The MONSOON Image Acquisition System has been designed to meet the need for scalable, multichannel, high-speed image acquisition required for the next-generation optical and infared detectors and mosaic projects currently under development at NOAO as described in other papers at this proceeding such as ORION, NEWFIRM, QUOTA, ODI and LSST. These new systems with their large scale (64 to 2000 channels) and high performance (up to 1Gbyte/s) raise new challenges in terms of communication bandwidth, data storage and data processing requirements which are not adequately met by existing astronomical controllers. In order to meet this demand, new techniques for not only a new detector controller, but rather a new image acquisition architecture, have been defined. These extremely large scale imaging systems also raise less obvious concerns in previously neglected areas of controller design such as physical size and form factor issues, power dissipation and cooling near the telescope, system assembly/test/ integration time, reliability, and total cost of ownership. At NOAO we have taken efforts to look outside of the astronomical community for solutions found in other disciplines to similar classes of problems. A large number of the challenges raised by these system needs are already successfully being faced in other areas such as telecommunications, instrumentation and aerospace. Efforts have also been made to use true commercial off the shelf (COTS) system elements, and find truly technology independent solutions for a number of system design issues whenever possible. The Monsoon effort is a full-disclosure development effort by NOAO in collaboration with the CARA ASTEROID project for the benefit of the astronomical community.