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Department of Defense Opens $10 Billion Tech Grant – For One Month Only

Highlights

  • The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is offering $10 billion for the development of commercial technologies geared toward military maintenance under its CTMA program.

  • To qualify, applicants must develop and manage collaborative project teams that can meet the unique needs of the DoD.

  • The application period for this funding opportunity opened on July 24, 2023, and proposals are due by August 25, 2023.

 

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Defense released its largest Commercial Technologies for Maintenance Activities (CTMA) opportunity ever – $10 billion in total program funding. This program, managed by the Washington Headquarters Service Acquisition Directorate (WHS/AD), is the only DoD-wide program focused solely on maintenance improvements. The program is soliciting applications for one month only, closing on August 25, 2023.


Background


First launched in 1998, the CTMA is a cooperative agreement program in partnership with the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Materiel Readiness (ODASD MR), and the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS). As Janice Bryant, Expeditionary and Sustainment Maintenance Manager at the Naval Sea Systems Command, described it, "CTMA is one of the only mechanisms that moves as fast as they do. Getting a technology to demonstration within 45 days is almost unheard of."


The CTMA seeks to guarantee that American soldiers and their equipment are prepared to handle any circumstance and furnished with the latest and well-maintained platforms, data, and tools. To achieve this, CTMA provides funding for technology demonstrations, evaluations, and validations to enhance reliability and sustainability, ultimately benefiting the U.S. military, industrial base, and national security.


A Bridge Between Academia, Industry, and Military Readiness


The CTMA initiative is a collaborative program that seeks to foster partnerships between academic and industry entities in order to improve the readiness of the military. Through collaboration with CTMA, organizations can pool resources, bridge the gap between innovation and commercialization, safeguard intellectual property, and contribute to DoD preparedness while also achieving their own corporate goals.


The program has successfully overseen over 700 projects with a 92% success rate, marking it as a highly effective platform for collaboration among industry, academia, and the DoD. CTMA's success lies in its ability to provide a streamlined contracting vehicle in partnership with industry and academia, fostering the development, integration, and use of commercial sustainment technologies that can significantly improve warfighter readiness.


Invitation to Innovators: $10 Billion on the Table


This funding opportunity seeks innovators who demonstrate the ability to develop and manage collaborative project teams, identify customer needs, develop collaborative initiatives, and marshal the necessary resources to further the DoD's interests. For context, the 2020 CTMA opportunity provided $900 million.


Qualifying projects enhance the reliability and sustainability of military equipment, ensuring the readiness of American military personnel and gear. Such projects may involve the following activities:

  1. Demonstration and evaluation of new technologies designed to improve military maintenance efficiency.

  2. Development of equipment and technologies designed to strengthen the U.S. military, industrial base, and national security.

  3. Initiatives that bridge academic research, industrial innovation, and military preparedness, facilitating the rapid deployment of commercial sustainment technologies.

Funding recipients will be tasked with leveraging and advancing commercial developments in maintenance and sustainment technologies for the benefit of U.S. industry and the public. Successful recipients, who can form effective collaborative projects, can potentially secure $50M per year or more in government sponsorship and an additional significant percentage in industry cost share.


The funding opportunity aims to fund a minimum of one and a maximum of three cooperative agreement awards over a five-year period. The total amount awarded will not exceed $10 billion, including both direct and indirect costs. Cost-sharing is not mandatory but is encouraged. By contributing their own resources, applicants can demonstrate their commitment to the project's success and potentially enhance their chances of being selected for funding.


The Department of Defense intends to allow for flexibility and adaptability in the execution of funded projects. As such, in-scope post-award modifications to add new projects are expected. These modifications may be awarded either on a sole-source basis or competed between awardees, depending on the Government’s requirements. This element of flexibility is intended to foster innovation and adaptability, ensuring that the funded projects remain relevant and impactful over time.

GrantExec Insight: Given the significant funding available, interested parties should be proactive in preparing their proposals, paying careful attention to the stipulated guidelines and deadlines. We recommend reviewing the five mandatory documents in the "preview" tab on grants.gov. Additionally, candidates that can leverage past successes and demonstrated capabilities will gain an edge over competitors. A panel of experts will review all proposals. Proposals that receive a rating of Marginal or Unacceptable in any category, or that do not comply with submission instructions, will not be considered for funding.

This funding opportunity expands a pathway for innovators in maintenance and sustainment technologies to significantly contribute to the defense sector. The size of the grant signals the U.S. government's commitment to maintaining its edge in defense technology and readiness.


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