Mr. Alan Shaffer’s seminar provided key insights into personal experiences throughout his career, both in the Air Force and in public service. Furthermore, Mr. Shaffer spoke and reflected on lessons and highlights acquired from more than a decade of serving in senior roles in the Pentagon. Attendees were provided a glimpse into his Pentagon career as a leader in research and engineering, including assignments as the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. In this position, Mr. Shaffer was responsible for formulating, planning and reviewing the DoD Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E) programs, plans, strategy, priorities and execution of the DoD RDT&E budget totaling roughly $25 billion per year.

Mr. Shaffer discussed the acquisition and technology strategies employed at the DoD. He addressed the need for project managers to own the technological baseline, with an emphasis on technical expertise and experience. While the DoD operates on very complex statutory processes, Mr. Shaffer spoke to the Department’s ability to continue to be an innovating force. The DoD works in tandem with commercial technologies and Congress as partners in the technology innovation process. Mr. Shaffer posed his ideas for fueling agile innovation in the DoD through the development of open systems that work with industry, creating new markets for upgrades, and providing opportunities for creativity across all systems. Mr. Shaffer engaged the younger generation of attendees and reflected on the most important lessons from his career.

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The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies is an independent, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit public policy research institute. The Institute identifies and aggressively shepherds discussion on key science and technology issues facing our society. From these discussions and forums, we develop meaningful science and technology policy options and ensure their implementation at the intersection of business and government.

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