Cooperation Needed on Commercial Technology Acquisition

February 13, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman
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Government and industry must work together to realize utmost benefits.

Buying commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technology offers great advantages for both government and industry, but both parties could benefit from greater cooperation in this realm. This would help expand COTS into new areas, with resultant savings in cost and time to deployment.

Industry experts on the Thursday morning keynote panel at West 2014 in San Diego discussed how the Defense Department and industry need to apply greater effort at COTS implementation. Ellen Lord, president and chief executive officer, Textron Systems Corporation, said that greater use of COTS will help the Defense Department keep pace with commercial product introductions. She emphasized the reuse of systems as one way of improving economies and efficiencies.

One area that could benefit is unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). She noted that the point of failure for many UAVs is an unreliable power plant. Government should partner with industry in investing in good engines for UAVs, she stated.

Lord also called for more cooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs). With a CRADA in place, both government and industry have a stake in the game, she pointed out.

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