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  • In the fall of 2018, the Secretary of the Air Force at the time, Dr. Heather Wilson, and Dr. Roper, expressed the desire for Air Force innovation to operate at pace with businesses.
  • The Air Force Pitch Day concept was proposed as one avenue to highlight the Air Force SBIR/STTR funding source as a pathway to the government marketplace and to engage startups and nontraditional small businesses in a commercially relevant direction to market.
  • Wilson and Roper wanted to tap into the nation's startup and small business ecosystems to solve challenging warfighter needs, demonstrating that new processes could occur more rapidly than traditional contracting processes.
  • One key tenet was that the Air Force should operate at the contracting and payment timetables startup and small companies need to remain economically viable. Air Force leadership set out a number of goals to highlight a "faster, smarter" Air Force at the Air Force Association Conference in 2018, announcing plans for the March 2019 inaugural Air Force Pitch Day event.