Magazine article National Defense

Brett Lambert: Pentagon Buying Rules Stifle Innovation, Drive Up Costs

Magazine article National Defense

Brett Lambert: Pentagon Buying Rules Stifle Innovation, Drive Up Costs

Article excerpt

The U.S. military is saddled with aging technology and is in dire need of modernizing. But the Pentagon's inability to tap into the innovation of commercial markets is a huge impediment that is not only inhibiting technological progress but is also adding undue cost, said the Defense Department's director of industrial policy.

"We must do more to encourage commercial firms that are in the leading edge of technology to supply products to the Defense Department. ... We have to break down the barriers," said Brett Lambert, who oversees industrial policy at the office of the undersecretary of defense for acquisition.

When the Pentagon does manage to recruit vendors from the commercial sector, it ends up draining their innovative spirit by turning them into "defense contractors," Lambert said. In the venture capital world, promising technologies sometimes perish in what is known as the "Valley of Death"--the perilous transition between invention and the marketplace. …

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