Gain and Maintain Acquisitions Superiority: Why the USAF Needs to Deliver Faster, Fail Smarter, and Innovate Better

Abstract: The US’s near-peer competitors are closing capabilities gaps by rapidly acquiring new technologies deliberately designed to challenge the US Air Force’s air superiority. One main reason for this “capabilities closure” is the slow and risk-averse nature of the Department of Defense’s acquisitions process. But even within the limitations of the DoD’s system, tThe USAF can increase the effectiveness of its acquisitions by prioritizing speed of delivery, accepting and managing the increased risk of failure, and incorporating innovative ideas as core acquisitions priorities. Aggressively adopting these three focus areas may help the USAF to retain – or even expand – its comparative military advantage against near-peer competitors.

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