Data Requirements and Rights: Time for a ReassessmentThe Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies is pleased to announce the latest installment in its Mitchell Institute Policy Papers series, “Data Requirements and Rights: Time for a Reassessment,” by Senior Visiting Fellow Col Herbert C. Kemp, USAF (Ret.), PhD, with Mitchell’s Director of Research Maj Gen Lawrence Stutzriem, USAF (Ret.), and Mitchell Senior Fellow Heather Penney.

This latest policy paper takes a look at a problem bubbling beneath the surface of many of the Air Force’s leading acquisition programs—namely, data requirements and rights. Unlike the development of weapon systems in the 20th century, today’s military hardware is highly dependent on information age technology. However, the Air Force’s acquisition practices are not sufficiently modernized to properly define data requirements in support of affordable weapon system sustainment strategies. A survey of recent acquisitions indicate that the services may be seeking more data rights than necessary, instead of securing data rights only necessary to facilitate life-cycle needs. The practice of expansive demands for data rights not only runs counter to the objective of affordable sustainment, but it also negatively affects vendors in the defense industry that are critical to obtaining, sustaining, and modernizing capabilities for the warfighter.