- Missile Defense Agency Technology Applications Program
Missile Defense Agency (MDA) Technology Applications Program
The Missile Defense Agency’s Technology Applications program seeks to accelerate the maturation and commercialization of technologies funded for ballistic missile defense. In a 2007 Technology Applications Report, the program maintains that "success of the Technology Applications program ... is vital for developing superior technology for defending the United States and its allies; promoting the economic growth of the nation; and enhancing the quality of life in the United States."
Support for the agency's Technology Applications program is provided by the Alexandria, Va.-based Washington Operations office of the National Technology Transfer Center.
MDA is a United States government agency within the Department of Defense. It is made up of Federal government civilians, military members from all services, and support contractor personnel. Its mission is to develop and field an integrated, layered, ballistic missile defense system to defend the United States, its deployed forces, and its allies and friends against all ranges of enemy ballistic missiles in all phases of flight. Since receiving Presidential direction in December 2002, the Department of Defense and the Missile Defense Agency have delivered an initial defensive capability to the warfighter while continually developing a more technically sophisticated system to stay ahead of the evolving ballistic missile threat. In the next few years, the Agency intends to deliver significantly more integrated and robust missile defense technologies.
The Washington Operations office of the National Technology Transfer Center (NTTC) administers the MDA Technology Applications program through a cooperative agreement with MDA. The Washington Operations office provides business assistance and outreach services. Established in 1993 in Alexandria, VA, this office helps organizations transfer their MDA-funded technologies to the commercial marketplace and other U.S. government agencies.
Transferring MDA technology to commercial markets
MDA funds technology development to meet its mission of deploying a ballistic missile defense system (BMDS), and technology transfer efforts seek to support that mission by keeping MDA-funded technologies alive and improving for potential MDA acquisition. Ordinarily, it might take years before a technology can reach maturity and be transitioned into the evolving BMDS. Companies that can identify a commercial market for their MDA-funded technology during that period can increase the viability of the technology. According to the program's 2003 Technology Applications report, "[t]echnology transfer responds to public law and Department of Defense (DOD) policy. More than 20 different Federal laws and directives promoting technology transfer have been enacted. ... [T]echnology transfer provides economic and social benefits to the Nation. To transfer a technology to the commercial sector, several things must happen: A new business must be formed to create a product from the technology, find customers, and generate sales. Employees must be hired to perform the administrative, engineering, and marketing functions. So technology transfer can result in the creation of new businesses and jobs."
Technology Application Program Services
Several types of business-assistance services are available free of charge to MDA-funded companies through the MDA Technology Applications program. These services are paid for by MDA and are designed to help companies find commercial markets for their products, processes or services.
The services described below are available to all MDA-funded organizations at no cost to them:
Business Focus Workshops
Business Focus Workshops (BFWs) offer personalized business assistance to MDA SBIR/STTR awardees. The BFW is a one-day program designed to help businesses consider and begin to address many of the aspects of commercialization. Attendees, usually four per day, collaborate with one or more business consultants to develop a preliminary commercialization strategy. By day’s end, the attendees present their strategies to the other BFW consultants and participants. An open discussion of the strategy follows each presentation.
Technology Applications Reviews
The Technology Applications (TA) Review is designed for MDA-funded companies that have a commercialization strategy and have developed a marketable product or are capable of providing a marketable process. In many cases, these companies have previously attended a Business Focus Workshop.
Each company attending the meeting gives a structured presentation to a panel of 15 to 20 experts who has extensive experience in areas such as technology commercialization, business development, intellectual property protection, product development, financing, and business contacts. This presentation includes a short description of the technology and its advantages, and information about the company, its business plan, and marketing strategy. The panel then provides analysis and recommendations based on the information presented. According to the program's mdatechnology.net site, often "members of the review panel are able to provide specific additional recommendations and limited assistance even after the meeting."
The MDA TechUpdate quarterly newsletter is a free print and online publication that publicizes MDA-funded technology to potential customers and partners. A 2003 program Technology Applications report claims that the newsletter is distributed to more than 7,000 "people involved in technology transfer and commercialization." Companies featured in the TechUpdate also are included in other targeted publications produced by the Technology Applications program. These publications include the yearly MDA Technology Applications Report and special reports covering such MDA-funded technology applications as biomedicine, counter-terrorism, fiber optics, and materials.
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