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CHIPS Articles: Q&A with Cynthia Gonsalves

Q&A with Cynthia Gonsalves
Acting Director, Office of Technology Transition, Office of the Deputy USD for Advanced Systems & Concepts
By CHIPS Magazine - April-June 2008
As the Acting Director for the Office of Technology Transition (OTT), Ms. Cynthia Gonsalves is responsible for formulating policies and establishing and managing programs that transition advanced technologies from research and development (R&D) to weapons systems in an affordable manner to assist in the commercialization of defense technologies. OTT is federally mandated by Congress under the following authorities: 15 U.S.C. 3710-15, Technology Innovation; 10 U.S.C. 2515, Office of Technology Transition; and 10 U.S.C. 2359a, Technology Transition Initiative.

The CHIPS staff heard Ms. Gonsalves' presentation to the U.S. Joint Forces Industry Symposium in July 2007 and asked her to discuss the critical work of the OTT in accelerating technology into defense systems in December. David Appler, an OTT staff assistant, also joined the discussion in December 2007.

CHIPS: Your presentation discussing the work of the OTT at the USJFCOM Industry Symposium was fascinating.

Ms. Gonsalves: I am in the Office of Technology Transition, which is uniquely positioned in the Defense Department within the Director of Defense Research and Engineering and under the Deputy Under Secretary for Advanced Systems and Concepts. We have the opportunity to have five programs in our office. Some have funding that allows us to work with the private sector and with the Defense Department laboratories in transferring as well as transitioning technology to the private sector and to programs of record.

The programs are: Technology Transfer; Technology Transition Initiative (TTI); Manufacturing Technology Program (ManTech); the Defense Production Act Title III; and North American Technology and Industrial Base Organization (NATIBO).

CHIPS: Are you working with mature technology or technologies that are going to be available 10 to 20 years down the road?

Ms. Gonsalves: We are looking at both areas: at mature technology and at technology innovations. We are trying to accelerate the use of technology, whether it has just been invented, is just ready to go to market, or whether it is technology that we've known about but have not inserted into any of our systems yet. We are looking for innovation and transition pathways.

CHIPS: Would you like to explain the OTT's programs?

Ms. Gonsalves: Certainly, I would love to talk about our programs. The Manufacturing Technology Program is a congressionally authorized program that allows us to invest in production processes that are pervasive across systems, platforms or components where we can scale up the manufacturing process to meet requirements for the Defense Department.

We have several examples of that from the 1950s where we developed the original numerically controlled machine tools all the way through current efforts in fielding of lightweight body armor and composites affordability initiatives. Several things are going on there, and we see this program as a growing one across the department.

For the Defense Production Act Title III Program, we have authority to do some unique things working with the private sector. We can create or expand production capacity for national security needs; we can establish partnerships and provide other incentives to industry.

Under Title III, we can provide engineering support to improve quality and yield. We can make purchases for process validation and qualification tests. We can provide support to develop strategic business and marketing plans for the companies. We can purchase or install production equipment, and we can provide the guaranteed market so that companies have a production capability that they are gearing up to meet.

Some of the things we have done are modernizing the domestic manufacturing capabilities for radiation-hardened electronics, providing technology for laser-protective eyewear to U.S. companies so they can get into production, and we have established a viable production base for silicon carbide substrates where the systems provide higher operating temperatures, greater power handling capability, and higher speed and operating frequency.

Those are two programs and they have tight criteria to apply for — but when we need to use them — they are powerful tools for the Department. One of the programs I talked about at the symposium was the Technology Transition Initiative. With this program, we have about $30 million a year to facilitate the rapid transition of technology from our S&T (science and technology) portfolio into acquisition programs of record.

There are specific criteria. (See TTI text box.)It starts with TTI funding, which accelerates the product transition, and the last criterion is commitment to an acquisition and procurement path. There are weighted criteria with the heaviest weight being commitment to acquisition. This is where I am looking for a commitment from a program office so that if we fund the final stages, qualification or testing, or buy initial product for the program, they will pick it up and buy it into the future.

Your readers may want to know that we will be coming out with a call for proposals the first part of March. (Go to www.acq.osd.mil/ott/tti/ for information.) We are looking for the services and Defense agencies to provide submittals to us.

The TTI program is a joint program. Each of the services, some Defense agencies and U.S. Special Operations Command are allowed to submit a certain number. The services submit 10 proposals, and Defense agencies may submit five for this potential funding. The key thing with the Technology Transition Initiative is that we want to fund technologies having impact for the warfighter. We can only do this by ensuring the commitment to acquisition as the end state.

Another program that I talked about was the Technology Transfer Program. This is new at JFCOM. They are just starting to use CRADAs (Cooperative Research and Development Agreements) and other tools that are available such as Education Partnership Agreements.

Many times in the Defense Department we develop technology and capabilities, and industry, at the same time, develops similar capabilities. We would like to be able to work jointly to leverage each other’s resources to take technology to the next level and commercialize it.

The reason DoD is interested in commercializing the technology is [that] we are not in the production business. Private industry is in the production business. We want industry to take our technologies and utilize them. We have made the heavy investment upfront, and we want to be able to buy products incorporating that technology.

We have examples like the Hearing Pill™, Attenuating Custom Communication Earpiece System (ACCES), HemCon Bandages, laser rangefinders, Battlefield Medical Information System-Tactical [BMIST] — and many things that I could go through in more detail with you.

This program is not new; it is something we want to grow — transferring technologies that the DoD has developed to the private sector for mutual application.

We use various capabilities to support technology transfer efforts. One is Partnership Intermediary Agreements. Our Partnership Intermediaries facilitate deals for us with the private sector and coordinate working agreements to develop capability jointly.

We have many success stories from doing this. If you go to www.dodtechmatch.com, you will see many of the success stories from these agreements.

We also have a partnership with an organization called MilTech (www.miltechcenter.com/). We are trying to leverage the Department of Commerce’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership Centers (www.mep.nist.gov/). They have about 500 centers across the country to help small firms with manufacturing problems. Using MilTech, we can provide this assistance for small companies. It involves manufacturing and quality assurance assistance, looking at their production line and giving them advice on how it might be better postured to ramp up production capabilities. It includes a variety of things to ensure that we can obtain the capability that we need.

CHIPS: It sounds like a complex process. Are you looking at a 20-year program?

Ms. Gonsalves: Absolutely not! We are trying to accelerate that timeline. We would all like to see something out there today and tomorrow, but reality is that it takes time to do things. For the Technology Transition Initiative, my goal is two years because it fits the DoD budget cycle.

If I have a program manager committing to buy something two years from now, I am willing to put in two years of funding. Other things may take longer. Some of our projects have gone out to four years; the preference is to keep them shorter. Remember, I am not looking at basic research. We are looking at things that are mid-level maturity.

CHIPS: When you talk about these marvelous technologies… are you working with all the services and government labs, not just industry?

Ms. Gonsalves: We have between 80 and 100 laboratory sites in the Defense Department.

CHIPS: Are you working with academia?

Ms. Gonsalves: Absolutely! We work with universities, other federal government laboratories and headquarters-level organizations, all the DoD laboratory structure and the private sector.

CHIPS: There have been observations in the technology press lately that the Defense Department was once the leader in technology; for example, in the development of ARPANET, the origin of the Internet, but that is no longer the case.

Ms. Gonsalves: Our office looks at that in terms of the amount of dollars we are investing in research and development and the amount of dollars the private sector is putting into research and development. If you look at the trend for the last 20 years, while our DoD R&D budget is increasing, industry is investing significantly more in independent research and development.

We used to fund about 75 to 80 percent of basic research in this country, but DoD is now funding about 20 percent. Industry has picked up the remainder.

Mr. Appler: But that is not just DoD; that goes across the whole federal government. The numbers Cynthia mentioned apply across the whole federal spectrum, including agriculture and energy. Up until the early 1980s, the federal government was the big bill payer in basic and applied research and advanced development in the United States. In that 20-year period, it switched over to the private sector, and the federal government and private industry traded places.

One major exception is NIH (National Institutes of Health) because Congress made a national commitment to double their research budget. The NIH basic and applied research budget is larger than the rest of the federal government research budget put together. That was a conscious shift.

Let me give you a different perspective. In the 1960s, the Defense Department was probably the biggest bill payer in pushing technology and state-of-the-art communications technology. With the advent of cellular phone technology and Internet technology, the federal government is a small percentage in that total marketplace.

We are not driving that train any more.

We are trying to find ways to see what industry is doing from a commercial point of view to leverage it for DoD. The major investment is taking place in the private sector because that is the major source of income to that industry.

The federal government is not the big bill payer any more so it is harder for us to have a seat at that R&D table.

CHIPS: Are you still seeing innovations from American companies in spite of the controversy claiming that the United States is not graduating enough scientists to be competitive in a global market?

Ms. Gonsalves: That is true. The United States is not producing enough scientists and engineers for our future inventions and economic viability. There are several federal government programs to try to reverse that trend.

If you are interested in that, I suggest that you talk with Dr. Will Rees, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Laboratories and Basic Sciences. That organization is the DoD lead on educational programs, but it is a major issue for the federal government when looking at our workforce of the future.

Mr. Appler: A good information resource is the National Science Foundation (www.nsf.gov/). By statutory mandate, it collects a lot of information directly and indirectly through the U.S. Census Bureau and several other agencies on science and engineering data.

The National Science Board (www.nsf.gov/nsb/) does an assessment of science and technology on a biannual basis for the NSF, not just from the government perspective but for the nation as a whole. They write articles and do assessments of U.S. levels of science and engineering versus other countries and levels of education and concentration.

Reports are in a narrative format with the statistical data as a basis of forming conclusions and speculating on trends.

CHIPS: Is there anything else you would like CHIPS readers to know about your programs?

Ms. Gonsalves: I think we could make the use of Technology Transfer Tools more widely available across the Defense Department to leverage the capabilities that we have now. We probably could do a better job of that.

The unique individuals and offices that are using these now are finding that a lot of the return from doing this outweighs any upfront investment we might have done. I would like to see that leveraging capability used more widely.

I am interested in reaching those organizations that might be able to provide proposals to fund through our Technology Transition Initiative and to use the tools in the Technology Transfer toolbox more widely. I think the technology transfer tools offer capabilities that other tools in the Department don’t allow.

Mr. Appler: One of the challenges we have in the Defense Department, using communications as the example, is that historically we were driving our own technology agenda for our own R&D investments, and we had one perspective.

One of the focus areas for the Honorable John Young, our new Under Secretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, and many of the people that report to him, is that there is a lot of good technology in the commercial sector, but it is challenging to find a way to take a commercial technology that was developed for a civilian purpose, unrelated to a military need, and refocus that back into the Defense Department. How can we insert innovative technologies at the right time into DoD systems?

It’s a business model that we haven’t developed well. We are used to nurturing our own technology and development, and then trying to find a way to utilize it. We are not good at tapping into that non-military market.

The process is there but making the process function effectively is a challenge. When you have a paradigm shift, it is hard to adjust habits, especially something as large as the Defense Department.

CHIPS: I noticed that you do a lot of traveling, Ms. Gonsalves. What is the purpose of your travel?

Ms. Gonsalves: One [purpose] is to tell industry groups about the programs that we have and where we want to work with them. Second, I want to talk with DoD folks about the capabilities we have and ask them to help us identify any barriers that we need to break down to do our jobs better. Third, I want to make sure that the programs in which I am involved are on track and focused to get technology out to the warfighter.

CHIPS: How do you learn about the small companies that you want to help through MilTech?

Ms. Gonsalves: We hear about them in a variety of ways. In some cases, they come directly to our office. Or one of the services or agencies sees technology that is great and they want to go forward, but they have an issue, and they come to find out if we can help to identify a way to overcome that problem. MilTech may have that solution.

I also hear about them from other program offices within the Defense Department. These are usually small companies that have some connection with our program, they are taking our technology to market or they have a contract to do some work for DoD, and it is a capability that we need to deploy now. We have to find the most efficient way to get that capability deployed.

DoD Technology Transfer and Transition Programs
Authorized by:
15 U.S.C. 3710-15, Technology Innovation
10 U.S.C. 2515, Office of Technology Transition
10 U.S.C. 2359a, Technology Transition Initiative

Technology Transfer Programs

TechTRANSIT (www.acq.osd.mil/ott/techtransit/) is your access to Department of Defense technology transfer pro¬grams policies and resources. TechTRANSIT promotes part¬nering opportunities between the private sector and defense labs and improved accessibility of technology transfer informa¬tion and activities.

North American Technology and Industrial Base Organization (NATIBO) (www.acq.osd.mil/ott/natibo/) is char¬tered to promote a cost-effective, healthy technology and industrial base that is responsive to the national and economic security needs of the United States and Canada.

Manufacturing Technology (ManTech) Web site is www.dodmantech.com/, your online source of information on the DoD ManTech program and its projects, activities and funding.

Technology Transition Initiative (TTI) – Congress established the Technology Transition Initiative (www.acq.osd.mil/ott/tti/) in 2003 to help bridge the funding gap between demonstration and production of DoD S&T funded technology.

Defense Production Act Title III –The Title III Program (www.acq.osd.mil/ott/dpatitle3/) is a DoD-wide initiative that establishes, maintains or expands a production capability offered for national defense. Management responsibilities include: pro¬gram oversight and guidance, strategic planning and legislative proposals, approval of new projects, and liaison with other federal agencies and Congress.

Technology Transition Initiative
Once a decision is made to move a technology from the Science and Technology program into acquisi¬tion, it often takes two to three years to obtain procurement funding to buy the product. During that time, many technology projects either become obsolete or are canceled due to a lack of funding. To help ad¬dress this need, Congress established the Technology Transition Initiative (TTI) in 2002 to bridge the gap between demonstration and production of S&T funded technology (10 U.S.C. 2359a).

Key provisions of the code include:
• Accelerate the introduction of new technologies into operational capabilities for the armed forces.
• Successfully demonstrate new technologies in relevant environments.
• The science and technology and acquisition executives of each military department and each appro¬priate defense agency and the commanders of the unified and specified combatant commands nominate projects to be funded.
• The TTI program manager identifies promising projects that meet DoD technology goals and require¬ments in consultation with the Technology Transition Council.
• The TTI program manager and the appropriate acquisition executive can share the transition cost. Service/agency contribution can be up to 50 percent of the total project cost. A project cannot be funded for more than four years.

TTI evaluation criteria: to be considered for TTI funding, a project must meet the following criteria:
• Technology developed with S&T funding;
• Product has buyer with funds available to purchase it in later years – commitment to acquisition path;
• Joint focus, preferably joint or multi-service project (two or more services/agencies);
• Demonstrated value to the warfighter;
• Technology mature – TRL 6 or 7;
• Cost sharing between TTI and service/agency is encouraged to leverage funding; and
• Project duration of less than four years.

Business processes for project evaluation
• Technology Transition Council
• Technology Transition Working Group
TTI Successful Transitions

– Semantic Web Network – The SWN is an XML-based content routing system and data mining tool which enhances command and control by delivering more relevant and complete information across the Intel community databases in real-time. The technology matured faster than expected, and is now incorpo¬rated into MarineLink which deployed with Marine Expeditionary Force I and II in Iraq.

– Water Purification System/Water Pen Unit – The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency was funded as a TTI project in FY 2003 and FY 2004 to bridge the gap between DARPA’s development funding and scheduled procurement in FY 2005. The miniaturized water-purification system destroys biological and chemical warfare agents, including: anthrax, plague, smallpox and common waterborne pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses and protozoa, including E. Coli, Giardia and Cryptosporidium.

For tactical situations in which deployed troops do not have quick and easy access to potable water, the pen allows Soldiers to treat up to 300 liters of any available, non-brackish water source. Mixed oxidants electrochemically generated from common table salt via several small lithium camera batteries kill a wider range of resistant microorganisms.

– Titanium Nitride (TiN) Coating for T-58 Engine Compressor Blades–Marines – TiN coating for the T-58 engine will double compressor life in a sand environment and is projected to save about $56 million in life cycle costs through FY 2012. The airfoils will be installed in nearly 300 new T-58-16A Engine Reliability Improvement Program (ERIP) compressor cores procured for Marine Corps CH-46 helicopters. Installation began in FY 2005.

– Battlespace Terrain Reasoning and Awareness – BTRA is a suite of common, analytic applications designed to provide actionable information for terrain and weather effects using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data. Such data enable C4ISR and battle command decision-making and mission execution in open and complex environments. Software applications (tactical decision aids) and services include the Commercial Joint Mapping Toolkit, which has 192 joint C4ISR systems.

Cynthia Gonsalves
Cynthia Gonsalves
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