About

Photo: US Navy/Yuki Klein

The Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security and its Forward Defense practice‘s Commission on Defense Innovation Adoption: Improving DoD Engagement with New Companies and Innovators contends that now is the time to reform the defense innovation ecosystem.

Co-chaired by 27th US Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper and 23rd US Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James and comprised of a distinguished group of Commissioners, the Commission will develop recommendations to better enable the Department of Defense (DoD) to rapidly absorb commercial technologies.

The Commission will consider how DoD officials can recalibrate the department’s risk tolerance, realign relevant acquisition and budgetary processes, and make big bets on novel commercial and dual-use technologies critical for the future of US security and defense.

This Atlantic Council Commission will help spur a new approach to defense innovation. Harnessing emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, directed energy, synthetic environments, and robotics will be imperative to deterring and, if necessary, prevailing in future wars with China and Russia, but existing defense acquisition and budgetary processes are insufficient for doing so. Outdated processes and rigid bureaucratic barriers are severely impeding DoD’s ability to rapidly embrace technological innovations. And while the Third Offset Strategy spurred numerous initiatives, and industry leaders are paving the way for high tech warfare, the arduous process for partnering with DoD dis-incentivizes innovative firms from making big bets on defense capabilities.

Related content

Engage with Forward Defense as we put forth a roadmap for resolving critically important defense innovation adoption problems.

Meet the Commissioners

The Commission’s two co-chairs are joined by a team of Commissioners and Industry Commissioners comprised of former government and current industry executives.

Commission co-chairs

Commissioners

Industry commissioners

Report authors

Project team

Foundational Sponsor

Improbable U.S. Defense & National Security

Sponsors

Accrete AI
Advanced Concepts and Technologies International, LLC
Applied Intuition
Booz Allen Hamilton
Palantir
Peraton
Primer AI
Rebellion Defense
Schmidt Futures
Snowpoint Ventures

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Forward Defense

Forward Defense, housed within the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, shapes the debate around the greatest military challenges facing the United States and its allies, and creates forward-looking assessments of the trends, technologies, and concepts that will define the future of warfare.