Performing Collaborative Research with Nontraditional Military Suppliers

by Kenneth Horn, Elliot Axelband, Ike Chang, Paul S. Steinberg, Carolyn Wong, Howell Yee

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Abstract

This report discusses what the Army needs to do to attract more nontraditional military suppliers (NTMSs) and what specific Army organizations and associated technologies are best suited for a pilot program designed to attract NTMSs. We find that there are significant opportunities for Army collaborations with NTMSs, but that the Army has had limited success attracting them using such traditional options as contracts, CRDAs, and PLAs. To attract NTMSs, the Army must eliminate many cumbersome regulations — something that can be accomplished using Cooperative Agreements and Other Transactions — but must also understand and identify the relevance of the Army's research in terms of the commercial markets. The Army can do three things to significantly improve its chances of successful collaborations with NTMSs: align technology objectives, produce business plans, and plan for success. Finally, an assessment shows five promising areas for a pilot to attract NTMSs — Natick RDEC (food, clothing, or biotechnology); STRICOM (advanced simulators); DISC4 (expert systems); NAC (vehicle technologies); and ARL (information warfare).

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