A variety of systems cultivated under a Homeland Security rapid development program may be fielded late next year, bearing the first major fruits of the 2-year-old effort.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) kicked off its Silicon Valley Innovation Program in 2015 in an attempt to dramatically reduce the time to develop and deploy technology. The program focuses on all areas of the DHS mission, including information technology, finance, energy, health and first responders.
Program officials work largely with smaller companies, often startups that do not normally collaborate with the government. The businesses, in many cases, already have products and commercial customers, but their technologies need to be further developed and adapted to suit DHS needs.
“We actually have [entrepreneurs] whose venture capitalists have told them not to work with government because it’s too slow,” reports Melissa Ho, managing director of the DHS Silicon Valley Innovation Programs Office. But now, she says, startups want to work with the DHS “because we’re a customer that can validate their technology and because we have a way of contracting with them faster.”
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