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Sat, Aug 24, 2019

DOD Plans 'Trusted Capital' Program To Match Small UAS Makers With Investors

Initiative Announced At AUVSI Unmanned Systems Defense. Protection. Security In Washington

The U.S. Department of Defense will roll out a "trusted capital" program this fall aimed at bolstering the domestic industrial base for small unmanned aircraft, said Ellen Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment.

Lord, kicking off the first day of AUVSI Unmanned Systems Defense. Protection. Security in Washington, saying, "we are not innovating on the business side of things as quickly as technology is being innovated and applied to warfighter missions."

One effort afoot is to strengthen the defense industrial base in areas including rare earths and small UAS, both areas where "China has flooded our market, to the point where we do not have a resilient and secure industrial base. What has this done for us? It's allowed us to get presidential determinations signed out that allow us to spend money in these areas to strengthen the supply base," she said.

The DOD can intervene when a foreign entity wants to acquire a U.S. company that has critical technology related to national defense, "but that's playing defense, and that only gets you so far," she said.

In late October or early November, the department is rolling out a trusted capital marketplace project whose objective is "to get secure sources of capital together with typically small, innovative companies that have technology and early stage products in the sectors we identify ... and bring the two together to try to get investment in the areas that the Department of Defense thinks it's critical," she said.

It won't be corporate matchmaking on a one-to-one basis, but rather would bring a number of companies that meet DOD needs criteria together with vetted sources of capital "and allow them to create their own ecosystem and begin to invest in one another."

It will focus on small UAS, "where we have a deficit of capability but a lot of technology." It will build on work done by the Army, and "we want to make sure that we brand certify companies, large groups of companies, as those the Department of Defense is interested in and would like to see mature their products."

(Image provided with AUVSI news release)

FMI: www.auvsi.org
www.defense.gov

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