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