The Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) Program addresses joint and combatant command warfighting needs through the execution and demonstration of prototypes within two to four years. The program delivers developmental and operational prototypes to affordably operationalize technologies that enable warfighters to explore novel concepts and to facilitate informed transition to formal acquisition programs.
The JCTD Program addresses joint and combatant command warfighting needs through the execution and demonstration of prototypes within two to four years of the identification of a need. The program delivers developmental and operational prototypes to affordably operationalize technologies that enable warfighters to explore novel concepts and to facilitate informed transition to formal acquisition programs.
- Reduce technical risk through the use of experimentation and prototyping and reduce operational risk by conducting operational demonstrations with the warfighter.
- Accelerate acquisition, fielding decisive capabilities in 2-4 years.
- Enable affordability through open architectures and interoperable systems.
- Stimulate innovation by providing a collaborative environment between government, industry and academia and providing a tight linkage between S&T, acquisition, and the warfighter.
Program goals align with ongoing Defense initiatives to shape major technology investments within DoD, focus on joint and cross-cutting missions, prove new concepts of operation, inform and or validate requirements, and identify accelerated paths to acquisition.
The JCTD vision "We identify technology solutions today for use by warfighters whenever and wherever they are tomorrow."
The JCTD Program started as the Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration Program in 1995 and became the JCTD Program in 2006. The change in 2006 reflects an emphasis on meeting cross-domain, multi-mission urgent warfighter needs and an increased focus on transition. However, the basic tenets of the program remained the same:
- JCTDs deliver meaningful military utility and refined Concept of Operations (CONOPS)/Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTP).
- JCTDs address the joint, coalition, and interagency shortfalls or “seams”.
- JCTDs work “inside the budget cycle”, providing leave-behind operational capabilities to the warfighter.
- Partners fund $1 to $2 for every $1 of JCTD commitment.
- Unique team structure of JCTDs:
- Operational, technical, and transition managers as one integrated team.
Between 1995 and 2006, over 250 projects were initiated. Notable successes included the Predator and Global Hawk in 1995, Link 16 in 1998 and the Standoff Precision Guided Munitions in 2005. Notable successes since 2006 include the Persistent Ground Surveillance System in 2010, Autonomous Mobility Applique System in 2014, Advanced Weapons Enhanced by Submarine Unmanned Aerial Systems against Mobile targets in 2015, and Smart Power Infrastructure Demonstration for Energy Reliability and Security in 2015.
Starting in 2014 and with the scale down of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the focus of the JCTD Program has shifted from rapid fielding to meet urgent warfighter needs to addressing the more strategic priorities of the Department. Each year, the JCTD Office develops technical focus areas to address these strategic priorities. Focus areas are based on evolving combatant command (CCMD) integrated priority lists, capability gap assessments provided by the Joint Staff, and evolving mature technologies of Military Services’ science and technology roadmaps.
Since 2006, the JCTD (ACTD) Office has executed 134 projects. Of these projects, 81 percent (%) have transitioned; and 19% either returned to a technical base or were terminated. Of transitioned projects, 48% were incorporated into a program of record, 28% were operationally fielded, and 5% were placed on a General Services Administration schedule.
In summary, JCTDs (ACTDs):
- Directly address CCMD and Service capability gaps
- Medium risk projects – trending more recently to medium to high risk capabilities
- Support multiple key campaign efforts
- Rapidly accelerate game changing technologies
Overall, as demonstrated in the Military Utility Assessments, the JCTD Program provides a unique and targeted mechanism to speed useful and needed capabilities directly to our Warfighter.
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