DoD entertains idea of a new public-private consortium to tackle C4ISR challenges at CERDEC

CERDEC The Department of Defense is thinking about establishing a public-private consortium composed of industry, government and academic partners which could help DoD develop world-class technologies in eight broad areas.

According to a sources sought document released on April 3 by the Army Contracting Command, those eight broad areas of interest are: (1) offensive and defensive cyber; (2) tactical power and energy; (3) mission command; (4) intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; (5) tactical and strategic networks; (6) electronic warfare; (7) intelligence analysis, exploitation and dissemination; and (8) IED, mine and minefield detection and defeat.

Such a consortium might be established using what is known as a “Section 845 Other Transaction Agreement,” or OTA. Section 845 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 1994 authorizes the Secretary of the Army to carry out prototype projects that are directly relevant to weapons or weapon systems.”

“Currently, the Government and industry share a common challenge of satisfying vastly increasing demand for the use of C4ISR Technologies,” explains the notice. “Multiple efforts are addressing this fundamental issue as it hampers U.S. innovation and economic growth and hinders U.S. military operations both domestically and overseas.”

The use of Section 845 authority opens the possibility of leveraging both government and private sector research and development resources to maximize the potential return on investment (ROI), the notice suggests.

“DOD and [the Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center] CERDEC recognize that both government and industry can benefit from an OTA agreement with a consortium, in order to achieve more rapid contracting, acceleration of discovery, unparalleled ability to tailor research, policy consideration concurrent with technological advances, a more focused and synergistic research agenda, and relief from excessive bureaucratic requirements,” adds the notice.

Interested parties are asked to respond to the Army notice by May 5.

Further information is available from David Greaves at