“You Have To Be Willing To Bleed A Little Bit”: Roper On Innovation

Breaking Defense: “It’s like running through a briar patch naked,” Will Roper said of trying to bring start-up companies into the service’s contracting model to keep apace of commercial innovation. “You have to be willing to bleed a little bit,” Roper, the Air Force’s top acquisition official told me in an interview last Thursday, after watching 10 newborn companies pitch their products to Air Force officials and venture capitalists.

“The bottom line is that no one has taken a look at the acquisition system to make it friendly to the start-up world,” Roper told me. This is what he is trying to change.

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