Fail More, Require Less

Requirements for new technology need to be grounded in experiment-driven reality instead of intuition, said Maj. Gen. Robert McMurry, the boss at the Air Force Research Laboratory. As it stands, “We drive requirements higher than we need to … This is what we think we need to have,” he said at ASC16. If USAF anchors requirements in experimentation, it starts with a “more achievable” baseline and ensures higher success rates. This issue of requirements, coupled with a hypercompetitive environment in contracting and a culture that shuns mistakes at every cost, is hurting the final deliveries and expenses of new technologies, said McMurry, who took over at AFRL four months ago. The most important priority for a program, McMurry said, is its success.