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Will Roper on USAF ‘Digital Century Series’ Acquisition Concept

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Will Roper
Will Roper US Air Force

Will Roper, assistant secretary for acquisition, technology and logistics at the U.S. Air Force and a 2020 Wash100 Award winner, said the service is expected to provide in the next few weeks new information on the “Digital Century Series” concept for aircraft procurement, National Defense reported Tuesday.

The concept seeks to speed up future aircraft development through the adoption of advanced software development processes, open systems architecture, digital engineering and other techniques.

“It's a completely outside-the-box-idea in this century, but not too uncommon when the Air Force was first created [in the mid-20th century] that you could have continual competition for small lots of airplanes,” Roper told reporters Tuesday during a teleconference.

He said the Air Force is about three weeks out from coming up with a business case to prove the viability of the concept.

“We brought in some independent experts to help check our assumptions, check our map," he said. “We've done the best job we can with our own data, comparing and contrasting.”

Roper also discussed the digital thread concept as a key element of the service’s Digital Century Series initiative.