What is WARTECH?

WARTECH, a new process that captures singular Department of the Air Force-wide demand signals for advanced technology demonstration programs, represents collaboration between warfighters and technologists as they ideate and mature proposals to address future force requirements. The AF Technology Executive Officer (TEO) launched this effort in partnership with the Air Force Warfighting Integration Capability (AFWIC), U.S. Space Force Strategic Requirements (USSF/S5), and the Air Force Acquisition Executive (SAF/AQR) as part of a new initiative culminating in a summit with participants from the operational community (AFWIC and MAJCOMs) and the acquisition community (AF TEO, SAF/AQR, Air Force Research Laboratory Technology Directorates, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, and Space and Missile Systems Center).

In the summer of 2020, the first WARTECH summit focused on a portion of the DAF S&T portfolio requiring immediate and explicit enterprise-level commitment to successfully transition advanced technologies into warfighting capabilities. Future summits will expand scope to generate requirements for a larger percentage of the S&T portfolio. Ultimately, the WARTECH summit will lead to a prioritized list of advanced technology demonstration (6.3) programs that have the potential to become Capability Development Council (CDC) commissioned DAF Vanguard programs. In January 2021, the AF TEO will identify appropriate resources and present an execution plan to the CDC for commissioning 6.3 programs and funding them within the S&T budget. Recommendations for future Program Objective Memorandums will address any shortfalls.

What are Vanguards?

Vanguard programs signify DAF enterprise-level priorities. These initiatives aim to transform operations for the future force.

illustration of rocket cargo system

Rocket cargo, a Vanguard candidate program highlighted during WARTECH, enables rapid delivery of aircraft-size payloads for agile global logistics. (Graphic courtesy of SpaceWorks® Enterprises)

Entry criteria for technology concepts considered in the WARTECH process:

  • The technology aligns to National Defense Strategy and DAF priorities.
  • Sufficient documentation exists to assess the technological maturity, its feasibility to address mission requirements and overall confidence in meeting transition timelines.
  • Stakeholder concurrence that the concept has potential to transform the way we fight, provides a ‘leap ahead’ advancement in capability, or significant cost imposition on our adversaries.
  • A potential technology transition path exists, and preliminary engagements are in place with the transition partner.

Exit criteria for WARTECH-approved 6.3 programs:

  • Well-documented technology maturity and risks, preliminary mission effectiveness assessment, resource requirement for technology demonstration and capability transition, and organizational alignment along with investment commitment
  • Transition plan that includes a roadmap of appropriate and adequate investments by ALL stakeholders to successfully operationalize the capability
  • Additional Criteria for WARTECH approved 6.3 programs commissioned as AF Vanguards:
    • AFWIC certification of alignment with Air Force Operating Concept
    • Evidence these capabilities can transform AF operations for the future force
    • Documented AF enterprise-level priority for these programs
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