dept of defense

New National Defense Strategy stresses investing in emerging technologies

The 2022 National Defense Strategy, released last week, emphasizes the need to accelerate the Pentagon’s capacity for buying and deploying emerging technologies. Technology sectors called out as targets include advanced materials, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, clean energy, directed energy, hypersonics, microelectronics, quantum science and space. The report indicates that the Department of Defense (DOD) is considering R&D funding, ecosystem support and adapting civilian technologies among the tools it will use to pursue emerging tech.

DoD hoping to build microelectronics ecosystem through innovation hubs, seeks public input

The U.S. Department of Defense is envisioning a public private partnership of regional innovation hubs that would help support and expand the microelectronics industry in the United States. The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)) is seeking input from the domestic microelectronics community through a Request for Information it issued last week as it works to “foster a pipeline of innovation ideas and talent residing in university labs and small business R&D teams” through what it is calling a Microelectronics Commons.

Congress preps defense bill with new R&D, innovation support

This week, Congress reached an agreement on the FY 2022 defense authorization bill (i.e. “NDAA”). The legislation includes support for expanding the Defense Innovation Unit’s (DIU) reach, research at minority-serving institutions, and commercialization pilots, as well as a $7 billion increase in research funding. While the NDAA does not provide appropriations, the bill is a strong signal for where the FY 2022 appropriations are likely to land. Procedurally, the House passed the NDAA this week, and the Senate is expected to pass the bill without amendments. Highlights from innovation provisions in the FY 2022 NDAA follow.

Defense awards $25 million to manufacturing communities

The Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation revealed the awardees from its second round of the Defense Manufacturing Community Support Program this week. The office awarded $5 million to each of five organizations to lead partnerships that will strengthen defense manufacturing and related supply chains. The five awards are listed below and available on the office’s website:

Defense department launches Centers of Excellence at 2 HBCUs

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), through the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)), announced awards totaling $15 million for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to establish Centers of Excellence (COEs) in Biotechnology and Materials Science. The COEs will provide training to underrepresented students pursuing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, and will also provide internships at defense laboratories while also offering training to K-12 students to strengthen the talent pool entering the STEM pipeline.

Defense supply chains in need of overhaul; task force recommends action

Vulnerabilities in the international networks that supply goods and services needed for finished products used by the Department of Defense were exposed to a higher degree during the pandemic, and became the subject of a congressional Armed Services task force. The bipartisan Defense Critical Supply Chain Task Force was established to make the security of the U.S. supply chain a legislative priority, and their recent report details actionable legislative proposals to mitigate risks that could be considered for the FY 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Innovation & supply chain leading areas of concern for weakened defense industrial base

Already weakened before the pandemic, a new report from the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) finds that the health and readiness of the U.S. defense industrial base — composed of manufacturers, technology innovators, and systems integrators, research organizations, and suppliers — faces particularly large obstacles in the areas of innovation and supply chain. Assessed along eight different metrics, NDIA assigns an overall letter grade indicating the health and readiness of the defense industrial base. This year’s report assigned the final grade of a “C,” which is a passing grade, but leaves much room for improvement.

Innovation bills pass Congress at end of session

Near the end of 2020, Congress passed the FY 2021 defense authorization (overriding a presidential veto) and folded multiple policy bills into the joint appropriations and coronavirus relief bill. This legislation includes new authorizations for semiconductor research facilities, clean and renewable energy innovation, and new studies of assets for critical research areas.

Funding from Defense, EDA available

In separate announcements this week, the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) and the Economic Development Administration (EDA) revealed funding opportunities that can assist efforts to transform American innovations and support the growth of new companies.

Defense bill extends Regional Innovation Strategies, Manufacturing USA

This year’s national defense authorization act (NDAA) includes extensions of the Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program and Manufacturing USA. The House and Senate have passed the FY 2020 legislation, which authorizes up to $738 billion in appropriations and sets policy for a wide range of defense-related activities. The NDAA is one of the few bills that passes Congress each year. For this reason, the bill is often viewed as a vehicle for defense-related policies that may not garner sufficient attention separately. In 2018, for example, the NDAA extended SBIR/STTR pilot programs. The following policy areas addressed in the FY 2020 NDAA are the most relevant to regional innovation economies:


Subscribe to RSS - dept of defense