Re: Black Budgets (new here)

Message posted by loopbacktest4echo on September 05, 2007 at 8:12:11 PST:

I worked in a FCRC which is a Federal Contract Research Center. I worked primarily on experimental Radar, ECCM, EW, and communications for the AF. When a goverment defense agency wants a new (something) they put out a request to defense contractors who will return with a bid on how they can build or achieve this something. Our job was to evaluate the contractors proposals to see if the contractor can realistically build the something on time and within budget and that it will meet or exceed operational requirements. This can get very complicated as there can be many defense contractors providing different components as well as test, engineering, and research capabilities. The funding for any particular project can come from many different diverse resources. The funding is traceable until you cross over into the realm of the black projects and black customers. At this point the projects are highly secret and are rolled under very general budget headings to obscure knowledge of the project. Most defense contractors will put a tax on every project they work on and this tax goes to supplement funds that support company funded research. These funds allow companies perform pure research that may or may not produce a working prototype but will advance knowledge or theory. This makes them competitive leaders in their industry. Most defense contractors have their staff annually submit project proposals. These proposals can be anything from theoretical research to a finished product. These proposals are evaluated and may get outside funding or rely on internal funding to nurture them along until outside funding becomes interested. The advantage of company funded research is that a company can do research/development that is not under the scrutiny of the customer and does not have to follow the customers contractional obligations to process or timelines. A new trend is to use company funded research in order to build products that have no funding trail and no oversight. This speeds up the development time and reduces the circle of knowledge of a project. A finished something can then be sold to whoever is interested and the development costs are billed back into the purchase contract. Basically company funded research provides off the shelf research for goverment and defense agencies. I hope this is helpful. I am not an expert in the world of defense funding. As a final note. Whenever I worked on a project for a black customer I was not allowed to know who that customer was. The customer was either listed as black customer or by the project name.

In Reply to: Re: Black Budgets (new here) posted by Nohr on September 05, 2007 at 1:56:04 PST:


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