Brig. Gen. Anthony Potts, Deputy Commanding General of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), delivered remarks to future Army acquisition officers from the Naval Postgraduate School’s contract management and program management programs, Oct. 17, 2017.
Potts focused his discussion on key issues in the acquisition community, such as emerging technology and the role of industry, a new Army modernization initiative, and how best to navigate budget constraints. Graduate School of Business and Public Policy Senior Lecturer John Dillard, who brought Potts onto campus, says the discussion provided these officers with candid insights on what they can expect in their future careers.
“A lot of students we have here come right from the warfighting ranks, so it’s always good to have someone who is current, relevant and in the business right now to come on campus, and be so frank and candid with our students,” said Dillard. “Every one of these officers will be utilized right after graduation, with some graduating as early as December. Being able to get the perspective on what it means to be an acquisition officer and what lies ahead is hugely beneficial to them.”
Potts offered his perspective on the ability of innovation and technology to both enable our own forces, but to also disable the enemy’s ... A key component to the pursuit of new ideas.
“Amongst the most important things Potts spoke about was the difference between innovative technologies and disruptive technologies,” said Dillard. “If you make the enemy do something different using technology, then you’ve disrupted them, and this can be applied to a lot of what we are working on now.
“Distinguishing what comes out of these labs can sometimes contribute to an innovative, leap-ahead to the current thing that you are doing, such as extend the range of a missile or improve a helicopter, but to do something more disruptive than that, that’s valuable,” Dillard continued.
Potts described RDECOM as the Army’s provider of innovative research, development and engineering to produce capabilities that help the service address the complexities of the current and future operating environment. But the discussion also provided the students with a broader perspective as well, Dillard says.
“What makes this visit so important is that he is up in the stratosphere when it comes to experience in this subject, and some of these students may end up in the Pentagon working with him at some point,” said Dillard. “We often say that NPS does three things – it builds critical thinking, enhances decision making abilities and grows a student’s professional networks. Visits like these give first and accounts that do all three, all from someone that is still in uniform.”