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Air University focuses on the Rapid Acquisition Initiative

Air University focuses on the Rapid Acquisition Initiative

Students from the Better, Faster, Cheaper? Myth and Reality of Rapid Acquisition, an Air University class elective, pose for a photo in front of a stature commemorating Gen. Bernard Schriever, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif.(Courtesy Photo)


As the fall semester comes to an end, Air University wraps up its latest course, which was developed in response to higher Air Force leadership’s push for the Rapid Acquisition Initiative.

Earlier this month, the Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson came before the Senate Armed Services Committee to discuss acquisition authorities within the Air Force and the other services.

According to Lt. Col. Benjamin Forest, Air Command and Staff College instructor, the Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein requested the help from AU to find ways to streamline the Air Force’s acquisition programs.

The development and implantation of the, The “Better, Faster, Cheaper? Myth and Reality of Rapid Acquisition,” course elective is AU’s response.

The goal of the course is to educate its students of rapid acquisition authorities and principles and how to take risks and ultimately speed up the process while staying within regulations.

“At the end of the day, acquisition is about getting the warfighters what they need to accomplish the mission. If we can do that in a time sensitive matter to get what they need, when they need it, that’s a victory for the acquisition core and ultimately a victory for the operators and warfighters,” said Forest.

During the course, acquisition personal from organizations such as Joint Rapid Acquisition Cell, Big Safari, AFWerX, SOCOM/GHOST, DIUX, NRO, SMC and Space X, come and discuss what they are doing to take risks and speed things up.

According to the course officials, they found each organization expressed the same common themes:

  • Small teams comprised of the right people,

  • Leaders with authority and accountability,

  • A culture that is willing to take risks

  • Leveraging authorities that are already in practice

By the end of the course, students must use the information they learned and put together a case study influenced by real-world acquisition problems.

After grading, a select few of these case studies are scheduled to be submitted to the Air Force Institute of Technology, that way the course material can be disseminated to a larger demographic.

Col. Daniel Runyon, Air War College acquisition and sustainment chair, said the goal is education, but they have been stressing to the students the need to think about real-world issues and how they can apply what they’re learning to big Air Force programs.

By educating both the higher and lower levels of leadership, the goal is to eventually develop a culture that is not afraid to take risks.

“With some courage and knowledge, I think we can move faster, and I really do hope our students go out and change the world,” said Runyon.