Page 14

• Capabilities that bridge gaps in joint, theater and service NSD dissemination capabilities through the use of communications and networking technology. • Software, hardware, algorithms, and network equipment to support the tasking, collection, processing, exploitation and dissemination process for military users. TacDSR consists of two major R&D programs: Military Exploitation of Reconnaissance and Intelligence Technology (MERIT) and Combat Systems Integration (CSI). MERIT examines and assesses critical technology developments with the goal of increasing the utility and accessibility of national technical means (NTM) data for joint war fighting commanders. The program’s overarching goal is to provide enhanced NTM support to military operations. To accomplish this goal, MERIT emphasizes tailored assets and capabilities to satisfy operational needs as identified by the CCMDs, their component commands, and the military services. Proposals are solicited from government and industry to satisfy the operational needs. MERIT-proposed solutions can be hardware or software based. Projects are typically 12- to 24-month efforts that result in a Transition Readiness Level (TRL) 6 or higher deliverable. The MERIT program is managed by TacDSR but employs a working group of 18 personnel representing DoD services, agencies, joint staffs and CCMDs. These members of the MERIT Working Group execute the selection process that leads to funding for projects. Each funded MERIT project must be sponsored by a member of the working group. “What makes the MERIT program unique is the fact that the services, agencies and CCMDs have direct influence over which projects are funded by virtue of their participation in the MERIT Working Group,” said Jordan. MERIT allocates resources for the rapid development and prototyping of new technologies that expand the utility and accessibility of NRO acquired data and systems for the warfighter. The CSI program is similar to the MERIT program in that it accelerates the integration of NTM-related applied development into combat systems, platforms or architectures that address the needs of the CCMDs and military services. CSI projects include prototype integration into vehicles, aircraft, ships, weapons, mission planning tools, special operations systems or platforms, ground stations and combat support equipment. CSI solutions may consist of software algorithms, hardware, exploitation tools, or system engineering solutions that support warfighter requirements. CSI projects are typically 12- to 18-month efforts that result in a TRL 7 or higher deliverable, and the maximum funding for each project is $2.5 million. The CSI program issues an annual Broad Agency Announcement (BAA)/Government Sources Sought Announcement (GSSA) to solicit proposals for the following fiscal year. To ensure that proposals of varying scope and

12 | GIF 11.3

specialty area are submitted, multiple proposal sources are sought, including those from industry, academia, government labs and FFFRDCs. Preference is given to projects whose impacts have the greatest potential to advance warfighter platform capabilities and mission sets. To ensure wide dissemination, the BAA/GSSA solicitations are posted to the intelligence community Acquisition Research Center (ARC) website in the October/November timeframe of each year. Offerors may then submit proposals electronically using the ARC website. Educational institutions, non-profit and not-for-profit organizations, and private industries must respond to the BAA. U.S. government agencies and FFRDCs must respond to the GSSA. BAA proposals that are selected for award will be implemented using standard contracting procedures while GSSA proposals that are selected will be implemented using task agreements and funded by military interdepartmental purchase requests. O

(This article was provided by the NRO Office of Public Affairs.) For more information, contact GIF Editor Harrison Donnelly at or search our online archives for related stories at