What Is a Characteristic of a Joint Capabilities Technology Demonstration?

A Joint Capabilities Technology Demonstration is a Department of Defense initiative that is designed to test and evaluate new technologies in order to improve joint warfighting capabilities.

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What is a Joint Capabilities Technology Demonstration (JCTD)?

Joint Capabilities Technology Demonstrations (JCTDs) are collaborative efforts between the military services, DOD organizations, and/or commercial entities to address critical capability gaps. JCTDs integrate existing and emerging technologies in an operational environment to address validated joint warfighting requirements. A JCTD is not a science fair or an acquisition program, but rather a vehicle to rapidly field relevant capabilities to the warfighter.

What are the benefits of a JCTD?


What are the characteristics of a JCTD?

A Joint Capabilities Technology Demonstration is a capabilities-based, collaborative effort between the combatant commands, Services, and supporting agencies to rapidly mature, demonstrations, and transition game-changing technologies that fill capability gaps. JCTDs leverage existing platforms to provide systems with new capabilities in order to provide an operational edge to the Warfighter. The following are key characteristics of a JCTD:
– Focuses on demonstrating new capabilities in an operational environment
– Builds on existing platforms and programs of record
– Is a collaborative effort between combatant commands, Services, and agencies
– Is authorized and sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD)
– Supports the acquisition process by informing requirements and providing risk reduction for future programs of record

What is the process for conducting a JCTD?

Joint Capability Technology Demonstrations (JCTDs) are collaborative research and development (R&D) efforts between the military services and combatant commands, led by a sponsor who has a clear and well-defined warfighting need. The sponsor outlines the operational problem to be solved and issues a broad agency announcement soliciting proposals from the defense industry and academia to address the problem.

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An independent Joint Requirements Oversight Council panel reviews the proposals and selects the most promising for demonstration. The sponsor then enters into a contract with the contractor team, which includes representatives from each of the military services involved in the JCTD.

The JCTD program is managed by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Research and Engineering; however, day-to-day oversight is conducted by each of the military services participating in the demonstration.

What are the benefits of successful JCTD?

There are many benefits of successful Joint Capabilities Technology Demonstrations (JCTDs). JCTDs allow the Department of Defense (DoD) to rapidly field new capabilities to the warfighter while providing significant cost savings. In addition, JCTDs provide an opportunity forDoD to partner with industry and academia, which allows for the transition of new capabilities into the acquisition system.

How can JCTDs lead to new capabilities?

Joint Capabilities Technology Demonstrations (JCTDs) are prototype efforts that aim to rapidly mature and prove novel capabilities that address joint warfighter needs. JCTDs seek to exploit emerging technologies and new operational concepts to achieve transformational outcomes, and they are typically sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) or a military service.

JCTDs represent a unique opportunity to develop and validate game-changing capabilities prior to full-scale production and deployment. They provide a way to de-risk investment in new technologies and reduce concurrency between capability development and fielding. JCTDs also offer a path to rapidly insert new capabilities into the joint force by leveraging existing platforms, systems, and infrastructure.

Ultimately, JCTDs can lead to new capabilities for the joint force by accelerating the transition of promising technologies from the laboratory into prototype form and by demonstrating their efficacy in realistic operational settings.

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What are some examples of JCTDs?

The U.S. military services use Joint Capabilities Technology Demonstrations (JCTDs) to quickly field new capabilities using innovative technology solutions. JCTDs provide a means to transition new technologies from the laboratory to the warfighter by demonstrating proof-of-concepts in an operational environment.

Some examples of JCTDs include:
-The Army’s Net Fires JCTD, which demonstrated advances in artillery systems
-The Navy and Marine Corps’ Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle JCTD, which demonstrated a new amphibious assault vehicle
-The Air Force’s Secure Portal JCTD, which demonstrated a new secure web portal for airmen

How can I get involved in a JCTD?

To be eligible to participate in a JCTD, your organization must be a U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) agency or a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC). To find out about upcoming JCTDs, visit the Joint Capabilities Technology Demonstrations website (www.jctd.mil), which is maintained by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Research and Engineering.

What is the future of JCTDs?

In the United States, the Department of Defense (DOD) is responsible for the majority of joint military autonomous systems research and development (R&D). The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and the services within DOD are charged with identifying and maturing critical technologies for near-term and future warfighting needs. One mechanism through which OSD, the services, and other government agencies advance technologies is the Joint Capabilities Technology Demonstration (JCTD) program. JCTDs are collaborative projects between two or more services or agencies focused on demonstrating that a concept or technology meets a capability gap. If a JCTD is successful, it may lead to acquisition of the technology by one or more of the participating organizations.

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The future of JCTDs is unclear. In recent years, there has been a decrease in the number of new JCTDs being proposed and funded. This may be due to a variety of factors, including budgetary pressures, changes in acquisition priorities, or organizational changes within DOD. It is possible that JCTDs will become increasingly focused on near-term operational needs as opposed to longer-term technological advancement. Or, the JCTD program could be discontinued altogether in favor of other mechanisms for demonstrating new technologies.

For more information on JCTDs…

JCTDs are collaborative, government-industry technology demonstrations that focus on emerging warfighting technologies with the potential to provide significant military capability improvements. Selected JCTDs are conducted as technology investment programs managed by a joint government and industry team. The JCTD program is a key component of the Department’s science and technology strategy to transition promising technologies quickly and affordably into warfighters’ hands.

To be selected, a JCTD proposal must address one or more high-priority capability gaps identified in service capstone concepts and warfighter operational needs statements. In addition, the proposed technology must demonstrate a clear potential for providing significant military capability improvements over currently available technologies. Once selected, each JCTD is jointly planned and executed by a government managing agency — typically a service research laboratory — and an industry partner. Under this arrangement, the two organizations share resources, risks, and rewards associated with demonstrating the new technology’s effectiveness in meeting the identified military need.

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