3
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Relationships

Charles Walker, the Boeing Company, served as moderator for the first session, on government relationships at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). He introduced the two panelists, Steve Welby, Deputy Director of the Tactical Technology Office at DARPA, and Bobby Joe, Northrop Grumman, Joint Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (JUCAV) office.

DARPA PERSPECTIVE

Welby began his presentation by mentioning that DARPA had been established in 1958 in response to the Soviet Sputnik satellite. Since then the agency has had a very clearly defined mission—to maintain the technological superiority of the U.S. military and to keep our adversaries from surprising us with new technologies. This is done by pursuing revolutionary high-payoff research and development that bridges the gap between fundamental discovery and eventual military use. DARPA's mission places a single demand on the agency—radical innovation for national security. DARPA's management philosophy reflects that demand in a very straightforward way. Welby said that DARPA did its best to bring in expert entrepreneurial program managers, empower them, protect them from government red tape, and then quickly begin projects that need to be started and, just as quickly, end projects that need to be ended.

Welby commented that with strong support from DOD management, DARPA had played a unique role within DOD. As the only DOD research agency not tied to a specific single operational mission, DARPA supplies technology options for the entire DOD and is designed to be the engine for technology transformation. The unique role is necessary because needs and requirements generally lead the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force to focus on the near term at the expense of significant technology-driven transformation. Consequently, a large organization like DOD needs a unit like DARPA, whose only mission is radical innovation.



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Government/Industry/Academic Relationships for Technology Development: A Workshop Report 3 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Relationships Charles Walker, the Boeing Company, served as moderator for the first session, on government relationships at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). He introduced the two panelists, Steve Welby, Deputy Director of the Tactical Technology Office at DARPA, and Bobby Joe, Northrop Grumman, Joint Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (JUCAV) office. DARPA PERSPECTIVE Welby began his presentation by mentioning that DARPA had been established in 1958 in response to the Soviet Sputnik satellite. Since then the agency has had a very clearly defined mission—to maintain the technological superiority of the U.S. military and to keep our adversaries from surprising us with new technologies. This is done by pursuing revolutionary high-payoff research and development that bridges the gap between fundamental discovery and eventual military use. DARPA's mission places a single demand on the agency—radical innovation for national security. DARPA's management philosophy reflects that demand in a very straightforward way. Welby said that DARPA did its best to bring in expert entrepreneurial program managers, empower them, protect them from government red tape, and then quickly begin projects that need to be started and, just as quickly, end projects that need to be ended. Welby commented that with strong support from DOD management, DARPA had played a unique role within DOD. As the only DOD research agency not tied to a specific single operational mission, DARPA supplies technology options for the entire DOD and is designed to be the engine for technology transformation. The unique role is necessary because needs and requirements generally lead the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force to focus on the near term at the expense of significant technology-driven transformation. Consequently, a large organization like DOD needs a unit like DARPA, whose only mission is radical innovation.

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Government/Industry/Academic Relationships for Technology Development: A Workshop Report A basic challenge for any military research and development organization is to match military problems with technological opportunities, including finding new operational concepts. The challenge is a very difficult one because military problems may not have a clear, easy technological solution. Also, the military implications of many emergent technological capabilities are unclear. DARPA focuses its investment, therefore, in an area referred to as “DARPA Hard,” a set of challenges that, if solved—even with a solution that initially poses a high risk of technical failure—will be of enormous benefit to U.S. military capabilities and to national security. DARPA’s investments focus on research that the individual services are unlikely to support because it is too risky, because it doesn't fit specific roles and missions, or because the potential product might challenge existing systems or operational concepts. DARPA focuses on capabilities military commanders might want or need in the future, not on what they want or need today. Management at DARPA insists that all programs start with good ideas and good people to pursue them. Without that combination of good ideas and good people, a program will not be launched. Welby mentioned three key organizing principles that allowed DARPA to maintain a cutting-edge position in the defense research establishment. The first is that DARPA should remain a relatively small, flexible, and flat organization relying on a technically astute staff of program managers borrowed for 3 to 5 years from industry, universities, government laboratories, and federally funded research and development centers. The fiscal year 2004 budget was just shy of $3 billion. The programs covered by that budget were executed with approximately 150 technical program managers and a senior management staff of approximately 20. DARPA also has an experimental hiring authority under 5 USC 3104,1 which allows it to quickly hire expert program managers from industry at competitive salaries. This flexibility helps bring in the best and brightest. The thinking is that the best place to get new ideas is from new people—new program managers are often willing to redirect the work of their predecessors. DARPA’s program managers operate with substantial autonomy and minimum bureaucratic impediment. Upper management is focused on good stewardship of taxpayer funds but otherwise imposes relatively few formal rules. The responsibility of a senior-level manager within the agency is to empower individual technical program managers to get their job done. The second organizing principle is that the agency should be largely project-based. A program at DARPA lasts typically 3 to 5 years and has a strong focus on a clearly defined set of goals. Important technology challenges, such as advanced focal plane development or the improvement of vehicle autonomy, may be addressed by a series of independently executed programs that occur over a longer period of time. When a program reaches its planned end, it generally stops. Other programs may be started in the same technical area, perhaps even with the same program manager. From the outside, this may appear to be an extension of previous work, but within DARPA each program really represents a fresh decision to pursue a technical opportunity. Prior investment does not influence a decision on whether to begin a new effort. The third organizing principle is that DARPA maintains very little permanent infrastructure. The agency has no labs, no test facilities, and no production lines. To 1   Information on and the text of the U.S. Code can be found at <http://uscode.house.gov/search/criteria.php>. Accessed September 24, 2004.

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Government/Industry/Academic Relationships for Technology Development: A Workshop Report some extent, it is interdependent with the larger technical and defense community, but that attribute allows DARPA to maintain flexibility in budgeting and helps it to focus on innovation rather than on the maintenance of an infrastructure or on its past performance. The DARPA decision-making process is also something unusual for a government agency. It is informal and relatively flexible, taking a top-down approach to problem definition and a bottom-up approach to generating ideas and solutions, with the key emphasis on technical merit. DARPA is a very small and flat organization, rich in military technological expertise. Only one core management level exists between the individual technical program manager and the overall agency director. With such a small senior management cadre, decisions are easier to make. The management style at DARPA is essentially entrepreneurial, flexible, and focused on being as bold as possible. The management philosophy is to pursue fast, flexible, and formal cycles—continuous cycles of thinking, proposing, discussing, deciding, and revising. This approach may not be appropriate for most government agencies, but Welby said it has worked well at DARPA. The DARPA approach has significant consequences for relationships with academia, industry, and the rest of the federal government. The first consequence is that DARPA works actively to avoid hard and fast rules. Each program tends to be very different—its character is very dependent on the personality of the individual program manager and the mix of performers who are invited to participate. The program manager chooses his or her own technical support team. The team can be drawn from almost anywhere—from technical support contractors, consultants, and employees of government laboratories, contracting shops, and federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs). This often results in a very close, teamlike working relationship between the DARPA program manager and other participants. Another consequence is the agency's constant hunger for new ideas. To attract ideas, DARPA maintains a continuous, ongoing outreach effort through its management staff. According to Welby, attracting ideas is a large part of his job. DARPA tries to maintain a high profile and a keen awareness of current possibilities through its Web presence, biannual DARPA technology symposia, open Broad Agency Announcements (BAAs), and frequent formal briefings to industry. The goal is to be open to new ideas from industry, government, and academia. Because DARPA’s focus is on generating creative solutions, whenever and wherever possible it seeks free and open competition to maximize the incentive for innovation. The agency generally solicits through BAAs, a vehicle that maximizes flexibility and responses, but it will use a more traditional Request for Proposals (RFP) when appropriate. The agency executes its efforts using a mix of grant and contract mechanisms; in particular, it has pioneered the use of the Other Transaction Authority (OTA) under Section 10 U.S. Code 2371, a mechanism that allows for more flexible contracting arrangements with industry and academia than are normally possible using Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR).2 DARPA also has the authority to award prizes that encourage technical accomplishments, similar to the Orteig prize that Charles Lindbergh won for his nonstop transatlantic flight. DARPA made use of the authority earlier this year as a sponsor of 2   Further information on federal acquisition regulations may be found at <http://www.arnet.gov/far/>. Accessed September 27, 2004.

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Government/Industry/Academic Relationships for Technology Development: A Workshop Report the DARPA Grand Challenge.3 The competition required autonomous ground vehicles to execute a challenging on- and off-road course from California through the desert to Nevada. The challenge offered a prize of $1 million to the vehicle that completed the course in the fastest time. DARPA funded the challenge field exercise itself and laid out funds to support the prize. No funding was provided to the participants from DARPA to support their work, yet DARPA still had more innovative participants than had been imagined and than could actually be handled during the event. While no prize winner emerged from the March 2004 challenge and no entrant completed the course, DARPA has great hopes of one day seeing its successful completion. DARPA will repeat the event in early 2005 with a new prize of $2 million. Welby mentioned that the agency worked very hard to seek proposals from companies of all sizes and recognized that small companies were often sources of great innovation. To overcome some of the limitations under which small companies operate, DARPA participates very aggressively in the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. DARPA program managers work very closely with small firms to grow and mature their technical and business capabilities. Welby mentioned that the agency strongly stressed the need for program managers to work with small businesses and to help integrate their efforts into the larger scope of a project’s development. DARPA's use of these mechanisms is a rich source of opportunity not only for the agency but also for participating companies. In addition to bringing in university personnel as program managers, DARPA funds a very substantial quantity of pure and applied research at universities. Universities also participate as team members or subcontractors in large teams that execute demonstrations of large systems. In all cases, the focus is on performance. While DARPA often uses graybeard advisors and expert red teams to aid in the execution of the programs, the quality of the work is ultimately judged by the program managers, their office directors, and the head of the agency. DARPA has a culture that depends first on technically cognizant program managers and second on performing contractors who realize that a program manager's single priority is the ruthless pursuit of the program's success. Failing programs or contractors will be cut from a DARPA program. No projects or performers are so sacrosanct that poor performance is tolerated. The flip side of this willingness to stop failing efforts is that resources continuously become available to support new and emerging opportunities. Switching to the topic of risk management, Welby noted that DARPA seeks to identify and develop transformational technologies and systems concepts for national security. It knowingly invests in high-risk and high-payoff projects. That means that DARPA executes projects that cover a very large range of maturity and risk, from basic research in mathematics to biology to construction of prototype aircraft. Because DARPA generally transitions products to external development acquisition organizations that specialize in final product development, it tends to aim for managing risk rather than achieving maturity. Programs are structured to remove key technology risks in a concept or product rather than to demonstrate a final refined product. DARPA uses a variety of mechanisms and methods for identifying risks, but Welby said it had no specific, formal, agency-wide standards. Program managers often work with their 3   Further information on DARPA’s Grand Challenge may be found at <http://www.darpa.mil/grandchallenge/>. Accessed September 27, 2004.

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Government/Industry/Academic Relationships for Technology Development: A Workshop Report contractor teams to develop specific risk management approaches that are appropriate to a project's particular technology objectives. Within the agency itself, those approaches are codified in an internal pragmatic process using technical criteria milestones that effectively constitute a contract between the technical program manager and the agency director for the execution of the work. To ultimately transition the products of technology to armed services customers, DARPA must be able to connect the applicability of products from its research to emergent military needs. In the DOD this applicability is usually communicated using formally defined sets of requirements and key product definitions. For the most mature capabilities, DARPA will execute a memorandum of agreement with the responsible service organizations defining those organizations’ roles and responsibilities for technology maturation, prototype demonstration, and transition to acquisition. In doing so, DARPA makes extensive use of the NASA technology readiness level (TRL) system to communicate the estimated maturity of products to DARPA customers. The TRL scale is used largely because it has been widely adopted by the larger military acquisition community. Welby also stated that DARPA program managers had an ambivalent relationship with what the military calls “requirements.” Requirements are a collection of specifications, features, and capabilities that defines an approved military materiel product available for acquisition or purchase. While program managers understand that requirements capture important elements of a product's function, Welby said program managers often perceived them as limiting innovation, producing inefficiencies, and reflecting the status quo because they were often defined in terms of the presumed product rather than the statement of need. As a result, DARPA often stretches, ignores, bypasses, or seeks to change requirements that exist at the outset of programs. This is part of the project-specific relationships that a program manager develops in executing an effort. Service requirements tend to influence what DARPA management decides to fund, but they are not the only factor in the decision. For a number of years, DARPA has asked its program managers informally to answer several questions before embarking on any program: What is this project trying to do? How is it done today? What are the limitations of the current process? What is truly novel about the approach being suggested that will remove those limitations and improve performance? By how much will performance improve? If successful, what difference will the project make? What are the interim technical milestones required to prove the hypothesis? What is the transition strategy? How much will it cost? Are the programmatic details clear? Welby stressed that DARPA depended on an extremely energetic set of very bright program managers to answer those questions and to arrive at solutions that offer transformative impacts. Often, this is done with the help of military end users. However, the solutions developed are rarely under the control of those users, at least while the effort is funded by DARPA.

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Government/Industry/Academic Relationships for Technology Development: A Workshop Report The Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) program is a good example of a system prototype program executed at DARPA. The UCAV program started as the Uninhabited Tactical Aircraft Program in 1994 under the leadership of Colonel Mike Francis. The program focused on the networked integration of multiplatform operations, addressing the challenge of multiplatform sensing and situational awareness, dynamic planning, and efficient airspace operations. The goals were increasing effectiveness for target prosecution, improving decision making, expediting actions, and increasing flexibility for future strike systems. From 1994 to 1998, the program manager met with a number of potential stakeholders in this effort, including the war-fighting organizations, potential contractors for the effort, and representatives from government laboratories. User interactions generally focused on helping to define the UCAV concept. Much of this work was the result of interactions with the Air Force in 1996 and 1997. The Air Force then became DARPA's partner in the initial UCAV program. With this decision to proceed, UCAV program management focused on four main details. First, a single dull, dirty, dangerous mission was identified as the focus of the program—the reactive suppression of enemy air defenses. Second, goals were set for range, speed, endurance, and survivability that exceeded those of existing manned systems. Third, the program aimed to dramatically reduce the cost of the system, both in acquisition and operation, below that of competing approaches. Finally, a series of key technical risks were identified and addressed—risks in airframe capability, human-machine interface, communications, targeting, signature management, supportability, and mission planning. The next program manager, Larry Birckelbaw, developed the program execution strategy for UCAV. The UCAV program was executed under the OTA granted to DARPA. The OTA provided flexibility in matters of contracting, in facilitating cost-sharing by industry, and in forming and managing teams. The first phase of the UCAV program under Birckelbaw was a 1-year competition among four vendors based on concept design, risk management approach, and analysis of overall effectiveness. The second phase of the program focused on demonstrating the capability of multiple A-model vehicle prototypes in key risk areas such as autonomous ground operation, intervehicle communication, multivehicle flight operations, and dynamic retasking. The air vehicles were part of an overall demonstration tool kit that included not only the unmanned aircraft but also surrogate aircraft and extensive modeling simulation tools. The third phase of the program—the demonstration phase—was to address additional risks with B-model vehicles. The key risks to be addressed in the B-model UCAV included formation flying with communication loss, planning and decision-making systems, final air vehicle design, incorporation and simulation for joint exercises, and finally, a series of final demonstrations in services and joint exercises. By the year 2000, the UCAV effort had developed to the point where it had generated such interest that the Navy felt it should also join the effort. This resulted in a UCAV-N effort. It included all the goals from the Air Force effort but added a series of issues that needed to be addressed to allow complex unmanned systems to operate in the unique environment of an aircraft carrier, including integration with manned aircraft operations, catapult launch, on-deck taxi maneuvering, arrested landing, waveoff from the flight deck crew, and recovery from failed arrest.

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Government/Industry/Academic Relationships for Technology Development: A Workshop Report The UCAV program eventually transitioned in 2003 to a formal joint program office still managed by DARPA but much more tightly coordinated with the services. The new program was named Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems (J-UCAS).4 The goal for the joint program office is maturation of the UCAV systems and the seamless transition of the technology base from a DARPA research and development effort to a formal military acquisition program. As part of this transition activity, the technical design approach to the vehicle has been changed somewhat to reflect new service requirements. These changes were driven by the evolution of the concept, by lessons learned in the earlier effort, and by a common operating system capability that reflects the service users' understanding of and expectations for future unmanned combat aircraft operations. The J-UCAS program is considered within DARPA to be a highly successful effort. It incorporates many of the stages that Welby described earlier, including a concept development effort and a technical maturation effort. DARPA finds itself currently in the midst of the contracting process and is looking forward to eventual transition to acquisition. By identifying key enabling technologies and concepts, DARPA helped move the UCAV concept from speculation to demonstration. The next challenge for DARPA is fielding a truly transformational operational capability in the next few years. Question-and-Answer Period The moderator, Charles Walker, began a series of questions to Steve Welby by asking him to elaborate on the processes, including policy processes, that DARPA is empowered to use to engage with service or agency infrastructures, specifically the laboratories or research facilities. He suggested that Welby use a specific example in the previous UCAV program to describe the mechanisms used. Welby responded that one of DARPA’s key challenges was coordinating its interaction with its armed service customers and with the rest of the military research and development community. DARPA does very little contracting or contracting support itself but instead uses an agent for this purpose. However, it typically engages with service customers, other agencies, and other users, playing an active role in the day-to-day management and coordination of program contract efforts. He went on to say that this allowed DARPA to grow its user base and to actively engage technical users within the service laboratory communities early in the process, which gave it an opportunity to leverage the latter’s capabilities and facilities. It also enables direct interaction with laboratory management early in the process and the development of a constituency within the receiving services for the kind of radical innovations that DARPA is trying to pursue. Typically, DARPA will bring in a young lieutenant colonel or a young major to serve as a contracting officer’s technical representative early in the program. This individual will be responsible for the day-to-day coordination with the contracting team. However, as he pursues this work, he will also be building a constituency within his own agency working to draw DARPA technology further into the formalized military acquisition process. The process is largely people-based. DARPA attempts to try to engage the 4   The new J-UCAS program combines the efforts that were previously known as the DARPA/USAF Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) and the DARPA/USN Naval Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV-N) programs.

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Government/Industry/Academic Relationships for Technology Development: A Workshop Report contracting team members early and to maintain that engagement over the course of the program. Walker spoke next of the assessment of technology readiness and mentioned that Welby had alluded to DARPA’s use of the NASA TRL process and structure. Walker also asked Welby to comment on the NASA TRL process and model in general. Welby said that NASA’s TRL was not a tool that DARPA used internally when discussing the status of programs. Rather, it is used to communicate with external users, particularly as technology moves toward the transition stages. Welby continued by saying that TRL categorizations tended to gloss over many of the details that were specific to a technical solution or approach. TRLs do not really help DARPA to assess investments or to make decisions about program milestones, decision points, or changes. However, he did mention that TRLs provided an effective shorthand for communicating with customers in terms of what they should expect when DARPA finishes an effort. He said that DARPA tried to avoid delivering unexpected technology to customers. Communication is critical in making sure that end users understand what they are going to receive from a DARPA effort. Walker continued this line of questioning by asking Welby to elaborate on the technology risk management processes that DARPA used. Welby responded that because of the broad range of work involved, it was hard to point to a single example. However, across the agency an attempt has been made to forge an early definition of a set of quantitative metrics that program managers could use to assess whether a project is proceeding at the expected pace. For an aircraft effort, it might be progress in the understanding needed for modeling or progress toward a flight test. For other efforts, it might be the progress of very carefully measured, well-designed laboratory measurements over a period of time. Those individual metrics, which are intended to be quantifiable, discrete items, form the basis of the contract between a program manager and his office director. DARPA calls them go/no go metrics, but they are not hard, fixed criteria. Rather, they form the structure within which management and an individual program manager can discuss the progress being made. As DARPA charts its way through these unknown technological territories, it is good to have a milestone along the way to understand how much progress has been made. Welby said that these milestones should be negotiated program by program at the beginning of the programs. Walker then asked about relationships with small companies. Recalling that Welby had discussed STTR, SBIR, and other formalized federal processes, he asked Welby to elaborate on any other mechanisms used by DARPA. Welby responded that the processes were unique to the small business environment. He did not expand on that thought, but said that a more interesting issue was one of program scale. A new programs tends to start with an idea. New programs take shape when a program manager comes to management with a new concept, or when a potential recruit comes to DARPA with a new idea. In any case, early in the process, management typically looks for evidence that the idea has merit. Almost all of DARPA’s projects—whether they eventually grow to be programs on the scale of millions, tens of millions, or hundreds of millions of dollars—start with small, proof-of-concept efforts, typically in the $250,000 to $500,000 range, that aim to show whether the idea embodies a new capability. If the idea cannot pass that initial test, it is probably not worth pursuing a full program based on it. Those small efforts are one

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Government/Industry/Academic Relationships for Technology Development: A Workshop Report area where Welby believed that small business engaged very well with the agency. He mentioned that these efforts were typically executed through BAAs, which allowed a small business to engage with the agency at a minimal cost in terms of resources. Typically, DARPA asks potential collaborators to submit a white paper rather than a more formal proposal. This allows the business to generate a two- or three-page concept paper that program managers can read quickly. The BAA process, in contrast to the formal RFP, allows significant interaction between the government sponsor and the respondents to the announcements. For example, management can sit down in a conference room around a white board with these small companies and flesh out the concept, identify what aspects of it are worth pursuing, and identify the portion of the concept that can be executed by a small business. Many of DARPA’s near-term, rapid-reaction papers on technological issues emerge from interactions with small business. They come from individuals who come in with one-page ideas, saying “I know how to do something that you don't yet know how to do." Walker’s final question was related to government prizes—specifically, the recent DARPA Grand Challenge. He asked Welby how the agency and how he, Welby, would characterize responses to such prizes. Do the prizes encourage small businesses or large? Do they encourage academia? Does DARPA see them as encouraging new ideas, even ideas that may prove not to be contenders in a challenge opportunity? Do the prizes encourage organizations, businesses, or academic interests to engage with DARPA and DARPA projects in other venues and other ways? Welby thought that the Grand Challenge was one of the more exciting things he had been involved with in the last year. He went on to say that when DARPA held a kick-off for the Grand Challenge at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles on February 22, 2003, it thought the event would be attended by a few interested participants. DARPA also thought that the agency would lay out a set of rules, potential participants would return home to work on the ideas, and everyone would convene in the desert 6 months later. When over a thousand people showed up, DARPA realized that the challenge would involve many more teams and many more participants than it had initially expected. There was great enthusiasm on the part of people who would normally never think about responding to a DOD activity, including high school students, university students, small businesses, and individuals operating out of their garages. Welby described one member of a team from upstate New York who competed on a television game show, won prize money, and invested it in building an autonomous robotic ground vehicle. He ran out of money halfway through the project and went back on the game show to win additional money. At the Grand Challenge main event, there were several thousand spectators out in the Mojave desert watching the launch of the vehicles and several thousand more people back in Las Vegas waiting for the vehicles to come in. In every way, the Grand Challenge overwhelmed expectations. Welby commented that the Grand Challenge had introduced a number of teams to DARPA and its mission and had succeeded in creating a new dynamic for interaction with DARPA. What was important, Welby said, was that teams had come together. Almost every vehicle involved collaboration among universities, among small businesses, or among individuals. During the Grand Challenge, DARPA sponsored meetings across the country for robotic vehicle enthusiasts and helped them team, obtain

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Government/Industry/Academic Relationships for Technology Development: A Workshop Report sponsorship, and locate equipment and parts. The effort is convoking vehicle experts, navigation experts, computer scientists, and sensor experts, and new vehicle concepts are being generated. Being introduced to people they would not otherwise have met was a bigger payoff for participants than direct contracting with the agency, according to Welby. Welby ended his comments on the Grand Challenge by saying that he was looking forward to next year’s event and expected that the biggest challenge for DARPA would be to decide which of the many robots would be allowed run the course. Charles Trimble continued the Question-and-Answer Period by saying that it sounded as if DARPA’s real mission was to minimize the risk associated with important ideas rather than to develop technology for a final product. Welby responded that DARPA was looking at eliminating risk for end users. Trimble had some thoughts on the Grand Challenge program. It appeared to him that DARPA was afraid someone might win the prize and had set clearly impossible criteria for success. That had not, however, deterred small business and university aspirants from forming collaborations to pursue the prize. He said DARPA was to be congratulated on its technique. This is probably the first time that many university students have been given a practical assignment. There has been great excitement from varied sources about solving these extremely difficult problems. Welby joked that he was looking forward to Trimble being proved wrong next year. With an off-road racing driver, he, Welby, had recently completed a course similar to the Grand Challenge course, and he hoped that someone with an autonomous vehicle would soon succeed. Molly Macauley asked how DARPA set priorities. Given that the agency has a limited budget and probably more than enough opportunities to pursue, how does the management team agree on what to fund for the current fiscal year? Macauley also asked about DARPA’s policy for terminating projects. She noted that project termination is something that other government agencies have a lot of trouble doing for a variety of largely political reasons. She asked Welby to explain further the criteria used to make such decisions and why DARPA did not experience the same political repercussions. Macauley also asked to what extent the DARPA approach could be useful for NASA. She believes that NASA emulates some of what DARPA does. There may be reasons why the model does not apply more fully to NASA in its current organization, but it could do so if NASA were reconfigured. Finally, Macauley asked Welby to elaborate on specific examples that demonstrate some of the problems that DARPA faces. Welby responded that his presentation had so far discussed DARPA processes from an internal viewpoint. Individuals outside DARPA might say that the agency moves too quickly in and out of areas, making investments and then moving on to other things without any follow-up. In fact, that modus operandi was deliberate, he said, even though there was something to be said for consistency of vision. DARPA is the wrong place to pursue a long-term technology development effort that requires continuity of purpose and a significant investment. Welby continued by describing an area of personal frustration—DARPA’s history of investments in machine vision. He believed there was still a tremendous amount of work to be done in this area, but that it was difficult to pursue that work as individual projects given the short duration of projects at DARPA. He recalled an interesting experience he’d had a couple of years before, when he spent a day attending meetings with the agency’s director, Anthony Tether. In the course of that day, the director received a

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Government/Industry/Academic Relationships for Technology Development: A Workshop Report number of proposal briefs on new areas, including spacecraft concepts, computer microprocessor technologies, and basic biological science efforts. Welby was struck by the challenge that Tether faced every day—having to choose from among not only the apples and oranges but also the prunes that are set in front of him. Welby went on to say that Tether spent a tremendous amount of time trying to engage externally, trying to understand the administration’s priorities, and helping to choose among many options. He has a very active outreach program at the agency with other agencies of government at the highest levels of leadership. The Vice President spent the day at DARPA in the spring of 2003. The Secretary and the Deputy Secretary of Defense also spent time with DARPA’s research and development staff. The NASA Administrator had also visited. DARPA management uses these interactions to help understand priorities and where people think the world is headed. But, Welby said, DARPA really used those opportunities as inputs to help management play a technically balanced and politically effective supportive role. Walker continued along this line by asking Welby to provide a better picture of the level at which DARPA decides priorities and the organization of the team that decides. Welby described DARPA as being structured into eight offices. Depending on its size, an office has two or three senior management staff. With an organization of that size, Welby said, management could bring individuals into a room and engage in fruitful discussions. Those discussions, however, must reflect the priorities that are generated outside the agency. Welby mentioned that DARPA was actively engaged with the armed services, with other organizations in the Office of Secretary of Defense, and with outside agencies. The agency’s director and senior staff meet with the chiefs of staff of the individual military services monthly or bimonthly. DARPA also occasionally co-locates personnel to provide outreach and serve as liaisons at important command locations worldwide. The real differentiator between an effort that DARPA chooses to pursue and an effort that it declines to pursue is the potential for high payoff. Macauley continued the line of discussion by asking how an idea was prioritized. For example, a few ideas are presented for vaccine research and a few for agricultural research. She asked how the DARPA team of senior managers would set priorities among those ideas. Does this team have a set of ranking criteria? Welby replied that DARPA used the questions he suggested earlier: What would be the real payoffs of a particular technology approach? How does the technology matter? He believed that DARPA’s culture promoted discussion of these approaches on their merits. Darrell Branscome said he assumed that one of the measures of success for DARPA as a whole was the portion of projects ultimately implemented by an armed service. Branscome asked what percentage of DARPA-funded projects made it into service-mission-funded procurements. Welby cited a study that looked at the percentage of programs that had transitioned over time.5 While Welby was unsure of the exact figure, he said it was higher than one might expect. Welby continued by saying that the variety and number of projects in which DARPA had been involved was striking. DARPA Order No. 1 was for the original Saturn booster. The agency had also been involved in redeveloping the M16 rifle. DARPA’s work in stealth technology and in advanced aircraft programs had had a tremendous success rate. 5   Institute for Defense Analyses. 2003. “Transformation and Transition: DARPA’s Role in Fostering an Emerging Revolution in Military Affairs.” Volume 1—Overall Assessment, IDA Paper P-3698, April.

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Government/Industry/Academic Relationships for Technology Development: A Workshop Report These high pay-off, high-visibility projects are only part of what DARPA funds. Much DARPA technology finds its way into other systems at the component level and into the development of new operational concepts. People have forgotten that the agency was involved in the beginning of many successful projects. Bobby Joe said he imagined that Northrop Grumman was just like any other company in the private industry. It funds its own projects and cooperates on projects that might be co-funded by agencies such as DARPA. Sometimes a government-funded technology finds its way into a system that a private company produces. It could be a small piece of electronic technology. It could be a piece of the stealth system. Stealth started with DARPA but then found its way onto different platforms. Sometimes a technology might not find its way immediately onto a specific system, but as another system is developed, an engineer might incorporate the technology in some fashion into a service-funded program. Branscome mentioned that DARPA was not responsible for sustaining any laboratories, which gave it a lot of additional freedom. He wanted to know how important the other DOD laboratories were to DARPA's overall success. Welby replied that the DOD laboratories were clearly critical to DARPA. He mentioned that DARPA was only one link in the technology development chain. Clearly, it makes no sense for everyone to be involved in the highest-risk work. Welby said he thought DARPA acted as an engine of acceleration. However, DARPA relies critically on new structures, wind tunnels and test ranges, DOD laboratories, academic laboratories, industrial laboratories, and on government facilities and laboratories for support. On any given day, DARPA has field and flight tests going on around the country. Those facilities and aircraft are operated, supported, and maintained by other organizations. However, DARPA does fund maintenance of these facilities, ultimately helping to upgrade them. Welby did say that ultimately those facilities were owned by the end users, which could then take the facilities and use them for other programs. Branscome’s final questions concerned the OTA. He asked Welby how often DARPA used that authority and how important it was to the success of the agency’s programs. Welby replied that the majority of DARPA’s large prototype system work was done using the OTA mechanism. For smaller efforts, where the work can be more clearly defined and the focus is not on a prototype, DARPA may use traditional contracting methods. There is a need for the kind of flexibility provided by the OTA for pursuing novel approaches, especially for large prototype systems. Branscome then asked Welby to expand on the types of authority and flexibilities that OTA provides. Welby replied that the OTA allowed DARPA to negotiate almost every aspect of the contractor relationship, from intellectual property rights to a set of generally binding FAR requirements. It requires participation from the contractual partner in a variety of ways, like bringing in participants or subcontractors that do not normally support the defense sector but that are able to share costs with the government. DARPA requires collaborators to submit a standard FAR proposal. After a judgment is made using the FAR, the contracting officers at DARPA evaluate the proposal using the OTA to see what other benefits an OTA agreement might offer to the government. It is only then that DARPA can determine which contracting vehicle to use. Dava Newman inquired about the role of technology roadmaps in the DARPA strategy. She mentioned that the recent Aldridge commission report explicitly

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Government/Industry/Academic Relationships for Technology Development: A Workshop Report recommended that NASA have a DARPA-like entity within it. She suggested that the attendees think about NASA and about the potential there for a “think tank.” Such an effort within NASA would not always have to consider technology in terms of roadmaps or to base programs strictly on requirements. It could coexist within the larger NASA organization as an incubator for technology. She recalled Welby had spoken of using very sharp people at universities and in industry who are excited about working on tough and challenging problems. NASA would love to learn how DARPA uses such individuals and how DARPA is able to promote innovation. Welby replied that he could not speak to the NASA structure, but that DARPA participated in technology roadmaps. He pointed out that a variety of work at the level of the Office of the Secretary of Defense related to technology roadmaps. The National Aerospace Initiative provides one such high-level, national technology roadmap. Roadmaps informed the agency’ s selection of projects, Welby said, but they did not drive it. DARPA tries to integrate its work with those overall national-level roadmaps, but only to the extent that they identify key gaps where additional work would be important. That work, however, comes about on its own merits and is not supported solely based on the technology’s inclusion in a roadmap. Federal agencies, including DARPA, often find themselves conforming to technology roadmaps rather than identifying gaps and finding technology opportunities. Welby also said that it was not necessarily a luxury to be ambivalent about requirements. DARPA is trying to reduce risk and work on particular products for immediate transition—something that individuals have difficulty understanding when they look at the agency. John Mankins continued the discussion by recalling Welby’s remarks on the university community and the nontraditional technical community—small businesses, entrepreneurs, and high school students—in the context of the Grand Challenge activity. He brought up a line of discussion that NASA had engaged in internally: Universities or other research and development entities were not going to be interested unless there was a guarantee of long-term funding. Mankins also referred to Welby’s statements on the termination of DARPA work that is not performing well. He asked if such an environment caused universities to shy away from working with DARPA. Welby mentioned that the duration of DARPA projects tended to fit very well with the tenure of graduate students and was nicely matched to support their development, but it was not matched to the long-term collaborative style at universities that generates investment. Welby went on to say that prizes did tend to offer real challenges to the technology community because DARPA did not directly pay for the technology development. It offers a prize and assumes that others will be interested in investing in an idea with the potential to win a prize. The Grand Challenge activity was a result of several years of thought on how to use novel mechanisms to inspire nontraditional innovation. The technical investment required for entry in the event was more or less affordable, but the technology challenges and that the prize itself were (and remain) the inspiration. An attendee extended the question period by asking if the UCAV program was deemed a success for DARPA. Welby replied that to some extent he thought it was. Another attendee said that several pieces were missing in Welby’s discussion of the UCAV legacy. In 1996, the X-36, the first tailless fighter jet, was introduced. It was a major advancement in aeronautics. The program was jointly developed by McDonnell-Douglass and NASA Ames Research Center and flight tested at NASA Dryden Research

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Government/Industry/Academic Relationships for Technology Development: A Workshop Report Center. This program demonstrates the relevancy of civilian technology for military uses and is a good example of cooperation. The same attendee continued by saying he thought it was a good thing that DARPA had taken this technology and pursued it further, developing it into a large program. Welby noted that a key aspect of cooperation was the ability to obtain the best and brightest from a variety of sources. DARPA's success and its unifying trait is to maintain a continual flow of bright project managers with excellent ideas, excellent backgrounds, and excellent experience. Such individuals lead to outstanding teams. DARPA has been successful at attracting those kinds of individuals from other organizations and backgrounds. DARPA is happy to work with them over a 4-year period, but it relies heavily on a much larger community to help develop their technical competence. INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVE (BY NORTHROP GRUMMAN) Bobby Joe, from the J-UCAS program at Northrop Grumman, began his presentation by providing information about the company and its recent growth. The company’s products are very diverse, ranging from submarines and surface ships to aerosystems and satellites to electronics. Some examples are the B-2 bomber, the F-18 fighter, the E-2C Hawkeye airborne early-warning command-and-control aircraft, and the Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS). He then began his main topic—DARPA’s J-UCAS program and Northrop Grumman’s path to the recently awarded operational assessment contract for this program. This award, according to Joe, was the result of a government and industry cooperative process. Without this cooperation, Northrop Grumman would still be stalled in the bureaucratic process of negotiating the requirements and price. The J-UCAS program is a very significant program for Northrop Grumman, and it fits in the overall strategy of the corporation and its vision for network-centered warfare. The J-UCAS team includes not only Northrop Grumman and many of its component companies but also other corporations such as Lockheed Martin, Pratt & Whitney, and GKN. Joe then provided a synopsis of the competition and award process. Northrop Grumman was already under contract to design and produce air vehicles to demonstrate certain capabilities of unmanned platforms. From the company’s perspective, it was a medium-size project that would keep it in the unmanned vehicle business. In late 2003, DOD Under Secretary Michael Wynne issued the directive to form a J-UCAS program office and conduct an operational assessment by fiscal year 2007. DARPA was appointed the government agency to manage this program. In February 2004, DARPA announced its plan to redesign the program, with implementation scheduled in July of the same year. This was an aggressive time frame, less than 6 months, for developing the requirements for the system and for having contractors in place, a task that usually takes from 12 months to 18 months to accomplish. However, through DARPA's cooperative process, contractors were enlisted to develop the requirements. The potpourri of requirements were those submitted by the two main services that would use the vehicle: the Air Force and the Navy. DARPA program managers then used these inputs to develop the specific requirements for the system.

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Government/Industry/Academic Relationships for Technology Development: A Workshop Report DARPA asked the contractors to provide information on their capabilities and to say what they felt could and could not be achieved. Several iterations between DARPA and industry occurred over a 2-month period. Joe described the Northrop Grumman perspective on the process. The company came up with an approach that would comply with the various requirements and that would utilize the company’s own internal technology investments. Northrop Grumman advised DARPA about which requirements the company could achieve, the likely time frame, and what technology could be achieved. This activity culminated in the issuance of proposal guidance to both Boeing and Northrop Grumman in May 2004. The guidance obviously considered input from all the industrial sources since some of the requirements in the documents were not those submitted by Northrop Grumman. Before the release of this proposal guidance, it was agreed that a letter would be used to achieve the contract in the time frame desired. Such a short time frame meant that the company and DARPA were in daily communication. The keys to this success, according to Joe, were the attitude of the parties involved and the establishment of a common objective. A schedule was developed that identified the individual program teams, the integrated program team, and the counterparts. These counterparts were scheduled to meet regularly, and they met even more frequently than scheduled in order to jointly develop the proposal. The objective was to reach agreement before a formal proposal was submitted. This process was used in lieu of the standard RFP vehicle of the federal government. Joe described the open and honest dialogue that was key to the success of the proposal development process. The teams also had good working relationships, which were key to reaching agreement and, for that matter, to agreeing on the resolution of any disagreements that might arise. The contract itself was also a collaborative process, whereby verbal agreement was first reached on what the company wanted in a business structure. There were disagreements along the way; however, its success was incumbent on the substantial involvement of the DARPA leadership and the contractor’s program leadership. This leadership possessed a willingness to resolve the disagreements, to understand the objectives of both parties, and to find a middle ground. Joe described the long discussions that had taken place and a few disagreements that had occurred even before the contract was mapped. As the program’s management reached certain agreements and found certain paths of resolution, it was decided that approval from senior management was necessary before proceeding. Communication was key to finding a middle ground between those involved. The proposal was then submitted at the end of June. Joe said that the J-UCAS program was based on an OTA. Industry regards this contracting mechanism as one that provides flexibility to push the technology envelope and achieve best efforts—the technical objective of the program. Although OTAs could require funding from industry, top-level management is now beginning to question such investments when no clear, concrete product opportunities with the government are foreseen. While industry recognizes that the defense budget is going to be reduced in the future, it is not deterred from trying to find a contract. The non-FAR-based agreement provided the procedural flexibility to achieve prototyping activity. Joe believed that the OTA was a very good way to advance technology.

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Government/Industry/Academic Relationships for Technology Development: A Workshop Report Joe provided another perspective on several of the questions that had been directed to Welby earlier in the discussion. On the subject of TRLs and risk management, he said that while Northrop Grumman did not apply this “formula” corporation-wide, he knew it did so in the new business area. As new programs are being developed, management asks program managers to determine what TRLs should be assigned to certain technologies within a specific project or system. After this has been done, the managers look at the technologies required for the program and determine whether they should be advanced internally or purchased from an external source. As the program is implemented, a risk management process is used to monitor technology maturity. Health metrics are used to assess the risk for a technology. Managers attempt to keep the risk as low as possible so that the consequences will be minimal as the technology is implemented. Joe also addressed the small business issue from the Northrop Grumman perspective. The company has received awards not only from NASA but also from DOD for its small business program. The company’s chief executive officer stresses the use of small business. Joe also said that the company tried to solicit technology from nontraditional suppliers that were not part of DOD’s program. Northrop Grumman has its own research and development (R&D) effort. The technology being matured from this effort is evaluated for use in a specific program after determining what the technology will do and what the ultimate goal of the program is. The R&D effort also bases its decision on what it believes the government will be funding in the future and on whether the government will be a customer for a specific technology. Question-and-Answer Period Moderator Walker began the Question-and-Answer Period by asking Joe to elaborate on (1) any unique contract forms used during the J-UCAS program to engage any suppliers or teammates and (2) any contractual mechanisms that were utilized to expedite deliveries. Joe responded that during development of the proposal and agreement, Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney had already been teaming with Northrop Grumman in different ways. For these partners, management did not employ the standard process but treated them as members of the corporation itself; both had a process through which they obtained required approval. However, Northrop Grumman basically provided a cost estimate for each part of the proposal and told Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney that this was what was going to be included in the proposal for their part of the work. Representatives of the two companies informally acknowledged that they agreed on the estimates and would attempt to obtain official management approval. Joe went on to describe Northrop Grumman’s use of preferred suppliers, for which there were various criteria and qualifications. These preferred suppliers are included in the company’s strategy and vision and are told what products the company is planning to pursue. They would also have an opportunity to bid on everything that Northrop Grumman pursues. Walker continued his questioning by asking Joe to discuss the sharing of proprietary information between companies in this kind of program and the arrangements for and

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Government/Industry/Academic Relationships for Technology Development: A Workshop Report limitations to the way industry communicates such information to the government customer. Joe said that when dealing with other companies, Northrop Grumman decided whether to develop the necessary technology internally or externally. When a technology is acquired externally, an agreement is made to exchange information and to put up firewalls. In the case of the J-UCAS program, Lockheed Martin had to share with Northrop Grumman intellectual property that could have given it a competitive advantage. However, Northrop Grumman protected the information by putting up firewalls and not allowing it to go outside the program. The information was made available to the customer (i.e., DARPA) with the same kind of protection. DARPA wanted the program to operate under typical government rights—that is, it wanted to be able to share certain information with other government agencies. However, Northrop Grumman and the rest of the team limited the rights on certain technologies: During the period of time in which the information could provide a competitive advantage it would be restricted, but after a certain number of years the government could take the technology and use it in other areas. DARPA’s Welby joined in the discussion by stating that the joint J-UCAS program was structured in a way that had some interesting rights issues. Two separate contracts, a Boeing contract and a Northrop Grumman contract, are being discussed. If both contracts are chosen for funding, a separate third contract, for what is referred to as the common operating system, will be used. The government’s intent is to have multiple airframe vendors all working together. Issues in this case include sharing of equities among vendors to ensure that there will be a common control system and flexibility that will allow the end user to select which capabilities it wishes to employ. Joe mentioned the closeness that already existed between the various companies. Some of Northrop Grumman’s counterparts are individuals that the corporation had teamed with on other programs or in the early stages of this program. Dialogue on the common operating system is ongoing between DARPA, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman. The ultimate goal is to have the different vehicle platforms communicate with each other. Joe said that at the beginning of the J-UCAS process, Northrop Grumman wondered how this communication would happen. But the corporation has found that such issues can be worked through while still protecting intellectual property. Walker again asked Joe to comment on Northrop Grumman’s relationship with small business and whether DARPA had required the corporation to include small businesses in the program. Joe responded that it was not a formal requirement from DARPA—rather, a few small businesses were brought in so that DARPA could access some of the technology they have that is applicable to specific parts of the system. Joe mentioned that no universities were involved. He did say that a lot of small businesses declined to participate in activities under a FAR contract owing to the expense of meeting some of its requirements. Under FAR, teams often must obtain waivers on certain items in order to employ a small business. Under an OTA, there is more flexibility. Walker continued by asking what processes Northrop Grumman had in place for conflict resolution and management among team members. Joe replied that for the JUCAS program, teammates such as Lockheed Martin, GKN, and Pratt & Whitney were essentially treated as companies within the corporate structure. As a result, the teammates manage, as part of that overall structure, their own product development and production. If disagreements arise that cannot be resolved by a product team itself, the

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Government/Industry/Academic Relationships for Technology Development: A Workshop Report program manager becomes involved. Weekly program reviews are held involving all participants, no matter where they are located. At these meetings, the customer—DARPA—observes the same problems that are being reported directly to the program managers. If a disagreement is not resolved at a weekly review, then it is addressed at an executive team meeting, typically held each quarter. The executive team meets to share strategies and visions and to resolve any such differences. Walker went on to ask if there was any international content in the program. If there was, was it government-encouraged or government-directed or was it sought by the team in order to meet a requirement? Were there any issues and lessons that could be pointed to in that regard? Joe replied that special permission was necessary in order to involve international partners. The international traffic in arms regulations (ITAR) are rather cumbersome and basically discourage a company from going after international involvement when a program has an aggressive time frame. Welby said there were ongoing discussions about internationalization of the UCAV effort. However, it was too soon to talk about this. Steering committee members continued to ask questions of the panelists. Charles Trimble mentioned that one might infer from Joe’s comments that Northrop Grumman was motivated to involve small business for reasons other than the contract requirements. Was that because there were unique technology issues—for instance, that small business could provide a more innovative framework, more technology drive, and more technology innovation than perhaps Northrop Grumman could get from traditional corporate entities? Joe replied that Northrop Grumman was motivated by a combination of those factors. Certain companies had technologies that Northrop Grumman wanted to use in the program to see if they would bear fruit. The corporation has its own goal—namely, to use small business for 40 percent of the DOD program base. Continuing along the same line, an attendee asked which processes Northrop Grumman used to seek out small businesses. Joe replied that Northrop Grumman’s materiel program is organized by commodity. The company finds as many businesses as possible that have a certain product line or commodity and that are registered with the DOD small business program and announces that it will be holding a conference to introduce small businesses in a certain area to the corporation and explain to them how to do business with it. These conferences are conducted at various locations in the United States. Branscome asked Welby to provide a DARPA perspective on its interaction with small business. Are the SBIR and STTR the only mechanisms, or are there others that DARPA uses to reach out to the small business community? Welby responded that DARPA attempted to use acquisition vehicles that were particularly amenable to small business. There are program phases sized purposely to be very appropriate for small business response. He also commented that DARPA was driven by a desire to reach out to an innovative community. When DARPA has a program manager who is very engaged with small business in technical matters, this manager virtually serves as a mentor to that small business. The program managers interact much more closely with the small companies than with some of the larger firms that have more arm’s-length contractual arrangements. DARPA finds it fruitful to bring small businesses on board at the appropriate contract scale and to engage them as early as possible in the process. The

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Government/Industry/Academic Relationships for Technology Development: A Workshop Report motivation for teaming with small businesses is the advantage it offers when pursuing high-risk technology. Branscome asked a related question about the involvement of universities in DARPA programs. Are there dedicated solicitations focused solely on universities, or does the agency plan solicitations that seek partnerships between industry and universities? Welby responded that DARPA did both. In the area of basic research, efforts are made to involve as many universities as possible. As with small business, the activities are scaled to a level appropriate for university participation. He mentioned that many DARPA programs consisted of teams of small participating universities. However, for the agency’s larger efforts and prototype programs, particular challenges exist for universities, including challenges associated with ITAR requirements, restricted rights, and the requirement to maintain academic and intellectual freedom. These issues need to be addressed, but in the basic research area, the DOD reaches out to universities in its MURI efforts. Also, the STTR mechanism mentioned earlier applies exclusively to collaboration between small businesses and universities. The STTR mechanism was found to be very effective for high-risk technologies. Branscome again asked Welby if DARPA had invited DOD government laboratories to compete against industry and universities by participating in solicitations and if DARPA’s acquisition activity was segregated so as to avoid competition between government and industry. Welby stated that DARPA tried to avoid setting up competitive relationships between contractors and government researchers. Statutory limitations are imposed on government laboratory participation in activities deemed competitive. Government laboratories and federally funded institutions have unique mechanisms by which to engage DARPA; these are independent of competitive efforts and tend to be more effective. Such mechanisms tend to be informal—they might, for example, entail a meeting of counterparts within government to discuss the possibility of collaborative programs without the trouble of competitive solicitations. DARPA also involves DOD laboratories in establishing joint programs. Welby believed that this was a better model for government agencies than a competitive model. Dava Newman asked Joe if Northrop Grumman, given the excitement surrounding the J-UCAS program and the opportunities if offered, had been able to attract stellar new hires to work on it. She also asked him for some details on the workforce for the project. Joe replied that new development programs attracted engineers who wanted to design and to work on a new project. The award of J-UCAS to Northrop Grumman did require an increase in staffing. It was a challenge for the corporation to staff not only the J-UCAS program but also other programs that competed for engineering resources. He said that the program was able to attract a lot of resources from outside and expected that the corporation itself would have to hire 300 more engineers. Subcontractors and suppliers to the program will also most likely require additional staff. An attendee commented that the mechanisms for cooperation described by Welby and Joe sounded like a standard customer-contractor relationship. He also referred to Joe’s description of the close relationship between the companies involved in the program and his description of university relationships, asking both speakers to elaborate further since he did not see the government-industry-university collaboration aspect of what was being discussed. Welby replied that his comments referred to the agency-wide approach at DARPA and not to a particular program or specific contract. He felt that Joe was

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Government/Industry/Academic Relationships for Technology Development: A Workshop Report referring specifically to the J-UCAS contractual effort with DARPA. Welby continued by saying that in parallel to the J-UCAS program, other technology development efforts were being contracted out that could, if successful, support the J-UCAS program. For example, a software-enabled control effort had been executed in cooperation with that program that involved a significant amount of university participation. This effort involved state-of-the-art guidance and control work, which led to a series of flight tests at Edwards Air Force Base earlier in 2004. The software-enabled control effort involved collaborations among all the major aerospace clients and university laboratories both in the United States and abroad. The effort demonstrated key technologies that were made available to both lead contractors under the J-UCAS effort (Northrop Grumman and Boeing). Welby said that under that previous technology development efforts, teams had built new capabilities, software, approaches for autonomous vehicle collision avoidance, and approaches for multiaircraft control systems. These capabilities (the intellectual property for which the companies did not possess on their own) were then demonstrated in a joint environment at a level of effort that universities would not have been able to handle alone. This government-developed capability has now been made available to all the contracting teams that are part of the J-UCAS follow-on acquisition programs. Welby believed J-UCAS was a good example of a very close collaboration early in the DARPA technology development effort leading to key advances that the agency hoped to see deployed in the aircraft acquisition program. An attendee asked if there had been any explicit attempts to exclude universities from the UCAV or J-UCAS programs or if any other conditions had been set. Welby responded that during the early stages of the UCAV program, key pieces of the effort were simply focused on engaging the larger research community. That method seemed to work and had found its way into the larger systematic acquisition programs based on merit. He said that many of the graduate students who had worked on the early UCAV experimentation programs and other programs associated with UCAV were now involved in the preliminary design reviews and critical design reviews for J-UCAS and on other major unmanned aircraft programs. Joe mentioned that the industry was transitioning not only through formal mechanisms but also through individuals. He also said that DARPA gave no guidance to specifically exclude universities. Benjamin Neumann asked about the timing of the UCAV development process in its two main phases. Did it fit well with the DARPA time frame for technology development and the entire life cycle of developing and terminating the project? Could DARPA use OTA or the standard SBIR mechanism with small business? Did DARPA have to do anything special? Neumann said that he was interested in how to get the SBIRs to be relevant and really useful. Welby replied that a portion of the DARPA budget, as authorized by Congress, was allocated to small business. Program managers tend to look on this as an opportunity to augment funding for particular programs. Since this small business program within DARPA also allows capturing a community of interest, program managers have an incentive to tap into as much of this basket of extra funding as possible. Welby said that the process of working with small business had two phases. First, a set of solicitation topics is brought to the community. This phase usually has some long lead times associated with it, but the agency is then able to move relatively quickly to

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Government/Industry/Academic Relationships for Technology Development: A Workshop Report execute the SBIR and STTR contracts. Second, the timeline for a Phase I SBIR/STTR—6 to 12 months—provides a deadline for deciding whether to continue funding the work that fits nicely into a 4- or 5-year DARPA program. At the end of the first year of investment, during concept development, the agency can determine whether the technology that has resulted from the focused small business efforts is mature enough to continue via a larger DARPA program or if a Phase II SBIR/STTR award would be the preferred path. Branscome continued the questions by asking how success was measured. He asked if DARPA had any information on its successes and failures in technology transfer. It would be good to know why something works (or does not) when technology and concepts are transferred to real hardware. Welby referred the audience to a DARPA-funded report by the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies on technology transfer, which included a few narrative examples of success and failure.6 When one looked at technologies that might bring about radical change, Welby said, challenges were encountered: Some of them were acceptable, others were organizational or bureaucratic, and even more turned out to be opportunistic and could be addressed later on, downstream. The Potomac Institute report does offer some insight into the reasons for success or failure. Sometimes the reason is not what an outsider might think it to be. Welby said that he considered programs that are terminated by DARPA as successes. The agency uses the information it has gained to build successes in the future, because it has a better understanding of the maturity of a technology and whether the technology is going to work. The community learns from its experiences. An attendee agreed, saying that simply learning what the trade space is and what the risks are can be characterized as a success. George Levin noted that DARPA’s programs lasted from 3 to 5 years. The agency’s organization is overlaid with a process that provides top-level guidance on areas for new investment. He said the short tenure of program managers meant there might be situations where two managers were in charge of the same overall technology development program. This can lead to some problems—one of them a not-invented-here attitude, which can lead to the termination of a program simply because the new program manager does not like what the old program manager was doing. That, in turn, can create problems for DARPA with industry, academia, and the small business community. How do you deal with that?, he asked. Welby replied that somehow this was not a bad thing. He repeated an analogy from the movie Groundhog Day that the DARPA director, Anthony Tether, liked to use. To some extent, a little institutional amnesia is acceptable, because one can forget the failures and revisit the technology trade space again with a new perspective. Sometimes the agency does things over and over until it succeeds. One good example is the unmanned aircraft area, where the maturation of the technology has allowed the program to address longer-endurance aircraft, which could not done initially. Welby said that senior management at DARPA did, in fact, constitute an institutional memory. Holders of director and deputy director positions tend to enjoy longer tenures, providing a mechanism by which the agency preserves some of its history. There is also 6   James Richardson, Diane Larriva, and Stephanie Tennyson. 2004. Transitioning DARPA Technology. Arlington, Va.: Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.

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Government/Industry/Academic Relationships for Technology Development: A Workshop Report quite a bit of continuity in the contractor base and in the DARPA-affiliated technical community as a whole.