turn great ideas into great technologies that will impact the edgefighter community. In keeping with the idea that the community is smarter than any lone individual or company, we will be seeking to evolve the Battle Forge idea in collaboration with the edgefighter community of interest as part of the broader Defense 2.0 conversation. As soon as I know how we are going to do this, I will let you know… But once we figure it out, I am hoping that we can count on your expertise to make Battle Forge a paradigm-changing success!

DoD needs Big Design Up Front

Evolutionary technology development practices are all the rage. The various agile and extreme programming frameworks have captured the imagination of the commercial software world and are starting to become a major influence on the Defense industry. Based on the increasing usage of the word ‘agile’ in the Defense dialogue, I am expecting to see the type of aggressive oversubscription that has accompanied previous commercial crossover fads like Total Quality Management and Lean Six Sigma. But before DoD and the Defense industry make a wholesale commitment to agile methodologies (to the exclusion of legacy approaches), there are a couple of important points to keep in mind.

Without question, the agile idea lends itself to the type of threat scenarios currently confronting DoD.  In the absence of a steady state operating environment, agile development, where capabilities are continuously optimized around the margins, makes a lot of sense. It gets back to Peter Sims’ “Little Bets” concept that I have discussed in previous posts – start with what you know and evolve in measured steps based on experiential feedback.

But the agile design philosophy doesn’t mitigate the need to think through a problem from start to finish. On the other hand, thinking through the problem doesn’t mean meticulously defining every operational excursion likely to be encountered during the life of a technology. Big Design Up Front (BDUF) is often mistakenly viewed as a counterpoint to agile design. To be sure, the fundamentalist interpretation of BDUF, where an excruciating level of planning overwhelms the adaptation imperative, is at odds with agile precepts; however, I would argue that this should not necessarily be the case.

A marriage of agile and BDUF is required to produce the types of solutions demanded by contemporary military problems. By way of analogy, the reason that jazz works is that it reflects a disciplined and unifying structure around which improvisation can take place. Done right, agile development incorporates a similar pre-considered discipline that can only emerge through the application of a BDUF approach. No amount of evolution can make up for a faulty initial design. And no amount of up front planning can anticipate the complexities of modern military conflicts. Agile and BDUF should not be viewed as competing methodologies within the context of DoD R&D; they are two sides of the same coin.

The Mav6 reading list

Mav6 is a company about ideas – the different ideas that will change (we believe) how the Defense industry fundamentally competes. Back in 2006 we posited the following thesis:

The pace of change in the emerging threat environment demands a new approach to rapidly innovate technology solutions.

This thesis is Mav6′s raison d’etre. There’s nothing uniquely insightful about the idea. In fact, many (if not most) people in our business espouse a similar conviction. The question is: how does a company in the Defense industry internalize and operationalize this proposition?

Like everything else that Mav6 does, we approached the problem by stepping outside of the Defense community for ideas that could be adapted, synthesized, and applied to form an optimum solution. For answers we looked to the industry with the most exposure to and experience with the challenges of rapidly evolving operational conditions: commercial technology. And what better place to start than the extensive body of literature on this topic?

So that is what we did and what we have continued to do throughout the development and refinement of the Mav6 business model. I want to share with you some of the key books and associated ideas that underwrite our approach to driving rapid technology innovation to solve the “wicked” problems in Defense.

The Innovator’s Dilemma

Almost 15-years since it was originally published, Clayton Christensen’s seminal work on disruptive technology innovation continues to be a must-read. Orthogonal (or asymmetric) technology innovation has been used time and again to undermine the dominance of market leaders, and today we’re seeing a similar strategy employed by our military adversaries around the world. At Mav6, we always seek to approach problems from new directions to come up with unexpected solutions.

The Long Tail

Of all the works on our list, this is the one that has had the most impact on my business philosophy. Chis Anderson’s book accurately and succinctly describes the emerging dynamics of technology innovation better than any other (at least that I am aware of). The democratization of the means of production (and distribution) implied with the commoditization of modern information and fabrication technologies has led to the massive differentiation of technology opportunities and threats. A world where bad guys can innovate fundamentally new threats in their garages for less then $10K worth of materials and equipment is a world that the DoD R&D enterprise is not yet optimized to support. At Mav6, we are trying to leverage the same efficiencies to design just-in-time solutions that will help DoD quickly mitigate technology surprise on the battlefields of the future.

Crossing the Chasm 

Geoffrey Moore’s 1991 work is more than just a technology marketing book. It’s a detailed treatment of the technology adoption lifecycle. Moore’s contribution is to understand that developing products for (and marketing to) visionaries – the early technology adopters – is very different than developing products for the rest of the marketplace. Historically, the Defense industry has been driven by the needs of pragmatists – the majority. In DoD terms, this refers to large programs of record. In today’s threat environment, innovation velocity is the key to victory, and the key to innovation velocity lies in developing products that target the needs of early adopters – the canaries in the coal mine who understand the realities on the ground before anyone else. What the big guys still don’t seem to get is that while the economics of early adopters aren’t very attractive, serving this constituency is the primary vector for the penetration of new capabilities and systems to the majority of Defense users. SOF, anyone?

Open Innovation 

No matter how smart your company is, it’s not as smart as the rest of the world. This is the central idea of Henry Chesbrough’s book Open Innovation. As the means of technology innovation have proliferated, the sources of potentially game changing technologies have increased exponentially. No longer do the well resourced R&D labs in government and industry have a monopoly on the ideas that will dominate future markets (and battlefields). Today, technology competitiveness is less about building costly organic infrastructure and more about leveraging the network to align external ideas with internal needs. At Mav6, we are optimizing our processes and capabilities to fully leverage the marketplace of ideas on behalf of DoD requirements.

Little Bets 

The most recent addition to the Mav6 reading list, and my new favorite book. The instability of markets, innovations, operating conditions, etc. dictates an experimental approach to explore and develop new ideas. Rather than betting the farm on a specific course of action that is tied to an uncertain future, Peter Sims identifies a “little bets” paradigm that mitigates risk by taking low-risk actions to help validate new ideas. For DoD, this means investing in and applying a wider range of technology options to discover what works – moving from prognostics to experimentation. It’s worth noting that little bets is not just a development approach. It’s a way of interacting with the world. At Mav6, we emphasize this approach as a cornerstone of our culture, empowering employees to make little bets as part of a heuristic approach to learning and discovery.

Innovating how DoD innovates

DIY Threats: It isn't hard to imagine DIY shops - like the San Francisco Bay area's TechShop (pictured) - springing up in today's asymmetric battlefields and putting sophisticated prototyping tools in the hands of amateur IED-makers.

The proliferation of increasingly sophisticated design, prototyping, and manufacturing technologies has democratized technology innovation for just about everyone –  except for perhaps DoD. Asymmetric improvisation – leveraging the unexpected to disrupt carefully laid plans and create disproportionate outcomes – is the new force multiplier. The linked brief entitled Improvised Everything provides a good overview of this idea.

I have long argued that DoD needs to fundamentally re-think its technology innovation approach with improvised threats in mind.  Everyone knows that decades-long acquisition cycles are a strategic vulnerability, yet painfully little has been done to adapt how DoD sources, develops, procures, and fields new capabilities.  In an age when the commercial marketplace is setting the pace for advanced technology development, the DoD acquisition enterprise must learn to seamlessly leverage external ideas and technology innovations to keep pace with a continuous stream of improvised threats.

The linked article - Could DARPA’s “Crowdsourcing” Solve Military Vehicle Problems - talks about how DARPA is waking up to this idea. But I would argue that the real innovation is less about creating a new light armored vehicle and more about demonstrating the value of a new technology innovation model that will ensure DoD’s long-term competitiveness in an “improvised” threat environment.

Geeks on the ground

The Army, Special Operations community, and other DoD elements have turned to classic anthropological and ethnographic data collection and analysis techniques to map the “human terrain” of the operating environments in Iraq and Afghanistan. This approach, introduced to the Iraq theater by Army Brigadier General H.R. McMaster in 2005-2006 and later championed by General David Petraeus, is credited with having substantially underwritten the suppression of the insurgency in Iraq.

Like most great ideas, this strategy is kind of obvious if you think about it. After all, how can you defeat an insurgency unless you undermine its base of support?And how can you undermine that base unless you first understand (and exploit) the needs and motivations of the indigenous population? It’s all about knowing the operational landscape in detail before acting.

So, why doesn’t DoD acquire technologies the same way?

Ethnographic techniques are an increasingly important part of the R&D portfolio for leading companies like Proctor and Gamble (for more on this see Peter Sims’ book Little Bets). Embedding researchers with members of their target markets enables first-hand observation and eliminates the sorting, sifting, and filtering that robs secondary sources of valuable content – the context-dependent idiosyncrasies where the real innovations are hidden.

With very few exceptions – the Army’s Asymmetric Warfare Ground being one – DoD segregates acquisition from warfighting. The connection, such as it is, that exists between technologists and warfighters is tenuously maintained by combat developers who have responsibility for synthesizing complex operational realities into simple prescriptive requirements that do not – cannot – capture the flashes of insight required for real technology breakthroughs.

The kind of rapid technology innovation demanded by the current threat environment requires an intimate understanding of the problem domain – an understanding that transcends abstracted functional requirements documents. The first step towards fixing DoD acquisition is to lose the middle man and put the geeks on the ground. I am not talking about sticking a couple of scientists in a Division or Brigade TOC mind you. I am talking about making a real investment to deploy technologists into the field so that they can experience first hand the opportunities and challenges of the contemporary battlespace.

The great tennis shoe controversy

My Mav6 co-founder, Major General Buff Blount, USA (Ret.), tells a great story about how 10-years ago the Army undertook an effort to acquire a tennis shoe for soldiers. The Army’s acquisition strategy involved testing a variety of shoes across a range of sports and outdoor activities. Different groups of soldiers were selected as test cases and provided with a pair of candidate shoes. Not surprisingly, the test results showed that no one shoe performed best for all sports.

Hence, the Army set out to build the perfect shoe, a shoe for all seasons (football, baseball, basketball, etc.). After another year of requirements refinement and preliminary design, the Army was forced to conclude that it could no more build the uber-shoe than Nike could – no matter how much money was thrown at the problem. And so, after a couple of years of requirements development, testing, and design, the Army concluded that the best solution was to offer an extra allowance to soldiers so that they could buy their own tennis shoes. It took a little while (and a lot of money) for the acquisition bureaucracy to figure out, but I would say that the Army got it right in the end.

What is the moral of this story? The rapidly evolving operational landscape combined with looming Defense budget pressures require DoD to make smarter acquisition decisions. Before the Pentagon invests a nickel in developing a new technology, the acquisition bureaucracy should be held to an 80% threshold, that is, if a pre-existing industry solution can meet 80% of the Key Performance Parameters, then it should be used. Such an approach will enable DoD to outsource billions of dollars in development costs to the commercial marketplace and speed the flow of critical technology innovations to the battlefield. By leveraging “good enough” commercial technologies, the Pentagon can avoid costly and time consuming investments in areas where the private sector is already setting the pace. Examples include telecommunications, sub-sonic aircraft, wheeled vehicles, clothing systems, and many, many more. Cost savings can then be reinvested in military-specific technologies that the commercial markets can’t support.

But common sense acquisition demands a level of empowerment, oversight, and accountability that is altogether lacking from the current Defense acquisition system. Program Managers should be empowered (and obligated) to frame system requirements within the context of available commercial technologies. The Defense acquisition leadership should exercise its authority to drive a commercial technology agenda. And the acquisition bureaucracy should be held strictly accountable for the “good enough” paradigm. After all, if it’s good enough for Mike, shouldn’t it be good enough for the Army?

COTS: Custom Off the Shelf

It’s past time to fundamentally re-think Defense R&D. The nature of contemporary conflict does not afford the luxury of protracted development timelines. As the innovation cycle for our asymmetric adversaries is measured in weeks and months (not years), DoD should be held to a similar (if not more aggressive) standard. Moreover, the exploding number of innovation vectors along which new threats are manifested make it impossible for DoD to solely underwrite the development of capabilities to address the spectrum of possible contingencies.

What are some obstacles that stand in the way of a new DoD innovation agenda?

1) I would argue that first and foremost the primary obstacle is the Defense acquisition bureaucracy. Bureaucracies exist to distribute risk and by extension accountability. When decisions are made by committee, who in fact owns the problem? Everyone? No one? Once attribution has been thoroughly and completely obscured, the bureaucracy has done its job. The new DoD innovation agenda demands decisiveness – and accountability – without the benefit of universal consensus and personal anonymity.

2) The entire organic DoD R&D apparatus (i.e. the DoD laboratory complex) relies on protracted development timelines to underwrite their existence. Long development timelines = job security. The move to industrial funding in the DoD Research, Development, and Engineering Centers (RDECs) has only exacerbated this dependency. Multi-decade programs of record have become the lifeline for sustaining an increasingly obsolete DoD R&D workforce.

3) The combat developers don’t get it. The “single solution” mindset drives systems to incorporate ever more functionality at the expense of cost, time, and practicality. The over-engineering of military systems creates debilitating complexity that implies a cascade of consequences every time new (and unanticipated) functionality is introduced. And the layers of process that emerge to “manage” these program behemoths effectively block unwanted (which is to say “unplanned”) innovations.

Like our adversaries, DoD must learn to innovate across a wider range of possibilities, making “little bets” through the application of commercially-derived technologies to problems in Defense. Leveraging the larger and better resourced commercial high-tech industry to offset R&D time and cost, DoD can optimize increasingly scarce resources for Defense-specific capabilities, increase the “time to market” for Defense technologies, and pursue a broader reaching innovation agenda.

To this end, the DoD R&D enterprise should become expert in re-purposing – that is – harvesting non-DoD technologies and ruggedizing, customizing, and integrating them for military applications. I refer to this approach as Custom Off The Shelf (CuOTS). The explosion of niche Defense requirements means that few (if any) Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) solutions will satisfy military operational needs out of the box, but COTS components provide a valuable starting point for custom integrated solutions.

By and large, DoD should get out of the R&D business as we know it today and adopt a posture that focuses almost exclusively on looking outside of Defense for “leveragable” technology innovations. Models like the Army Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center’s (AMRDEC) Prototype Integration Facility (PIF), which focuses on the rapid integration and modification of COTS and Government Off the Shelf (GOTS) technologies for military applications, should become the norm for systems ranging from ground vehicles to tennis shoes.

Mechanical fabrication laboratory at the Army's Prototype Integration Facility (PIF)

Principles for thriving in the new Defense economy

Defense Hack: make little bets

So, what can Defense companies do to not just survive but thrive in the new Defense economy? Here’s a hint: it doesn’t involve mobilizing all of your political resources to lobby the Pentagon and Congress for the continuation of legacy programs…

Following are some thoughts on the key attributes that will underwrite competitiveness in the brave new world that is the Defense industry:

1. Less R&D. By my reckoning the future of Defense technology is going to be less about technology development and more about technology application. Technology is too transient. Today’s whiz bang sensor is tomorrow’s doorstop. Moving the technology bar forward requires greater specialization and larger investments than ever before, and the competition is always right around the corner with an incrementally better solution that undermines long-term return on investment. And besides, the contemporary threat environment changes so rapidly that oversubscribing to a forward-looking technology investment strategy is a sure fired recipe for disaster. A better approach is to leverage someone else’s technology investment in new ways to capitalize on opportunities in the marketplace. To this end, long-term value creation in the Defense industry will come from: 1) knowing how to spot the opportunity (however fleeting) and frame the problem and 2) rapidly applying the right tools (whatever the origin) to solve the problem.

2. Tactical agility. Not strategic agility. Tactical agility means structuring operations, investments, and infrastructure to capitalize on unforeseeable opportunities. And the only way that this can be accomplished is when a company assumes an extrinsic view of the marketplace. Today’s Defense market is driven by fast changing tactical realities and not by a static (and insular) strategic calculus. Business success in this environment will be predicated on getting as close to the end-user as possible in order to understand the dynamics of the marketplace. The first to understand the tactical landscape and seize the opportunities wins.

3. Infrastructure neutrality. The economies of scale are becoming less and less relevant to the niche capability needs that represent the growth segment of the Defense market. By extension, the physical infrastructure required to underwrite large scale manufacturing efforts is becoming an underutilized resource. And the costs required to sustain such infrastructure – costs that are passed back to the Government in the form of a company’s indirect rates – represent a significant competitive liability. As the Defense market moves towards “mass specialization,” industry must migrate to an outsourced “just in time” infrastructure model: distributed infrastructure for the diversity of product needs.

4. Innovation velocity. Our asymmetric adversaries are improvising nasty threats in a evolutionary cycle that measures in days and weeks – not years. The Defense industry must learn to meet or exceed this innovation velocity. Companies should look beyond the insular, organic innovation models that served the Defense market of the past and embrace open innovation practices and commercial market efficiencies – just like the bad guys.

5. Open everything. The economics of proprietary are unsustainable in the contemporary Defense marketplace. And this is the case for two reasons: time and money. Companies choose a proprietary development path in order to increase product margins and constrain the Government to a closed loop for system enhancements. Count on the Government to start being much more aggressive in negotiating data rights and demanding open architecture-based designs that will easily accommodate external upgrades. The companies that embrace this idea early – and optimize their business models accordingly – will gain a decisive competitive advantage.

6. Little bets. The Manhattan Project is an anachronism. Gone are the days where the fate of the Western world will rely on the outcome of a single massively resourced experiment. I would argue that this is due in large part to the fact that the world as we know it is a considerably more dynamic and complex place than the one confronted by the Greatest Generation. This diversity increases the risk of making a small number of high cost “bets,” the success of which are dependent on a large number of fuzzy externalities. Businesses in general – and Defense companies in particular – should take heed of this fact and spread resources over a large number of relatively smaller investments. These “little bets” represent opportunities for industry to experiment within a managed risk framework where success or failure is a function of how much is learned and not just financial return on investment. (Note: See Peter Sims’ upcoming book Little Bets for more information on this concept.)

7. Diversity. The Defense industry is an insular place and the barriers to entry are high. But the most important ideas that will shape DoD’s global competitiveness will originate from outside of the Defense industry. Contrasting the employee backgrounds and demographics of Defense companies with those of other high-tech businesses, I am struck by the lack of diversity. Similar people breed similar ideas. The game changing companies in the Defense industry of the future will also be the most diverse in terms of people, ideas, skill sets, and perspectives. Companies interested in disrupting the Defense marketplace need to look beyond the conventional sources of human and intellectual capital.

8. Differentiation. The Defense industry is unique in its lack of internal differentiation. I can think of no other technology-driven industry where offering and brand differentiation are so minimal. And the Defense acquisition bureaucracy loves it: if Lockheed can’t do it, Northrop or one of the other usual suspects can step in. What I find most interesting is the seeming complicity that the market leaders have had in their own commoditization. This state of affairs may have something to do with the perverted nature of the Defense market, where those with the buying power – the acquisition corps – are not the true customers. One of the interesting dynamics that has begun unfold in recent years is the increasing influence of the tactical end-user in acquisition decision-making. As the Defense market starts to take on the characteristics of a free market, differentiation starts to matter.

9. Cost. Trite but true. The austerity trend in Defense spending will make cost an increasingly important factor in acquisition decision making. Companies that can rapidly re-structure with an eye towards shedding underutilized capacity and reducing overhead rates will be in the best position to compete for contracts – even the Major Defense Acquisition Program contracts where price has not historically been among the most important bid evaluation criteria.

Defense acquisition: insight vs. oversight

Conventional Defense acquisition programs are laden with oversight. The New Oxford American Dictionary describes ‘oversight’ as: the action of overseeing something. Not very helpful. In my experience, acquisition oversight runs the gamut from the fairly innocuous to the nearly debilitating. Moreover, it is not about reducing risk so much as it is about characterizing risk in an actuarial-like fashion. As internal or external conditions become more uncertain, more oversight is generally in the offing, which in turn leads to extended program costs, schedules, etc.

At its most fundamental level, oversight implies a certain separateness between the entity doing the overseeing and the entity being overseen; a subject-object relationship if you will. This dynamic sort of begs the question: in an age of increasing operational uncertainty, is more acquisition oversight really the answer?

I would strenuously argue that it is not. Think about it in these terms:

  • Increased operational uncertainty requires better, cheaper, and faster solutions;
  • Increased uncertainty often implies increased oversight;
  • Increased oversight drives cost and schedule; and
  • So much for better, cheaper, and faster solutions.

To the extent that the current Government-industry dynamic fails to underwrite the acquisition needs of the contemporary operating environment, a new dynamic is called for – one that is based more on cooperative ‘insight’ as opposed to transactional ‘oversight’. With proper insight, acquisition organizations are in a better position to understand the opportunities and challenges of individual programs and to proactively engage with prime contractors in the characterization and mitigation of risk. Most importantly, the ‘insight’ paradigm implies a major cultural shift where Government and industry partner to produce new capabilities.