DOD starts to sketch out broad research support recompete / Ipopba

The so-called RETS vehicle puts contractors at the heart of the Defense Department's technology innovation and investment agenda.

The Defense Department has started to sketch out its recompete of a contract to work with DOD's lead office for research and engineering on identifying emerging technologies and shaping future requirements.

DOD's release of this sources sought notice Thursday gives industry an initial glimpse at the next iteration of the so-called RETS vehicle, originally awarded in 2020 as a small business set-aside to three companies.

American Systems, Applied Research Associates and Modern Technology Solutions work with the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering on efforts to align business operations and technology initiatives to the larger National Defense Strategy.

RETS was awarded at a $496 million ceiling over a five-year ordering period. That is also the acronym for this convoluted full name of the contract -- Research, Development, Test, Evaluation, Engineering and Technical Services.

Nov. 11 is the deadline for responses to the request for information. Submissions should include explanations of how their companies' capabilities are relevant to the 14 technology priorities and task areas.

One point of clarity in the RFI regards where the office is focusing its efforts and investments, namely in DOD's 14 critical technology priorities to maintain the U.S. military's technological advantage.

That list of 14 is as follows:

  • Advanced computing and software
  • Advanced materials
  • Biotechnology
  • Directed energy
  • Future generation wireless technology.
  • Human-machine interfaces
  • Hypersonics
  • Integrated sensing and cyber
  • Integrated Network Systems-of-Systems
  • Microelectronics
  • Quantum science
  • Renewable energy generation and storage
  • Space technology
  • Trusted artificial intelligence and autonomy

The RETS request for information also calls out these six task areas for contractors to focus on:

  • Data management and analysis
  • Mission engineering, systems engineering, software engineering, and developmental test and evaluation
  • Modeling and simulation
  • Operations research
  • Prototyping, experimentation and demonstration
  • Science and technology research and assessment