The General Accountability Office’s recently issued report, DOD RAPID INNOVATION PROGRAM Some Technologies Have Transitioned to Military Users, but Steps Can Be Taken to Improve Program Metrics and Outcomes, highlights the long-standing challenges facing the Department of Defense in ensuring that "high value technologies are mature and available for military users" and recommends improvements to DOD’s practices and procedures. DOD has a four-year-old program – the Rapid Innovation Program or RIP – designed to identify and transition innovative technologies to support warfighting capabilities. GAO recognizes that while this program has enjoyed some success, far too few projects have been completed and there are doubts as to whether RIP is helping the military services. RIP is one of several DOD programs designed to facilitate and accelerate the development and use of cutting-edge technologies for our military.
DOD officials estimate that 50 percent of all funded projects have future funding commitments from military users, the best measure of the likelihood they will transition the technologies from such projects. "GAO found that several factors can contribute to transition success of RIP projects, such as having military user commitment and mature technology when projects are started. However, DOD has not made an effort to understand how these factors may be contributing to differences in transition success from defense components with a higher rate of transition."
GAO reviewed the RIP program as directed by Congress. RIP is scheduled to expire at the end of fiscal 2015 unless Congress reauthorizes it.
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