Naval Research Advisory Committee (NRAC) recently released NRAC Report – Autonomous and Unmanned Systems in the Department of Navy.
“A key finding of this study is that while the U.S. may currently have the advantage in autonomous systems, our adversaries are catching up. In some technical areas, our adversaries may already be ahead. The gap between defense and industry is growing – which in turn provides another vector for adversaries to leapfrog our autonomous capability. They might, for example, simply buy small U.S. entrepreneurial companies where much of the cutting edge technology is being developed.”
Specifically, the report recommends:
-Buy much more using Other Transactional Authority, as forcefully directed by Congress, whenever possible.
-Demand plans from type commanders to leverage existing autonomy to generate new capability.
-Create a “Shark Tank” approach to internal naval innovation funding within the DoN, and fund with an initial $50M pilot.
-Create Naval-oriented incubators in the Silicon Valley and the Boston areas.
-Create a DoN-owned venture firm with $30M patterned on In-Q-Tel.