The defense bill contains fewer provisions related to research, technology, and entrepreneurship than initially proposed

The National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2024, signed in late December, ultimately contained fewer provisions related to research, technology, and entrepreneurship than the draft versions of the legislation initially proposed. Nonetheless, the final bill made some changes that could stabilize some of the department’s innovation activities in recent years and add some flexibility for companies and organizations engaging in technology transfer activities with defense institutions. Specifically, four sections worth noting in the FY 2024 NDAA are the following:

Manufacturing conference set for Sept. 12-14

The inaugural Manufacturing Momentum Summit is an opportunity for federal, state, regional, and local leaders to share their efforts to prepare the workforce required for the advanced defense manufacturing supply chain. Held in conjunction with several partners, including the DoD Manufacturing Technology Program, the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness, and the American Manufacturing Communities Collaborative, the Summit will be held from September 12 - 14, 2023, in Arlington, VA. Featured topics include a focus on AI’s impact on the manufacturing workforce, practical strategies for engaging employers, and an overview of the 2024 Defense budget. The program can be found here.

New National Defense Strategy stresses investing in emerging technologies

The 2022 National Defense Strategy, released last week, emphasizes the need to accelerate the Pentagon’s capacity for buying and deploying emerging technologies. Technology sectors called out as targets include advanced materials, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, clean energy, directed energy, hypersonics, microelectronics, quantum science and space. The report indicates that the Department of Defense (DOD) is considering R&D funding, ecosystem support and adapting civilian technologies among the tools it will use to pursue emerging tech.

Congress preps defense bill with new R&D, innovation support

This week, Congress reached an agreement on the FY 2022 defense authorization bill (i.e. “NDAA”). The legislation includes support for expanding the Defense Innovation Unit’s (DIU) reach, research at minority-serving institutions, and commercialization pilots, as well as a $7 billion increase in research funding. While the NDAA does not provide appropriations, the bill is a strong signal for where the FY 2022 appropriations are likely to land. Procedurally, the House passed the NDAA this week, and the Senate is expected to pass the bill without amendments. Highlights from innovation provisions in the FY 2022 NDAA follow.

Competition for top talent in cutting edge industries highlights need for revamped hiring practices

In a field once dominated by government agencies and incumbent organizations, the aerospace and defense (A&D) industry has experienced a rapid landscape change over the past decade as private companies and high-profile organizations launch commercial space programs and advance novel exploration and communications projects. These private companies present new competition to the traditional A&D industry. Increasingly, top talent in the United States has turned away from agencies like NASA and the Department of Defense and opted for what they perceive as more innovative and rewarding work at private companies, according to a new report from McKinsey. The report intends to help the traditional A&D industry attract and retain the premier talent that is often lost to private companies.

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