The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has received $9.7 million from the Department of Defense Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP) to fund innovative technologies.

The DISA Rapid Innovation Fund (RIF) Program is a research and development project and process in support of critical defense acquisitions programs, and U.S. warfighters. The RIF program–also available for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and combatant commands–was established by the FY11 National Defense Authorization Act as a competitive, merit-based program to stimulate innovative technologies.

“RIF is about getting small business capabilities faster into the hands of those who need them,” said Erin Maultsby, a CTO electronics engineer, and the DISA RIF coordinator and portfolio manager. “We are looking to solve problems.”

Maultsby said the team works with OSD Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP) to acquire funding for small businesses–specifically for innovative cybersecurity projects. The DISA RIF receives cybersecurity topics from within the agency, and then those topics are reviewed to see the best fit within the program. They are requesting an additional $9 million for three FY 2016 programs.

The proposed DISA FY 2016 topics are:

  • Transport Layer Security (TLS) Inspection
  • Cyber Intelligence as a Service
  • Credential Misuse Detection

Maultsby stated that the projects generally should be completed within two years.

“DISA’s investments in cybersecurity, networking technologies, and computing and storage technologies make it uniquely postured to access the best in class from the U.S. market—both the defense and private sector,” said Dan Cundiff, the overall coordinator for the DoD RIF program. “DISA is uniquely postured to take advantage of commercial information system technologies and make those capabilities available and accessible to multiple defense customers.”

Maultsby added that DISA RIF and the CTO are focused on improving the RIF Program process–resulting in significant efficiencies that have been institutionalized across the RIF portfolio.

“OSBP has a pot of money that is dedicated for Rapid Innovation,” said Maultsby. “[DISA] CTO has a great process in place to help us get increasingly more funds each year–essentially, we are potentially delivering more innovative technology at a significantly lower cost because we’re getting better at the process.”

For more information on the DoD RIF program please visit the Defense Innovation Marketplace RIF website.

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Kara Burns
Kara Burns
Kara Burns is a Staff Reporter for MeriTalk covering Federal IT.