The Defense Innovation Unit is teaming up with new commercial firms and accelerating the development of technology platforms for warfighters through the use of other transaction authority agreements authorized by Ellen Lord, defense undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment and a 2020 Wash100 award winner, National Defense reported Tuesday.
“She delegated that authority so that we could award our own OTA contracts, which is a pretty big deal to continue moving fast,” Mike Madsen, director of strategic engagement at DIU, said of Lord’s move.
DIU has awarded approximately 150 contracts to 122 nontraditional companies and Madsen said 66 of those are first-time suppliers to the armed forces.
“What we’ve represented is a lowering of those barriers to entry, making it easier for those leading-edge technology companies to get their technology to the men and women in uniform,” he added.
DIU has identified artificial intelligence/machine learning, cybersecurity, space, autonomy and human systems as its top five tech focus areas.
“Those are the areas that we see undergoing the greatest rate of change in the commercial sector. We think they also best represent the defense mission set,” Madsen said. “But we’re not just sitting back static on those.”