USPAE's Founding ED Unveils Plans for Stronger Industry
HomeHome > Blog > USPAE's Founding ED Unveils Plans for Stronger Industry

USPAE's Founding ED Unveils Plans for Stronger Industry

Dec 05, 2023

In an exclusive interview with TimesTech, Christopher Peters, the Founding Executive Director of USPAE, highlights the pivotal significance of industry-government collaboration in tackling defense challenges. Peters discusses strategies employed by USPAE to foster successful partnerships, navigate hurdles, and promote cutting-edge defense technologies for national security, emphasizing the need for trust and streamlined procurement practices.

Read the full interview here:

Mr. Peters: Industry-government collaboration is crucial to ensure the government can capitalize on the latest technologies, help industry better position itself to support defence needs and to provide greater supply chain resilience for all. USPAE plays an important role in facilitating that collaboration as a neutral, non-profit organization.

Mr. Peters: USPAE will announce two unique models for collaboration in the next few weeks. The first is the Defence Business Accelerator (DBX) that will provide government funding for companies to commercialize technologies that also can be used for defence needs. The second is the PCB Market Catalyst, which will define a unique model for public-private partnerships to quickly bring overseas PCB manufacturing technologies to the U.S. industry.

Mr. Peters: Government to industry relations have been in place for many decades, so it is hard to introduce new models of collaboration. Fortunately, those in government and industry recognize the need for change, which is helping USPAE introduce new models for collaboration.

Mr. Peters: One small USPAE member has been developing a much-needed defence technology working collaboratively with a large defence prime contractor and the U.S. Department of Defense. These types of collaboration are important to leverage the small- to medium-sized manufacturers in developing technologies and expanding capacity for the large suppliers.

Mr. Peters: Trusted supply chains start with companies that have demonstrated adherence to rigorous standards and processes. All USPAE members that design, manufacture, or assemble PCBs must become certified to the IPC-1791 standard within a year of joining. This standard was developed in cooperation between the U.S. Department of Defense and industry.

Resilient supply chains are a result of “designing” the supply chain for the desired outcome. The companies that are chosen for a resilient supply chain are likely different than those chosen for one that is cost effective, or innovative, or responsive. The companies chosen and the structure, such as dual- or triple-sourcing, will determine the level of resilience.

Mr. Peters: Advanced microelectronics can provide countries with an asymmetric warfare advantage. Defence organizations must maintain close ties with industry to understand what commercial technologies are being developed and how they may be applied to emerging threats. Likewise, industry must be kept abreast of those threats so that they may offer solutions outside the commercial realm.

Mr. Peters: One of the key elements is trust. Historically, government and industry relations in the U.S. have been stifled due to increasingly burdensome procurement regulations and practices. The common perception that we are entering a new era of global competition is driving a greater willingness of all parties to begin extending trust.

The other key element is changing the procurement practices so that industry and government can better collaborate and move fast. Once such procurement vehicle is the Other Transaction authority which gives the U.S. Department of Defense greater flexibility in dealing with industry. USPAE manages the Defense Electronics Consortium, which is an Other Transaction agreement.

Mr. Peters:

TimesTechChristopher Peters, the Founding Executive Director of USPAERead the full interview hereTimesTech: In your opinion, what are the primary reasons why industry-government collaboration is crucial in addressing defence challenges effectively?Mr. Peters:TimesTech: As the Founding Executive Director of USPAE, could you share some key strategies or initiatives the organization has undertaken to foster successful partnerships between industry stakeholders and the U.S. Government?Mr. Peters:TimesTech: From your experiences, what are the major hurdles or obstacles encountered when establishing and sustaining industry-government collaborations in the defence sector?Mr. Peters:TimesTech: Can you cite a specific instance where collaboration between a start-up or small organization and the Department of Defence led to innovative solutions or technologies being incorporated into defence operations?Mr. Peters:TimesTech: How does USPAE ensure that the electronics supply chains are resilient and trusted, thereby mitigating potential risks to national security?Mr. Peters:TimesTech: What role does innovation play in advancing defence capabilities, and how can industry-government partnerships better harness technological advancements to address emerging threats?Mr. Peters:TimesTech: In your view, what are the key factors that contribute to a fruitful and productive relationship between industry players and government agencies when working on defence-related projects?Mr. Peters:TimesTech: Based on your experiences at USPAE, what advice or recommendations would you give to policymakers and defence stakeholders to promote and facilitate industry-government collaboration for national security initiatives?Mr. Peters: