Pentagon tech hub to launch dozens of new projects with FY24 funding

Pentagon tech hub to launch dozens of new projects with FY24 funding

The Defense Innovation Unit plans to spend most of its nearly $1 billion fiscal 2024 budget to accelerate existing projects and add new ones in technology areas like counter uncrewed aerial systems and space transport.

Congress approved a nearly 10-fold funding increase in FY24for the Pentagon’s commercial technology hub to support its expanding mission to help the Defense Department quickly foster and field commercial capabilities in large numbers. Prolonged budget deliberations delayed the release of appropriations, which meant that DIU’s funding came more than five months into the fiscal year, presenting the organization with the challenge of using that money in a short period of time.

DIU Director Doug Beck has said the funding would be split among four areas: accelerating existing programs; launching new ones; supporting projects housed within other Defense Department innovation organizations; and addressing some of the challenges commercial companies face as they try to work with DoD.

In a June 20 statement, DIU said offered more details on that split, revealing that 50% of the funding — or about $491 million — would be directed toward speeding up its priority efforts. Another 25%, about $246 million, will fund new projects.

“While DIU has already begun putting the new budget into action, with Congressional oversight, over the next few months, DIU expects to release two dozen solicitations using our FY24 appropriations for new projects,” the organization said.

Existing priorities include technologies to support attritable uncrewed systems, the Pentagon’s Joint Fires Network and other space, cyber, energy, logistics and human systems efforts.

Along with space transport and Counter UAS, new projects will focus on cross-cutting software and advanced manufacturing with the goal of helping enable more resilient and integrated autonomous systems operating across multiple domains.

“DIU’s FY24 spending is concentrated on closing the U.S. military’s most critical operational capability gaps with the focus, speed, and scale required to help us deter major conflict or win if forced to fight,” Beck said in a statement.

The remaining 25% of funding will support DIU’s role in coordinating various Pentagon innovation organizations like the Air Force’s AFWERX and the Navy’s NavalX and breaking down “systemic barriers” to adopting non-traditional technology within the Pentagon. That includes expanding DIU’s network of OnRamp Hubs, which are based around the U.S.

“DIU, working with partners across the Department, will continue industry outreach through a variety of in-person and virtual engagements, providing informational content about how to work with DIU and, more broadly, how to better engage the DoD,” the organization said.

Courtney Albon is C4ISRNET’s space and emerging technology reporter. She has covered the U.S. military since 2012, with a focus on the Air Force and Space Force. She has reported on some of the Defense Department’s most significant acquisition, budget and policy challenges.

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