The Air Force’s assistant secretary for acquisition & technology, Will Roper, has taken a series of steps to shore up the defense industry since he established a COVID-19 task force within the service’s acquisition community on March 25. Perhaps the most important such measure was to accelerate payments to industry for work in progress, so that contractors (particularly those in the lower tiers of the supply chain) would not be starved for cash. But the current financial crisis may generate a much bigger audience in Washington for ideas Dr. Roper has advanced about spurring innovation. After the blow from coronavirus, it’s going to take more than business-as-usual to keep American industry competitive with a rising China. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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