The Department of Defense (DoD) requires quick access to evaluation personnel and facilities to deliver rigorous and DoD-compliant assessments at scale. The Department, however, has a limited capacity for assessing new technologies and their potential impacts to the warfighter. Typically, candidate technologies are brought onto a DoD environment through a process that is impeded by security constraints, budgeting gaps, and limited testing personnel capacity limits.
With the increasing speed of technology development, DoD’s ability to assess new technology solutions has become a limiting function. Traditional commercial test facilities are the customary solution, a fast and responsive process to access those personnel and facilities in a responsive manner that results in rigorous and DoD-complicit assessment at scale.
As such, DoD is at a disadvantage to its adversaries. In order to keep pace with our adversaries, DoD seeks a solution to create and operate a rapid, commercial-like process of vetting technology, with the private sector that will result in assessments that meet government standards. This prototype will act as a proof of concept for the feasibility of incorporating more commercial methods of vetting technology within the DoD context, with the intent of greatly accelerating assessments of emerging unproven/undemonstrated technologies at a pace that remains relevant to rapidly-changing technology and adversary environments.
A successful prototype will enable the government to examine, demonstrate, and assess technologies with mid or high technology readiness levels for both commercial solutions and DoD-developed technology. The government envisions a process where specific technologies or technical areas will be assessed at the request of the government and with government involvement built into the process. Assessments must result in formal reports or similar products to inform tactics, techniques, and procedures based on a given technology’s unique attributes. The utility of these reports, combined with the speed and responsiveness of the process from request to report delivery, will be the key evaluation factors.
Given the breadth of expertise required to assess technologies across multiple domains, multi-company solutions or partnerships are likely.
As a proof of concept, Proving Ground seeks to leverage commercial environments to assess technologies. Several examples may include but are not limited to:
- Quantum secure communication of voice and data in commercial networks using Internet of Things devices;
- Non-standard use of open-source information to inform effects; and
- Autonomous logistics and disruptive causes and effects.
It is envisioned that the DoD will be responsible for:
- Selecting companies/technology areas for assessment;
- Determining financial implications of pursuing different technologies;
- Defining system attributes for assessment; and
- Approval and acceptance of the testing and assessment deliverables.
Threshold (must have):
- Experience with evaluation of technology and the comparison of multiple technologies; and
- Demonstrated capability to access and vet technology in a variety of geographic and commercial environments (e.g. digital, urban, rural, industrial, maritime) while providing the necessary equipment (e.g. virtual sand tables, air gapped servers, ranges and equipment etc.) to effectively execute testing and demonstrations.
- Facility clearance;
- Personnel with clearances; and
- Experience in setting up digital twins is a plus.
By being selected as the vendor executing the Proving Ground process, it is not possible to submit your own products for selection by Proving Ground, nor have financial interest in technologies assessed by the process. Depending on the proposed solutions and the technology being assessed, vendors could be rendered ineligible from competing on government solicitations. It is also possible that the government will be required to vet existing financial interests of offerors from an ethical standpoint to be eligible for award under this AOI.
- The government may facilitate teaming arrangements among submissions offering complimentary capabilities to achieve desired effect. Companies are also welcome to present their own teaming arrangements in their solution briefs. However, if a component of a solution brief is compelling, the government may request that the provider of that component team with another solution provider.
- Companies without a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code code will be required to register in the System for Award Management (SAM), if selected. The government recommends that prospective companies begin this process as early as possible.
- Resellers, integrators, and academic research proposals are not desired.
- Preference will be given to submitting vendors who have an established cyber/networking/comms evaluation environment at scale.