CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA – Approximately 600 industry, academic, government and research professionals attended the Information Warfare Research Project (IWRP) Consortium Industry Day, hosted by Advanced Technology International (ATI) of Summerville, in collaboration with Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command Aug. 13 at Trident Technical College. An additional 300 attendees across the U.S. tuned into the conference online.
The IWRP event was designed to provide small businesses and non-traditional industry partners information on a new consortium program established under the Other Transaction Authority (OTA) construct. The management of the IWRP consortium was awarded by SPAWAR to ATI on June 26, 2018. The IWRP allows the use of an alternative acquisition process, called an OTA, that works to streamline acquisition processes, develop prototypes, and rapidly provide advanced technologies to the fleet. Using the OTA, the government will gain more access to non-traditional industry partners.
The event offered attendees the opportunity to participate in various information sessions where they heard directly from ATI and SPAWAR representatives on the purpose and goals of IWRP. Through the sessions, attendees learned about the OTA construct, how membership through the IWRP Consortium benefits the company and the Navy and received first-hand awareness on upcoming SPAWAR projects.
“What a thrill it was to take part in the kick-off of this exciting new venture along with our neighbors at SPAWAR and industry partners. It was standing room only,” said Bob Tuohy, Chief Operating Officer at ATI, IWRP’s consortium manager. “It’s clear there is tremendous interest in this opportunity to address some of the nation’s most interesting technology challenges. Simply put, the IWRP Consortium establishes a collaborative environment to drive prototype development by leveraging industry, government and academia capabilities. At the end of the day, this consortium is about getting the best technology and tools into the hands of our warfighters, faster than currently possible.”
As managers of the consortium, ATI provides SPAWAR the mechanism to reach a wide range of experts across a variety of technology areas, to address specific information technology challenges through prototype development with speed not possible through traditional acquisition methods.
“When you think about what we are trying to do, speed is an integral part of our strategy,” said Chris Miller, SPAWAR Systems Center (SSC) Atlantic executive director. “When we talk about how we actually get at prototyping, how we get at rapid transition and how we get a capability in our warfighter’s hands, this is one of the tools.”
Businesses that join the consortium also have the opportunity to present independent research topics and technical solutions to SPAWAR for consideration, allowing for a more collaborative acquisition process.
“Through the IWRP we want to encourage a two-way exchange of information with members,” said Bill Deligne, SSC Atlantic deputy executive director. “SSC Atlantic will have specific technology needs that we will submit to the consortium; however, the intent is for members to also feel empowered to propose unsolicited research to ATI for SPAWAR to consider. This type of communication can be invaluable as we seek to attract cutting-edge solutions for the warfighter.”
IWRP covers all of the major scope areas associated with Information Warfare, including cloud computing, data science and analytic technologies, assured communications, enterprise resource tools, collaboration and social networking, autonomy, mobility, assured command and control, integrated fires, battlespace awareness, model-based systems engineering, on-demand manufacturing and embedded systems in the “Internet of Things (IoT).”
“Your ideas in these domains are where I’m really looking for us to knock it out of the park and stay focused on why we are here,” said Capt. Scott Heller, SSC Atlantic commanding officer. “And why we are here is to be ready for war tomorrow, whenever that tomorrow occurs. We need to share with you where we think we need to go, and you need to share with us where we could go if we only knew.”
Industry Day sessions, such as the Consortium 101 and a briefing on SPAWAR opportunities, illustrated to attendees how businesses, academia and research organizations could fit into the larger consortium construct and the overall process for membership and participation in the future.
“A core component of any OTA consortium is training,” said Tuohy. “An event like today is a great opportunity to educate members and potential members on ways to leverage the benefits of the consortium, from the basics of how to join IWRP, to navigating contracting processes and future teaming opportunities.”
Companies, universities or research organizations unable to attend the Industry Day are still able to apply for membership to the consortium through ATI and should visit the following link to learn more: https://www.theiwrp.org/.
SPAWAR identifies, develops, delivers and sustains information warfighting capabilities supporting naval, joint, coalition and other national missions. SPAWAR consists of more than 10,000 active duty military and civil service professionals located around the world and close to the fleet to keep SPAWAR at the forefront of research, engineering and acquisition to provide and sustain information warfare capabilities to the fleet. For more information, go to http://www.public.navy.mil/spawar.