Pentagon enlists Defense Science Board in industrial base study

By Marjorie Censer / January 17, 2018

The Pentagon's top acquisition official is seeking the help of the Defense Science Board as the Defense Department undertakes a new study of the defense industrial base.

The study was mandated by an executive order issued by President Trump in July. Due in mid-April, the assessment is intended to provide the president with recommendations to strengthen the defense industrial base.

In a Dec. 22 memo to the DSB's chairman, DOD acquisition czar Ellen Lord writes that the "industrial base has undergone fundamental change since the end of the Cold War, resulting in substantial shrinkage in the size and resilience of the Department of Defense (DoD) industrial supply chain.

"Many of the underlying technologies that create new defense capabilities (e.g., material sciences, information technology, artificial intelligence, data sciences) are developing rapidly -- often more rapidly than the acquisition process and its associated manufacturing base and supply chain can respond," she continues.

In the terms of reference memo, Lord calls on the DSB to provide "subject-matter expertise" to the working groups handling the study.

This expertise may include "providing insights into current and anticipated science and technology developments."

"The goal of engaging the DSB task force is to support the Office of Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy in their work to develop findings and recommendations for a robust, secure, resilient, and innovative industrial base that meets national security requirements," Lord writes.

She names Eric Evans and William Schneider as co-chairmen of the study, adding that Brennan Grignon will serve as executive secretary. Edward Gliot is named DSB Secretariat representative.