Attributes of a good concept
Published June 15, 2007
1. What are the attributes of a good concept?
· The concept should be stated in clear and concise terms. Diagrams/pictures are highly encouraged.
· The concept submission should explain what the operational demonstration will seek to demonstrate and what resources are required to conduct the demonstration.
· The concept must be applicable to one of the Information Operations (IO) disciplines:
- Electronic Warfare Operations (EWO)
-- Electronic Attack (EA)
-- Electronic Protection (EP)
-- Electronic Support (ES)
- Network Warfare Operations (NWO)
-- Network Defense (Net-D)
-- Network Attack (Net-A)
- Influence Operations
-- Counter Intelligence (CI)
-- Public Affairs (PA)
- Integrated Control Enablers (ICE)
-- Intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR)
-- Net Operations (Net Ops)
-- Predictive Battlespace Awareness (PBA)
-- Precision Navigation and Timing (PNT)
· The concept must be legal to demonstrate.
· The concept must be conform to the Laws of Armed Conflict.
· The concept must be within the mission of the Air Force and must not infringe upon other government agencies.
· A good concept has high operational impact, a low degree of technical risk (mature technology), and a high degree of innovativeness (out of the box thinking is highly encouraged). A broad breadth of application also increases the chances of the concept being chosen as an initiative. Ideally, a concept should be able to be demonstrated within 18 months from contract award. Meeting a recognized IO need is desirable, though finding a solution to a need that has not yet been identified demonstrates a high degree of innovation.
2. What is the difference between an idea, a concept, and an initiative?
An idea is a concept that has not been put to paper or does not meet the criteria specified in "What are the attributes of a good concept" question above. A concept must have an operational employment scenario associated with it and a means to demonstrate. An initiative is a concept that has been selected for funding and demonstration. We often receive needs which do not have a solution.
3. How long does it take to evaluate a concept? Initiative?
A concept on average in FY00 took 60 days from submittal to the Concept Working Group (CWG) where experts examine the merits and infuse the project officer with additional knowledge of the concept. If the concept passes the CWG then it took on average 35 days for the Initiative Selection Working Group to meet where a deeper look into the concept is performed. If the concept is selected as an initiative, it took on average 36 more days to be approved for expenditure of funds. The necessary paperwork and contract are beyond these times given.
4. How do you decide to turn a concept into an initiative? What are the criteria?
The AFIOB process is a two-staged filtering process that looks at the criteria mentioned in "What are the attributes of a good concept" question above. The most stringent criteria are considered "go/no-go" such as illegality and can force a concept to be eliminated from consideration. The more important criteria after that are: what is the demonstration, what is the outcome, what is the operational impact, too much risk, already been done, too long to complete demonstration, breadth of application, and innovation.
5. How do you control proprietary information?
All concepts from other than government sources are labeled proprietary unless specified by the originator. Proprietary material is handled by government and Federally Funded Research & Development Center (FFRDC) personnel only.
6. How do originators of concepts get credit?
Through the satisfaction that they have done a service to their country. The originator is credited throughout the demonstrations, in demonstration plans, and in the after initiative report which is briefed to the Air Force Chief of Staff.