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Steven Walker Discusses DARPA’s Acquisition Proces

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Steven Walker, director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, told C4ISRNET in an interview published Wednesday about DARPA’s use of other transaction authorities in its artificial intelligence program. Walker, a 2019 Wash100 winner, said DARPA plans to continue using OTAs in other technology initiatives to speed up the acquisition process.

“One thing we’ve done recently with our AI initiative is we’ve decided that we would use OTAs to put million-dollar contracts on for 18 months to look at a whole range of AI and how it could be applied in different fields. But we want to do that quickly, so from announcement of a topic to awarding a contract is 90 days or less,” he said.

He cited the agency’s collaboration with the commercial sector and military branches on tech development efforts and the rapid technological changes in the field of biotechnology. Walker added that DARPA aims to develop a vaccine within 60 days using gene-editing techniques through its P3 program.

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