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The new program helps dual-use hardware startups accelerate product development> US Department of Defense> Department of Defense News




To stimulate and access hardware innovation in the private sector, the Pentagon has launched a program called National Security Innovation Capital.

NSIC, located in Mountain View, California, is addressing a lack of credible funding from private venture capital for the development of new hardware technologies for both commercial and national security applications, said NSIC’s director. One Tex Schenkkan says.

“This is an effort to protect against hostile capital and ensure that the foundation of national security innovation remains strong,” he said, with China and other hostile nations funding military hardware. Mentioned that it is providing and developing.

Less than 30% of US private venture capital is invested in hardware companies, and less than 10% is invested in the earliest stages when it is most needed. In many cases, hardware startups had to rely on foreign sources of funding, which could result in the loss of the intellectual property of potential adversaries.

The NSIC team identifies technology startups nationwide that will benefit from government funding to develop and market dual-use products. NSIC funding allows these companies to accelerate product development plans and mitigate inherent technical risks, Shenkan said.

He added that NSIC’s funding and involvement will attract additional private capital, further accelerate corporate progress towards product launches, and prevent future investments from unreliable sources.

NSIC has received $ 15 million in funding from Congress since it launched in February. Mandating all these funds by the end of September is on track. We award prototype development contracts to companies in multiple technical fields.

Here are some examples, according to Shenkan:

Xplore develops a high-power, ride-sharing spacecraft that provides infrastructure for low-Earth orbit to Moon and commercial, scientific, and national security end users to carry out missions throughout the cislunar space. I am. New Frontier Aerospace is developing new rocket engine designs for hypersonic aircraft. FuelX is developing a manufacturing process that produces materials for the safe storage and transportation of hydrogen. Advanced Magnet Lab is a company that creates manufacturing processes that will be the domestic source of new high performance magnets. The company, which will be announced soon, is building a domestic manufacturing facility to manufacture certified cells based on next-generation battery chemistry.

NSIC is part of a divisional innovation ecosystem led by the Defense Innovation Unit. Its streamlined contracting process leverages other trading institutions already granted and used by DIU.

“NSIC is an important part of accelerating new commercial technologies to DOD,” said Michael Brown, director of DIU. “Funding innovative dual-use technology to improve national security is important in our strategic competition with China and to provide our army with the best technology.”




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