The Department of the Air Force is to review its science and technology (S&T) programs to determine which should continue, Air Force Frank Kendall said on May 9.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Chief of Space Operations Gen. B. Chance Saltzman, and Kendall “are gonna be reviewing all of our S&T programs,” Kendall said at the Ash Carter Exchange on Innovation and National Security in Washington, D.C. “What we’re gonna review them for is their viability, and we’re gonna ask the question, first of all, ‘If this a successful experiment, will we buy it?’ And, if the answer to that is no, we need to put the resources into something else.”

The Department of the Air Force requests $55.4 billion for research and development in fiscal 2024–$19.2 billion for the U.S. Space Force and $36.2 billion for the Air Force. The $55.4 billion is a $4.9 billion increase from the $50.5 billion appropriated last year. The $55.4 billion request for fiscal 2024 includes $2.9 billion in S&T–$600 million for basic research, $900 million for advanced technology development, and $1.4 billion in applied research–compared to the $3.4 billion appropriated for S&T last year.

Moving potentially high payoff programs from R&D to fielding across the so-called “Valley of Death” will be a subject of the Department of the Air Force’s S&T review, Kendall said on May 9.

That review will identify S&T programs with “high promise” and “get them into the inventory as quickly as we can,” he said.

“One of the things that has plagued the [acquisition] enterprise is the artificial separation between requirements and acquisition where one set of people–operators generally–will write requirements, hand them over to the acquisition technical people to build them, and then that’s it,” Kendall said. “There has to be a partnership between the customer and the developer so that you end up getting the product that efficiently meets the needs of the customer. Our history tends to be very aspirational, write unrealistic requirements, work on them for a long time, realize they’re impossible, and then either kill the program or make very painful adjustments. We need to do a better job of that [partnership between military operators and acquisition personnel].”

To lead efforts to implement each of the Air Force’s seven operational imperatives, Kendall said that he has teamed military operators with technical, acquisition personnel.