The “Valley of Death” refers to a common phase in the technology development process in which a technology fails to transition from a good idea into a product with widespread adoption. Within the Department of Defense, this common pitfall can be a roadblock to getting advanced new technologies onto the battlefield where warfighters need them — and during this decisive decade, that’s a major issue.
The National Reconnaissance Office’s Advanced Systems and Technology Directorate, led by Dr. Aaron Weiner, is working to bridge the valley of death by reimagining how it partners with industry and engages technology companies.
In an exclusive video interview with Executive Mosaic, Dr. Weiner explained how his directorate is moving away from the traditional “tech push” strategy — in which the agency pushes new, innovative technologies onto its customers — and toward a “tech pull” approach.
“Where we are with our model for transition is tech pull,” Dr. Weiner told Executive Mosaic’s Summer Myatt. “The way we do that is we partner with our acquisition directorates that are building the nation’s ears, eyes, the communication infrastructure and ground systems to produce our collection architecture and we live with them.”
“We have an arm of the agency that lives within each of those groups, and they really understand the culture, the requirements, the systems they’re building. They’re able to assess the gaps that they have that can be met with new technology needs or just innovations, new concepts or ideas on how to use what we already have or repurpose them to get a better outcome,” Dr. Weiner said.
Hear more insights from Dr. Weiner — watch his full video interview here.
The NRO is preparing to host its 2023 Tech Forum from May 31 to June 2, and the event will focus on the agency’s “hard problems.” The last day of the Tech Forum will be hosted at NRO’s off-campus unclassified environment, CASTLE. Register here for the unclassified Tech Forum, and register here for the June 2 Innovation Through Partnership Open House.