Executive Mosaic is pleased to honor Andrew Hunter, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics, with his first-ever Wash100 Award for his remarkable leadership in driving research, development and acquisition activities within the service branch.
The coveted Wash100 Award reached its incredible 10th anniversary this year as it once again hand-picked the top 100 most notable executives in the vast government contracting industry. While contenders’ achievements were weighed during the award’s intense selection process, Hunter’s powerful contributions to the field stood out and secured the Wash100 newcomer a spot in the ranks.
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While awaiting confirmation for his current role, Hunter participated in an interview with the National Contract Management Association and discussed the importance of flexibility in the contracting process to ensure that the federal government is able to keep up with changes in the technology landscape.
“One of the fundamental challenges is that technology moves so quickly that you can’t necessarily sit down and plan out exactly what capabilities you’ll need to have in your system over the department’s 10- to 20-year timeframe,” said Hunter.
“In the world of software and software-intensive systems, you might have a pretty good vision for your next six months or your next year. But after that, the crystal ball gets a little foggy,” he added.
Since his confirmation in February 2022, Hunter has worked tirelessly to invest in Air Force technology through a multitude of research initiatives and contract awards.
Shortly after Hunter assumed his new responsibilities, the Air Force Research Laboratory entered a cooperative research and development agreement with CrowdAI to experiment with using a computer vision deep learning platform in Department of Defense space data transmission activities.
One other major progress was made in December 2022. The Air Force and partner Northrop Grumman showcased the new B-21 Raider, a long-range, highly survivable, penetrating strike stealth bomber that the military branch expects to serve as the foundation for its future bomber fleet.
While the bomber was still in production, Hunter said that the aircraft is a “powerful example” of America’s history of fielding impressive military technology through an “innovative, adaptable and efficient defense industrial base.”
In another triumphant development, the service branch and collaborators Lockheed Martin, Aerojet Rocketdyne and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency successfully tested the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept, which was able to reach speeds higher than Mach 5 and altitudes of over 65,000 feet.
Notably, the Air Force has issued a significant number of contracts for new technologies, including a $900 million multiple-award, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract vehicle under which 92 companies will work to create novel approaches to further the development of multidomain systems.
The Air Force also awarded Leidos a contract to support the research and development of electro-optic sensitive defensive electronic warfare by designing and demonstrating prototype advanced integrated threat warning systems and improving multi-spectral test and developmental risk minimization strategies to progress research and development and procurement goals.
Another contract was awarded to Battelle, under which the company is conducting research and development work to aid the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Microelectronics Security and Embedded System Assurance initiative.
Positioning itself to expand its research and development initiatives, the service branch recently began the transformation of its AFWERX innovation unit with the establishment of five new priorities. These new focus areas are intended to ensure the successful continuation of its mission to connect the Air Force with outside developers to bring cutting-edge technologies to the service branch.
With Hunter among officials at the helm, the Air Force is well-equipped to carry its commendable work to bolster its technology in support of U.S. missions into the future.
Executive Mosaic thanks and congratulates Andrew Hunter and the Air Force team for their 2023 Wash100 Award win. Don’t miss your chance to cast a vote for Andrew Hunter in the Wash100 popular vote contest!
On March 23, the Potomac Officers Club will hold its 9th Annual Defense R&D Summit at the Falls Church Marriott Fairview Park. The event will connect numerous defense experts to consider current defense research and development priorities. To learn more and register to attend, please visit the Potomac Officers Club events page.