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DOD Pilot Program to Use Private Investment to Advance Dual-Use Tech Projects; Halimah Najieb-Locke Quoted

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A two-year pilot program launched in August by the Department of Defense in partnership with the Austin Center for Manufacturing and Innovation in Texas will use private funding to accelerate the development of products with defense and commercial applications, Federal News Network reported Monday.

ACMI will fund production work as part of the pilot program and bolster producers of inert chemicals that could have applications in the military and agricultural industry.

According to the report, the DOD is slated to issue funding through the Defense Production Act Title III Program to help speed up the production of non-fossil fuel energy.

So once the pilot is complete, as far as the grouping of new products that come from that, and if they’re identical to their legacy critical chemical material, then we can try to scale that to other manufacturing sectors,” commented Halimah Najieb-Locke, deputy assistant secretary of defense for industrial base resilience.

Najieb-Locke said DOD could see more private investments to support production of dual-use technology platforms if the pilot program goes well. She noted that the initiative is one of the department’s efforts to attract new commercial partners and mitigate the effects of industry consolidation on competition.

“Since the early 1990s, the defense sector consolidated substantially; we know we transitioned from 51 aerospace and defense prime contractors down to five. But as a result, DoD is increasingly reliant on a smaller number of prime contractors for these critical defense capabilities,” Najieb-Locke continued.