The Department of Defense announced last week the creation of the Undersecretary for Research and Engineering to help speed the development of cutting edge technologies and embrace an element of risk so that caution doesn’t hold back the creation of promising new solutions.  “In order to deliver new and needed capability to the warfighter, USD(R&E) will take risks while pushing the technology ‘envelope,’ testing and experimenting and being willing and allowed to fail when appropriate,” a Pentagon report stated.  At the same time, the agency is creating a new Undersecretary for Acquisition and Sustainment.  This person’s role will be to encourage the DOD acquisition community to match the boldness of the research side by using streamlined acquisition methods to get the new technology into the hands of warfighters more quickly.  The new positions are the expected outcome of the planned break-up of the current office of Acquisition Technology and Logistics.  The timing and urgency of the changes indicate that DOD leaders want to move out quickly.  This is potentially great news for contractors who work with DOD on the development of new technologies.