Making Horseback Riding and the Like Standard

Pentagon acquisition chief Ash Carter tasked the Defense Science Board with helping to “enhance adaptability” of the US military. In his April 12 tasking letter, Carter noted successful individual adaptation, like airmen on horseback calling in bomber strikes in the early days of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, but he said such exploits “do not yet reflect widespread ability of US forces to deftly transition from one challenge to the next.” He continued, “While we should sustain and encourage such individual innovation, we need to examine what the DOD can do more broadly to enhance both the degree and the cycle time of adaptation.” Carter sees this as an “agenda-setting function” that could yield “actionable recommendations” in areas such as recruiting for emerging technologies, assessing new training techniques, adapting intelligence to meet changing mission needs, and tailoring acquisition processes to meet new challenges.