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Six New Technologies NRO Wants

The spy agency is offering up to half a million dollars for promising prototypes.

The National Reconnaissance Office announced topics for the 2019 Director’s Innovation Initiative, offering up to $500,000 to prototype and pilot bleeding-edge technologies.

The latest broad agency announcement posted Friday to FedBizOpps focuses on six technological areas: remote sensing—through satellites or other aerial means; apertures; communications; system design; sense-making—or gaining actionable insights out of data; and “other disruptive concepts and technology.”

The innovation program, like others in the defense and intelligence communities, is designed to encourage non-traditional contractors and academic institutions to work with the government. The program solicits ideas that “push the boundaries of technology to dramatically improve our nation’s satellite reconnaissance capabilities,” even if those ideas are not fully fleshed out.

In turn, NRO reduces some of the risk of these procurements by funding promising technologies incrementally. The program’s goal is to move 10 to 15 percent of projects through the prototype phase into full development.

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A project moving through the full program can get up to $500,000 in funding over the course of nine months.

The office expects to make multiple awards on the announcement, though it reserves the right to make one or none at all.

Full bid proposals are due by July 19.