DARPA Strategic Technology Office RFI Seeks New Capabilities and Concepts

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Strategic Technology Office (STO) develops technologies that provide national security leaders with trusted disruptive capabilities to win across all physical domains (air, space, sea, and land) and across the competitive spectrum , from deterrence to high-end peer-to-peer warfare. Leveraging advances in advanced microelectronics, increasing computing power and applying machine learning/artificial intelligence, STO will seek solutions in the areas of advanced active and passive sensing; battlefield effects; command, control and communications; autonomous systems systems; and Empower humans to make decisions. STO will develop and deliver solutions at an operationally relevant speed and scale in just a few years from project launch to proof of concept.

In order to reach the widest range of potential performers on future office projects, this Request for Information (RFI) is seeking information from potential performers in any or all of the fields of study listed below. This RFI will provide a mechanism to inform the Office of new capabilities and concepts and potential implementers who will provide them. DARPA will use this information to identify companies and individuals to whom the STO will invite further substantive discussions to inform future projects and programs, as necessary, in an appropriately categorized environment.

An area of ​​continued interest for STOs is technologies that can make significant strides in finding difficult, elusive “targets.” This includes creating new modalities, sensors and signal processing techniques that leapfrog target detection, tracking and recognition. STO also envisions a future of sensing and networking where there is “nowhere to hide” without any countermeasures. STOs are interested in thwarting sensors and communication systems, with the goal of providing sanctuary for military operations. Advances in mobility and signal processing autonomy have enabled the emergence of distributed systems for operation, sensing, and attack. Techniques for achieving higher levels of autonomy, methods for building trust in autonomous systems, and mechanisms for extending this autonomy and related platforms are of interest. It is also interesting to see techniques on how to address system failures and problems encountered by autonomous systems in communication-constrained environments. There is a direct trade-off between trust in autonomous systems, training in battle management/command and control, and the capacity and robustness of our communications networks, which enable a large part of our modern lives. Efforts in hardware and software have created a robust software-defined radio ecosystem covering many radio frequency bands, including highly directional radios. Other efforts have created adaptive gateways to bridge between highly disparate networks. STO is interested in new approaches to communication networks that are scalable for highly directional and widely disparate radio systems. STO understands that communication is fleeting at best, so a task-level or information-centric approach to routing is required. The potential to move from endpoint control to using intermediate gateways, routers or endpoints that can be adapted to system/task needs is of interest.

New areas of interest stem from STO’s broad research field, which enables the Office to rethink competition. The Department of Defense (DoD) is primarily concerned with competition related to battlefield activities and creating asymmetries that benefit the U.S. military. Recent world events have demonstrated the impact of other aspects of competition, such as the economy, the environment, markets and manufacturing. Therefore, STOs are interested in technologies that create opportunities for asymmetry in these broad competitive fields. The goal of these asymmetries is to set favorable conditions and maximize optionality for the infinite (vs. finite, single focus) race to resolve these other dimensions. These infinite races are very complex and have significant state ambiguity, requiring an approach similar to the observation-orientation-decision-action (OODA) loop. One approach might be to develop a detect-perceive-decide-adaptive loop. Techniques that can be used to provide such capabilities include: active sensing, perturbation testing, active learning, experimental economics, and causal experimentation. STO is interested in solutions and technologies that address alternative competitive domains that have an impact on DoD missions. This includes the linkages between competitive areas and DoD missions, the asymmetry required, and the technologies that enable the asymmetry. Over the past three decades, the commercial industry has monetized many areas of technology that were originally the focus of the Department of Defense. Its impact is a significant and dominant level of business research and development resources. STO is investigating ways to use these investments to carry out DoD missions. STO is interested in potential commercial systems, components, manufacturing processes, standards, and technologies that can be leveraged and/or enhanced to provide new DoD capabilities for strategic surprise.

This RFI seeks responses addressing the following areas:

1) A list of research areas that each respondent could address to include applicable physical areas.

2) The level of experience in technology transformation and the method used by the technology.

3) Permit level of the relevant classification facility.

Read more at SAM.gov

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