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From the days of biplanes and open cockpits, the air forces of the United States have relied on the mastery of technology. From design to operation, a project can stretch to 20 years and more, with continuous increases in cost. Much of the delay and cost growth afflicting modern United States Air Force (USAF) programs is rooted in the incorporation of advanced technology into major systems acquisition.

Leaders in the Air Force responsible for science and technology and acquisition are trying to determine the optimal way to utilize existing policies, processes, and resources to properly document and execute pre-program of record technology development efforts, including opportunities to facilitate the rapid acquisition of revolutionary capabilities and the more deliberate acquisition of evolutionary capabilities.

Evaluation of U.S. Air Force Preacquisition Technology Development responds to this need with an examination of the current state of Air Force technology development and the environment in which technology is acquired. The book considers best practices from both government and industry to distill appropriate recommendations that can be implemented within the USAF.
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Additional Information

Publisher
National Academies Press
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Published on
Mar 1, 2011
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Pages
154
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ISBN
9780309209977
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Military / Weapons
Political Science / Security (National & International)
Technology & Engineering / Military Science
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This content is DRM free.
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“The bard of biological weapons captures the drama of the front lines.”—Richard Danzig, former secretary of the navy

The first major bioterror event in the United States-the anthrax attacks in October 2001-was a clarion call for scientists who work with “hot” agents to find ways of protecting civilian populations against biological weapons. In The Demon in the Freezer, his first nonfiction book since The Hot Zone, a #1 New York Times bestseller, Richard Preston takes us into the heart of Usamriid, the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland, once the headquarters of the U.S. biological weapons program and now the epicenter of national biodefense.

Peter Jahrling, the top scientist at Usamriid, a wry virologist who cut his teeth on Ebola, one of the world’s most lethal emerging viruses, has ORCON security clearance that gives him access to top secret information on bioweapons. His most urgent priority is to develop a drug that will take on smallpox-and win. Eradicated from the planet in 1979 in one of the great triumphs of modern science, the smallpox virus now resides, officially, in only two high-security freezers-at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta and in Siberia, at a Russian virology institute called Vector. But the demon in the freezer has been set loose. It is almost certain that illegal stocks are in the possession of hostile states, including Iraq and North Korea. Jahrling is haunted by the thought that biologists in secret labs are using genetic engineering to create a new superpox virus, a smallpox resistant to all vaccines.

Usamriid went into a state of Delta Alert on September 11 and activated its emergency response teams when the first anthrax letters were opened in New York and Washington, D.C. Preston reports, in unprecedented detail, on the government’ s response to the attacks and takes us into the ongoing FBI investigation. His story is based on interviews with top-level FBI agents and with Dr. Steven Hatfill.

Jahrling is leading a team of scientists doing controversial experiments with live smallpox virus at CDC. Preston takes us into the lab where Jahrling is reawakening smallpox and explains, with cool and devastating precision, what may be at stake if his last bold experiment fails.
The U.S. Air Force has experienced many acquisition program failures - cost overruns, schedule delays, system performance problems, and sustainability concerns - over program lifetimes. A key contributing factor is the lack of sufficient technical knowledge within the Air Force concerning the systems being acquired to ensure success.

To examine this issue, the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition requested that the Air Force Studies Board of the National Research Council undertake a workshop to identify the essential elements of the technical baseline - data and information to establish, trade-off, verify, change, accept, and sustain functional capabilities, design characteristics, affordability, schedule, and quantified performance parameters at the chosen level of the system hierarchy - that would benefit from realignment under Air Force or government ownership, and the value to the Air Force of regaining ownership under its design capture process of the future. Over the course of three workshops from November 2014 through January 2015, presenters and participants identified the barriers that must be addressed for the Air Force to regain technical baseline control to include workforce, policy and process, funding, culture, contracts, and other factors and provided a terms of reference for a possible follow-on study to explore the issues and make recommendations required to implement and institutionalize the technical baseline concept. Owning the Technical Baseline for Acquisition Programs in the U.S. Air Force summarizes the presentations and discussion of the three workshops.

The ability of the United States Air Force (USAF) to keep its aircraft operating at an acceptable operational tempo, in wartime and in peacetime, has been important to the Air Force since its inception. This is a much larger issue for the Air Force today, having effectively been at war for 20 years, with its aircraft becoming increasingly more expensive to operate and maintain and with military budgets certain to further decrease. The enormously complex Air Force weapon system sustainment enterprise is currently constrained on many sides by laws, policies, regulations and procedures, relationships, and organizational issues emanating from Congress, the Department of Defense (DoD), and the Air Force itself.

Against the back-drop of these stark realities, the Air Force requested the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies, under the auspices of the Air Force Studies Board to conduct and in-depth assessment of current and future Air Force weapon system sustainment initiatives and recommended future courses of action for consideration by the Air Force.

Examination of the U.S. Air Force's Aircraft Sustainment Needs in the Future and Its Strategy to Meet Those Needs addresses the following topics:

Assess current sustainment investments, infrastructure, and processes for adequacy in sustaining aging legacy systems and their support equipment. Determine if any modifications in policy are required and, if so, identify them and make recommendations for changes in Air Force regulations, policies, and strategies to accomplish the sustainment goals of the Air Force. Determine if any modifications in technology efforts are required and, if so, identify them and make recommendations regarding the technology efforts that should be pursued because they could make positive impacts on the sustainment of the current and future systems and equipment of the Air Force. Determine if the Air Logistics Centers have the necessary resources (funding, manpower, skill sets, and technologies) and are equipped and organized to sustain legacy systems and equipment and the Air Force of tomorrow. Identify and make recommendations regarding incorporating sustainability into future aircraft designs.

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