Skip to main content

You are here

Submission #51

Submission information
Submitted by Mark Karkenny
Thu, 09/27/2018 - 3:31pm

Featured Innovation: Acquisition in the Digital Age

Acquisition in the Digital Age (AiDA) ( was developed by the MITRE Corporation to demonstrate how agencies can leverage digital strategies and tools to navigate the complex acquisition enterprise with greater success. AiDA won the “Game Changer” award, at ACT-IAC’s Igniting Innovation 2018 Conference and Awards, for the “disruptive innovation that creates a new market, significantly impacts an existing one, or results in a major breakthrough on a longstanding problem.” 

The acquisition workforce struggles to navigate the complex acquisition environment. Many lack sufficient experience, adequate tools, or clear guidance to execute their programs. The vast amount of policies, guidance, templates, reports, and related information are locked in static PDFs, dispersed across many outdated websites and tools, and are difficult to use. Agencies struggle to tailor their roles, processes, and culture to adopt Agile practices in their acquisition environment. Training and guidance is generic for the commercial environment or segmented to a few tactical activities.

AiDA features a tailored acquisition model for programs to apply Agile practices across the acquisition lifecycle. The model tailors the processes, reviews, and documents for that type of acquisition and offers guidance and reference each step of the way. These tailored models can be developed for each major type of acquisition to serve as the “Google Maps for Acquisition”. AiDA digitized major acquisition policies to be more interactive, and curated hundreds of key policies, guides, reports, and resources for the acquisition workforce.

Launched in March of 2017, AiDA is being used by hundreds of acquisition professionals across federal agencies. The Defense Acquisition University has integrated AiDA into its suite of acquisition tools; and the content in AiDA provides the foundation for DAU's growing Agile curriculum. The Senate and House Armed Services Committees have seen demos of AiDA; and as a result, included Section 868 in the FY18 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to iterate on AiDA by prototyping projects to digitize defense acquisition regulations and guidance and empower tailoring of acquisition processes.

Agency executives can use a tool like AiDA to improve the speed and agility of their acquisition system, modernize outdated legacy systems, and improve agency operations. They can proactively tailor their acquisition processes to the major types of acquisitions to provide their acquisition workforce a streamlined path for faster deliveries. As a resource that is currently available online, the tailored models can be continuously updated to ensure the laws, policies, and guidance are always up-to-date. As a next step, Agencies can develop tailored models for other common types of products and services, such as business systems/ERPs, and more.

AiDA transforms federal acquisitions because it presents a different way of approaching and thinking about acquisition. The primary role of the AiDA platform as that of a technology demonstrator that will inspire federal agencies to rethink the way they procure products and services. The primary focus of AiDA is to empower the practitioner in a program office to be more effective and efficient in their job to deliver innovative solutions faster.