Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Business Administration

Major Professor

Paul Spector, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Richard Will, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Paul Solomon, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dana Parks, D.B.A.


acquisition, agility, development, prototype, research, special operations


The purpose of this research is to provide a case study of how a highly bureaucratic organization located on a relatively inaccessible military base created organizational structures and climates to minimize innovation time and efforts. Typical approaches to government acquisition are not conducive to innovation and inhibit it in many cases. Conducting business with any government element, including the United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM), can be difficult. A few of the physical and regulatory challenges include gaining access to MacDill Air Force Base, entering the SOCOM compound and the prohibition of electronic devices on the compound. Another noteworthy challenge is the intricacies of the Federal Acquisition process, which could take more than a year from Broad Area Announcement (BAA) to contract award. To address these hurdles in a rapidly changing technological environment, SOCOM has adopted several structures, authorities and techniques to make their acquisition process more agile. One was the creation of SOFWERX, an unclassified facility where Special Operations operators can rapidly test and prototype their requirements. (SOFWERX, n.d.). Another includes the use of new or improved authorities, such as Other Transaction Authorities, Middle Tier Acquisition, Partner Intermediary Agreements, etc. The others are discussed in more detail. This case study illustrates how SOCOM has created structures, leveraged new authorities, created new procedures and provided an organizational climate to foster innovation.