Execution Flexibility and Bridging the Valley of Death: An Acquisition Next Report


While the platform-based defense budgeting system works well for large capital investments, many other capital investments such as the Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) concept require modular, cross-cutting technologies that do not fit well into program stovepipes. Even when all stakeholders are aligned, there are precious few opportunities to get funding within the traditional resource allocation process. This creates a proverbial “valley of death” that frustrates everyone involved. What types of strategies can inject the execution flexibility necessary to bridge this valley of death and get capabilities in the hands of warfighters?

To bridge the "valley of death," the Center's latest report finds that DoD does not need new laws and special authorities. This report reviews sources of execution flexibility including innovation funds, program element consolidation, reprogramming, and expired funds. It makes recommendations based on insights from discussions with stakeholders in DoD, industry, and the Hill.

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Execution Flexibility and Bridging the Valley of Death
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The Challenges

1. The strategic narrative
2. What do you mean, “Valley of Death?”
3. The decline of execution flexibility
4. The conversation we’re hearing

Potential Sources of Executive Flexibility

1. Innovation funds
2. Program element consolidation
3. Reprogramming
4. Expired funds


1. “Core” innovation funds
2. “Secondary” innovation funds
3. Non-program of record prototype funds
4. SBIR/STTR funds 
5. Reprogramming Trends