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Digital Modernization

DARPA Might Lose Battlefield Networking Program to Funding Issues, Official Says

Defense Advanced Research

Projects Agency

DARPA Might Lose Battlefield Networking Program to Funding Issues, Official Says

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is in danger of losing an experimental battlefield networking program due to acquisition and sustainment issues, according to an official.

DARPA said the System-of-systems Technology Integration Tool Chain for Heterogeneous Electronic Systems is a technology capable of creating its own networks through self-writing software, FedScoop reported.

Tim Grayson, director of DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office, told FedScoop that while the program has broad support among the military services, the Department of Defense does not know what budget activity it should be put under. 

DARPA’s funding for the STITCHES program is on track to run out in the spring after already using its last extension period.

Specifically, the program is caught between the acquisition authority for research and development and that of sustainment, Grayson told Nextgov.

DOD officials have been pushing for the department to have a separate acquisition system or “color of money” for software products and services.

Ellen Lord, former undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment and a past Potomac Officers Club event speaker, said the proposed software procurement system would be designed as an Agile procurement process instead of conforming to current regulations for buying hardware. 

Grayson told FedScoop that STITCHES advances DOD’s joint all-domain command and control concept, which is aimed at connecting the sensors and weapons of disparate systems.

He said that once funding for STITCHES runs out, its code will remain available to “appropriately authorized personnel” in DOD’s open-source community. However, the talent who built the technology will be dissolved, Grayson said.

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Category: Digital Modernization

Tags: color of money DARPA Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency digital modernization Ellen Lord FedScoop JADC2 network STITCHES Strategic Technology Office Tim Grayson