MISSION: Accelerate defense innovation through prototyping to rapidly mature and transition capabilities aligned to DoD's strategic imperatives

VISION: Be an innovation leader for DoD modernization

Our Innovation Activities

Innovation Prototypes

Innovation Outreach (IO)

Innovation Discovery (ID)

Develop, prototype, and transition emerging and novel capabilities. With a focus on small businesses and non-traditional partners, we team with government sponsors to rapidly transition capabilities into DoD use.

Match innovative technology companies with DoD sponsors using a lightweight (100 words) submission and pitch process.

Discover innovative capabilities and provide innovators the opportunity to put their tech in the hands of DoD users to enhance collaboration and get immediate feedback.

Guiding Principles

What Makes Us Unique

Overview of the Office

Established in 2003, Innovation and Modernization (I&M) (formerly known as Rapid Reaction Technology Office or RRTO) supports the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)) by rapidly identifying, prototyping, and transitioning solutions to fill capability gaps in priority technology areas to maintain our nation's technological superiority and military advantage. I&M identifies innovative technologies and capabilities that align with OUSD(R&E)'s critical technology areas, matures concepts through targeted prototyping, and transitions capabilities that fill needs within the Joint Warfighting Concepts, thereby increasing interoperability between Service programs and informing multi-Service joint experiments.

I&M also supports OUSD(R&E)'s vision for robust engagement across the innovation ecosystem. I&M's programs connect one-to-one with innovators not typically engaged in the defense industry by introducing them to potential DoD transition partners. Small-businesses, start-ups, and academia in the United States produce some of the most cutting-edge research, technology, and capabilities, which often go untapped. Through a continuous series of public-facing engagements and discovery venues, I&M explores innovative ideas and technologies that support joint requirements to government representatives.

Multiple opportunities for innovative performers to mature their ideas and transition their capabilities:

How to Participate

Proposal Requests Are Accepted at Any Time of the Year


Innovation and Modernization
Quad Chart

Innovation and Modernization
White Paper


Check here for current and upcoming news and events: https://cto.mil/news

Special Notices will be posted on SAM.gov

Since 2007, Innovation Outreach (IO) has provided a low-barrier of entry for small and non-traditional performers looking to connect with the DoD. Working with stakeholders across the DoD, Innovation and Modernization holds multiple IO events each year.

Innovation and Modernization works with sponsoring components across the DoD to help characterize their capability needs into broadly applicable Needs Statements, which succinctly captures the component's needs for small and non-traditional businesses to address. Needs Statements are intentionally written so they are understandable regardless of a respondent's experience working with the DoD. To let innovators focus on their work, responding to a Needs Statement is simple: less than 100 words about their technology. Selected developers have the opportunity to engage the DoD need owners in networking sessions with a 25-minute presentation. Government attendees provide immediate feedback and there is potential for follow-up engagements with attendees - such as technology demonstrations or funding opportunities.


Check back for our latest IO opportunities on this website (above) and on www.sam.gov. If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact us via aosd.pentagon.ousd-atl.mbx.rrto-innovation@mail.mil.

Understanding the Innovation Discovery (ID) Programs:

Thunderstorm is a campaign of land-based innovation discovery events that provides performers the opportunity to showcase new technologies in the field and collaborate with other businesses, without the pressure of a graded evaluation or test event. Previous topics are wide ranging and include agile logistics, operational energy, artificial intelligence and machine learning, battlespace management, and arctic operations.

In FY 2022, Thunderstorm events showcased 226 innovative technologies, including systems from 181 small businesses, and transitioned or introduced 38 to the DoD.

The Joint Prototyping and Experimentation Maritime (JPEM) program enables very rapid integration of technologies on an authentic military maritime platform. JPEM's mobility allows ID to showcase joint and multi-domain technologies that are difficult to exercise outside of DoD test ranges or anechoic chambers, including electronic warfare, communication systems, novel sensors, and autonomous platforms.

In FY 2022, JPEM identified and showcased 82 technologies, including systems from 47 small businesses, and transitioned or introduced 43 to DoD.

The Joint Interagency Field Experimentation (JIFX) program leverages its rich Naval Postgraduate School academic expertise and its location on the west coast to extend the reach of the ID program to more small businesses and non-traditional performers. In partnership with the California National Guard at Camp Roberts, JIFX also provides a very flexible flight range for unmanned aerial systems that is unmatched in the region. Recent events include expeditionary power, Alt PNT, and contested logistic solutions.

In FY 2022, JIFX identified and showcased 114 technologies, including from 85 small businesses and transitioned or introduced 17 to DoD.


Check back for our latest ID events on this website and on www.sam.gov.

Success Stories

SOCOM Ignite

The I&M office in partnership with MIT Lincoln Labs and United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM) help develop and establish the "SOCOM Ignite" program, an innovation accelerator that combines the ingenuity and out-of-the-box thinking of military students with real-world military problems. Through this partnership, this program provides rapid development of novel and groundbreaking capabilities that directly support current SOCOM priorities and will rapidly transition to operators in the field. The past years focus areas have been developing prototype solutions to relevant challenges like drone autonomy, sensor and data fusion, and casualty care at the tactical edge.


The asset management tag developed by DUST Identity uses diamond-based nano-material crystals to serve as a covert anti-tamper fingerprint. Early and targeted investment from I&M helped DUST Identity, a small business, mature this nano-material technology for use in DoD. The technology solution ensures the integrity of military components in a contested environment, ensuring mission effectiveness and reducing the risk of compromise to military intellectual property and system/combat operations.


Quasi-Zenith Satellite System Hosted Payload (QZSS-HP) program aims to integrate a U.S. Space Force space domain awareness sensor on the Japanese QZSS navigation satellites. I&M provided early RDT&E funding in partnership with the U.S. Space Force, to accelerate prototyping development efforts. The first payload has been successfully delivered to Japanese partners and integrated into the main satellite.

Innovation and Modernization Calendar of Events

All dates and locations are subject to change. List will be updated as new events are scheduled.

  • April 15-16, 2024: 'Unleashing Data' Solutions Meeting. McLean, VA.
  • April 08-10, 2024: Thunderstorm 24-1 'SOF Lethality'. Nellis AIr Force Base, NV.
  • May 14-16, 2024: JIFX 24-3 'C5ISR and Countermeasures'. Camp Roberts, CA.
  • July 23-25, 2024: Thunderstorm 24-2 'Persistent Sensing'. Fort Huachuca, AZ.
  • August 06-08, 2024: JIFX 24-4 Non-Standard Communications and Navigation. Camp Roberts, CA.
  • August 2024: TIDE 2024 'Anticipating Technology Surprise'. Near Washington DC.
  • September 2024: Thunderstorm 24-3 'Robotic Partners and Human-Machine Interfaces'. Bryan, TX.


Frank Bohn, a project lead for the Army Futures Command said, "Within 120 days of the Army team's initial engagement, [Innovation & Modernization] had approved the project, and funds were moving. [I&M]'s ability to provide in-year investment significantly accelerated the delivery of this capability in a manner that is incredibly difficult to achieve through traditional acquisition pipelines."

Richard Thornton from the Navy shares, "The working relationships [I&M] has fostered between itself, operational commands, DoD labs and industry have been extremely productive. Advanced technologies that [I&M] has incubated are now in the hands of the submarine force, SOF combat divers and in autonomous vehicle systems. These specific projects have delivered revolutionary (not evolutionary) advances in advanced undersea communications and system security.  Combining resources and jointly mitigating risks are two key facets of the work that [I&M] enables, but more importantly, it is [I&M]'s 'innovation solutions bridge' between young start-up companies and the defense industrial base that allows new technology initiatives to be identified, matured, and integrated into advanced fleet systems."

* Innovation & Modernization has previously been named both the Rapid Reaction Technology Office (RRTO) and Capability Prototypes (CP)


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