What’s hot in U.S. defence procurement?
In 2021, the U.S. DoD’s top spending domains covered air, sea and space, with specific areas of focus such as missile defeat and defence. Going forward, environmental sustainability is expected to be a big and growing concern: as the biggest single user of energy in the United States — and the holder of the country’s largest real estate portfolio — the DoD is eager to take advantage of technology-enabled energy savings.
One recent pilot study used IoT (Internet of Things) applications to collect weather, energy and building data, combining all of that with comfort thresholds and applying machine-learning algorithms to identify opportunities to cut energy consumption.
The Department is looking to invest about $1.6 billion in research, testing, development and evaluation of clean energy innovations more broadly, seeing climate change as a matter of national defence.
Dual use technologies
Beyond its immediate procurement priorities, the U.S. DoD also has its sights set on some farther-out innovation frontiers. Key areas of interest will likely include:
- Artificial intelligence (AI) — Specifically, how AI can transform the battlefield by improving communication and gathering and synthesizing data.
- 5G — The U.S. is looking to become a global leader in 5G and will need new prototypes and technologies to do so.
- Cybersecurity — Solutions here may include potential game-changing advances in command, control, and situational awareness as well as enhanced security systems to prevent cyberattacks.
- Internet of Things (IoT) — The U.S. DoD will look to expand its use of the IoT to improve communication and information processing, enhance readiness, provide commanders with more information for critical decisions, and better connect troops to each other and to their superiors.
- Autonomy — This will encompass technologies that extend and complement human capabilities such as strength and speed while better protecting human life.
- Directed energy — Laser weapons systems are becoming increasingly viable due to advances in high energy laser (HEL) technologies.
- Hypersonics — Hypersonic weapons are fast, responsive, and maneuverable, making them well-suited for next-generation warfare.
- Space — The U.S. DoD is eager to improve its defensive posture in space and the resilience and protection of spacecraft.
Medicine and health
- Biotechnology — The U.S. DoD is particularly interested in protecting the population from bioagents.
The commercial market is a key source of innovative solutions to solve the Department’s toughest problems. The DoD has a vast collection of opportunities to leverage innovation occurring among entrepreneurs and non-traditional vendors.
The DoD Innovation Ecosystem organizations seek to find and explore the latest advances in dual use technologies that are needed for the future fighting force such as artificial intelligence, robotics, 3-D printing, augmented reality, autonomy, quantum computing, resilient networks, swarming, human systems, space, and cybersecurity.
Transitioning commercial technology at scale, especially those solutions requiring experimentation and maturation, to a program of record is still a work in progress.
Foreign comparative testing
To access emerging defence opportunities in the U.S., Canadian companies need the chance to showcase their technologies. The Foreign Comparative Testing (FCT) program provides an ideal platform for doing just that. Designed to meet rapidly evolving defence needs, the program allows companies from outside the U.S. to prove that their solutions meet a high Technological Readiness Level (TRL) so they can be considered for future contracts.
The International and Industry Programs Division of the Canadian Department of National Defence helps companies in this country prepare for the FCT program by matching developing technologies with U.S. DoD operational requirements.
To date, 95 Canadian companies have been sponsored to the FCT, and 31 projects generated procurements totalling US$400 million.
Download our guide to learn what opportunities are available to Canadian businesses, where to find these opportunities and how to get started selling to the U.S. Department of Defense.
The following is the U.S. DoD’s extensive research and development ecosystem aimed at driving innovation:
- Defense Innovation Marketplace
- Defense Innovation Unit
- DoD Labs
- Doolittle Institute
- National Security Innovation Network
- Rapid Innovation Fund
- Rapid Reaction Technology Office
- AF Techstars Accelerator
- Air Force Research Lab
- Allied Space Accelerator
- Catalyst Accelerator
- Hyperspace Challenge
- Starburst Accelerator
- T3 Accelerator
How CCC can help
As prime contractor to U.S. DoD for all contracts over USD $250,000, CCC has spent the last 65 years working closely with the U.S. DoD to connect American military needs with Canadian solutions. If you’re a Canadian defence company looking to sell to the U.S., you may want to check out our step-by-step Guide to U.S DoD Market Entry and take the first steps toward doing business with the U.S. DoD.
Interested in learning more about selling to U.S. military? Read You don’t have to be a defence company to sell to the U.S. DoD.
This post was last updated on March 22, 2022.
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