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GAO: DoD Should Apply Commercial Practices in Tech Development

The Government Accountability Office has recommended that the Defense Department form a science and technology management framework that will incorporate best practices from industry.

GAO made the recommendation after it reviewed technology development practices of Amazon, IBM, SiemensDow Chemical, Honeywell, General Motors, Qualcomm  and Valvoline, the agency said Thursday.

The agency found that all eight companies separate their technology investments into ‘incremental’ and ‘disruptive’ portfolios to promote existing products in the short term and explore new technologies for long-term competitiveness.

GAO noted some DoD practices reflect those of the firms reviewed and the department’s capacity to adopt industry methods is limited by budget policies and culture.

The congressional watchdog also found that DoD labs struggle to balance incremental and disruptive development activities because the department does not evaluate the mix of its investments in these innovation areas.

Congress required DoD to create an undersecretary of defense for research and engineering by February 2018 to lead innovation policy development.

GAO said the position offers an opportunity to create policies that will encourage adoption of industry practices at the department.

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