JULY 30, 2019 – In an effort to quickly target and acquire promising new technology, the Army office for rapid prototyping and fielding is holding its first Innovation Day on September 17.
This one-day event, hosted by the Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO), is modeled after commercial investor “pitch” days and will evaluate novel approaches and new solutions for critical capabilities. The RCCTO is focusing on finding solutions that support the Army modernization priorities and could be in the hands of Soldiers within one-to-three years. The RCCTO plans to execute an Innovation Day each quarter.
“This is industry’s chance to present their best ideas for new technology,” said Lt. Gen. L. Neil Thurgood, director of Hypersonics, Directed Energy, Space and Rapid Acquisition. “Our job is to turn those ideas and emerging technologies that meet the Army’s modernization priorities into experimental prototypes that can provide residual combat capability.”
Through a Request for Information (RFI) announcement posted to Federal Business Opportunities on July 26, the RCCTO outlined the criteria for evaluation. Suggested topic areas include: theater resilient communications for kinetic and non-kinetic attacks; multi-domain operations capabilities to counter anti-access/area denial; cyber resilience; innovative approaches to countering small Unmanned Aerial Systems; persistent low-visibility unmanned Aerial Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (A-ISR); and advanced tactical SIGINT systems.
However, topic areas are not limited and white paper submissions from anyone with a well-defined idea that meets the RFI specifications will be considered. Criteria includes feasibility, relevancy of the technical benefit, a clear and timely process for delivering the technology, and affordability.
Once the white papers are submitted, contracting officials will evaluate and invite the top entries to participate in the September Innovation Day, being held in McLean, Va. There, participants will present their ideas to the RCCTO’s “panel” consisting of leader representation across the Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership, Personnel, Facilities, and Policy (DOTMLPF-P) spectrum.
Those industry partners will leave the day knowing if there is potential for their innovative ideas to move forward and will be formally notified soon afterward. The RCCTO will leverage its Broad Agency Announcement that includes all scopes of technology areas of interest and enables the awarding of contracts, grants, agreements and Other Transaction Authority agreements.
This will not be the RCCTO’s only Innovation Day. The organization is planning to run these on a regular basis with different focus areas and in various locations. The next Innovation Day is tentatively scheduled for November with more information to come.
Additional information is available on the Federal Business Opportunities website at: https://www.fbo.gov/notices/fb589e48ccca364c38056de7588ffd42
By Nancy Jones-Bonbrest, Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office