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Presenter: John Reingruber, Assistant for Science and Technology Thursday, Nov. 29, 2001 - 2 p.m. EST
(Special briefing on the Technical Support Working Group (TSWG). Participants are Victoria Clarke, assistant secretary of Defense for public affairs; John Reingruber, assistant for science and technology, Office of Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Combating Terrorism; and Jeffrey David, deputy director, Combating Terrorism Technology Support Office. Slides shown in this briefing are on the Web at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Nov2001/g011129-D-6570X.aspl. The TSWG press paper handed out during the briefing is on the Web at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Nov2001/d20011129tswg.pdf )
Clarke: Good afternoon. Today we have two members of the Technical Support Working Group to brief us on their mission and what they do to help combat terrorism. We have John Reingruber, the assistant for science and technology in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Combating Terrorism; and Jeffrey David, the deputy director of the Combating Terrorism Technology Support Office.
Gentlemen, welcome, and thank you for doing this. Turn it over to you.
Reingruber: Thank you very much. Since the department's release of broad agency announcement on combating terrorism in October, there have been many inquiries about the Technical Support Working Group, or TSWG, or "Tis-wig," as we call it.
Good afternoon, I am John Reingruber. I'm in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict, and the DoD co-chair for the TSWG. With me today is Mr. Jeff David, who is in fact the deputy director and heart and soul of TSWG in many ways. His office is the one that published and issued the broad agency announcement.
Mr. David and I will describe the TSWG organization, its mission, its operation and scope, and share with you a few success stories. If you like, we can get into the BAA and how it's going, but can't get into details of what's being submitted, for obvious reasons; it's still competition sensitive.
The first point I'd like to make is that TSWG is not new. It actually traces its origins back to the early 1980s. The handout that you'll be given after the meeting will contain more information on this. Over the years, we have quietly and methodically built the TSWG into an interagency forum where over 80 organizations across the federal government -- and that includes nine departments and numerous agencies -- where they meet to identify and prioritize R&D requirements for combating terrorism. That's 80 organizations. We then fund projects in industry, academia and government laboratories to address those requirements.
Our mission is to conduct a national interagency R&D program for combating terrorism, primarily through rapid research development and prototyping. By "rapid," I mean that we identify a requirement, and then within two years, try to field that capability.
This chart depicts the TSWG organization. In the triangle, the Executive Committee is comprised of representatives from the Departments of State, Defense, Justice and Energy. The coordinator for counterterrorism at State is responsible for policy oversight, while OASD SOLIC is responsible for program execution. Defense, Justice and Energy are the technical tri-chairs.
In the large rectangle, the "Combating Terrorism Technology Support Office," is the linchpin. This office manages all TSWG programs and facilities all subgroup activity. They do an excellent job of running an efficient operation and supporting military, intelligence, public safety, and law enforcement organizations that combat terrorism.
The nine functional area subgroups are chaired or co-chaired by representatives from various agencies, and we don't want to acronym you to death, so maybe I should go through some.
FBI, we all know. IC is the intelligence community -- intelligence community rep; ATF is Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms; USSS is [United States] Secret Service; and I think the rest are repetitive, so.
It is within these -- by the way, the chairs are selected -- you see the chairs in the lower parts of the boxes -- they are selected based on their agency's equities in the functional areas. It is within these subgroups that the requirements are identified and prioritized. The TSWG also has an international dimension. We conduct joint projects with NATO and non-NATO countries under bilateral, cooperative R&D agreements.
The TSWG has successfully transitioned significant technical capabilities to the departments of Defense; Justice; State; Treasury, which includes Secret Service, Customs, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms; the intelligence community; the Federal Aviation Administration; public health service; and other agencies.
Mr. David will now share some of our successes with you.
David: First group of projects I'd like to speak to you about is bomb squad support, specifically civilian bomb squads in the beginning.
For a bomb squad to be accredited by the FBI, they have to have several pieces of equipment. One is something called a disrupter to break apart bombs they happen to find. The bomb disrupter they use was developed by this program in the mid-1990s and has been transitioned to every single bomb squad in the country.
They also have to have an x-ray device so they can look inside of a package and see whether or not it is indeed a bomb. Right now the FBI is procuring more than 400 of the system developed by this program and delivering one to every bomb squad in the country. Military similarly has bought more than 700 of these and has had them for the past few years.
Bomb squad also requires a bomb suit, something to protect the operator from a bomb should it go off. TSWG has been testing these for several years, particularly against chemical and biological agents, and one of the suits we have tested is now being bought for, again, every bomb squad in the country. We have similar capabilities that have been delivered for the military. Unfortunately, we can't go into those in any detail today.
Next slide, please.
In cooperation with Justice, the National Guard, and FEMA, we've been delivering training to civilian and military responders since August of 2000. Using the Internet, cable, satellite delivery, and the worldwide web, we've been delivering two broadcasts, one called COMNET, which stands for Consequence Management News, Equipment and Training. It's a 60-minute news magazine-type format, where we go over issues of interest to state and local and civilian responders to weapons of mass destruction incidents. The other one, Live Response, which had its most recent broadcast yesterday, reached approximately 15,000 first responders and is capable of reaching nearly three million. These go on every month, and we continually address topics of interest to those first responders.
Next slide, please.
From a biological-sampling standpoint, we received a BAA proposal about two years ago to develop a new class of biological-agent sampling kit. This has been delivered very recently at the urgent request of one of the agencies responding to one of the anthrax- contaminated sites. Unfortunately, at the time of the attacks, one of the best samplers out there was just a cotton swab.
What we've been able to do over the past two years with a private company is come up with a sampling kit that has a 20-fold increase in sampling efficiency, is also significantly lower in cost, and easier to use when you're suited up in level A. These are soon to be commercially available, but they're out in limited numbers right now and have been used at several of the anthrax-contaminated sites.
Next slide, please.
Another first-responder support tool, taking something that was at the time commercially available called the PEAC -- palmtop emergency action chemical -- had hazardous materials information on toxic industrial chemicals -- was in use by fire departments at the time. Working with the Army and the company that manufactured it, we took this and included a lot of information on chemical warfare agents, precursors and plume modeling. Many of the plume models that were available prior to this would take 30 to 40 minutes to give you an answer on where you needed to be evacuating. With this tool, you can get a somewhat cruder answer, but you can get one in about 90 seconds. And it also tells you what sort of personal protective equipment you need to wear for the particular material that you're being threatened by. These are commercially available for about $1,500 right now.
Following on that, in the next slide we have something called CoBRA -- the Chemical Biological Response Aid, which has also been fielded to large numbers of civilian and military responders. This builds on what we learned from the PEAC and takes into account evidentiary requirements. From the time a responder arrives at a scene, it starts a time hack. And it tells him what decisions he made and when, and he can even input why, and it gives him decision guides, checklists and other information that helps him respond to C/B incidents. This is also commercially available, and it will be deployed to Salt Lake City for the Olympics.
Next slide moves into one of the models that we've developed. Actually, it's two models on this one: one called River Spill and one called Pipeline Net. It's for modeling the spread of contaminants, no matter what they might be, in a water supply. River Spill does it in natural water supplies up to the point it might enter a municipal water supply. And then Pipeline Net does it for city distribution networks. The River Spill has been populated for Ohio and Utah, and we're proceeding towards populating it for the entire United States -- continental United States initially. Pipeline Net has only been populated for Salt Lake City and will be tested at the Salt Lake City Olympics. And after that, we expect there will be more cities coming online with it.
Next slide moves into one that was a cooperative effort with the Department of Energy and the Bureau of Land Reclamation. With the recent increase in terrorist threats, hydro and dam operators have been very interested in coming up with a standardized methodology for assessing their risks to attacks. And they didn't have one. So we teamed with them and the Department of Energy, who had a very well developed risk methodology, and came up with a product, which has now been delivered and is used by the Bonneville Power Administration, the Bureau of Land Reclamation, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. And it's basically available to anyone who owns or operates a dam.
Next slide we come up with something that was very real-world in the past few years.
Working with one of our international partners, we developed some fingerprint recovery techniques. Not necessarily one of the more high-tech things you might imagine, but the results coming out of it have been astounding. This foreign partner used this specific recovery technique to recover prints off of evidence left at a scene, and in one case identified an assassin, and in another case identified an individual who had stolen materials that were going to be used in an attack on civil aviation. In that case, they stopped the attack; in the other one, they expect to catch him shortly.
In the next slide, we move into explosives detection, teamed very closely with the Federal Aviation Administration, who has an order of magnitude more funds in explosives detection than we do, working jointly with them and a private vendor. This is an explosives detection portal. And this is now fielded at a U.S. facility in Central Command, state-of-the-art explosives detection technology in the hands of the front-line military, providing them a little bit more safety.
The next slide moves into screening vehicles. Vehicle bombs are still very high on the threat list, and there are very few options for screening large vehicles for the presence of explosives. We've been teamed for years with the DoD counter-drug efforts and U.S. Customs to leverage their programs into efforts to find bombs in vehicles. The two you see here are currently in field trials. One, on the left side, is a gamma ray imaging system, which was identified in one of our previous BAAs, in 1999. This is now fielded at a European Command facility and it is working extremely well. The military is looking at buying more of them. The one on the right is an x-ray-based system, which has been in use in Central Command for the past two years and has been working extremely well. And they're also looking at procuring additional units.
Sometimes high-tech is not always the answer. Not everyone could afford one of these units, which varies in cost from $700,000 to $2 million per copy. So we went out to U.S. Customs, who screens vehicles on the border every day, and asked them to put some of their lessons learned down on paper. And they came up with something called the Vehicle Inspection Checklist, a set of flip charts available through GPO to authorized customers for about $12. This has been purchased by more than 20,000 civilian and military responders around the world, and it's been used by all of those people.
I have been through a variety of facilities on travel lately, and we see people using it. The reception has been tremendous.
The next and the last slide, you'll see our blast mitigation program. We've been funding structural blast mitigation since roughly 1996. Executive manager for this is the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), with participants from across the U.S. government and from the private sector. We have been looking at how do you retrofit buildings and how do you build more structurally hardened buildings.
We did some initial work after the Oklahoma City bombing, the World Trade Center, and the Khobar Towers bombing on injury studies, to find out what caused the greatest number of deaths, what caused the greatest number of injuries, and found that progressive collapse of structural columns was by far the greatest cause of death, and flying debris, not from the bomb, but from the walls and windows, was the greatest cause of injury. So we focused our efforts on mitigating those.
We actually have come up with quite a few retrofits that have been used operationally, not only in U.S. and private facilities, but also in embassies overseas. Matter of fact, the wedge of the Pentagon that was struck in September was the beneficiary of some of those retrofits, and from initial looks, it looks like they contributed to the saving of some lives. So we're very pleased with the results so far.
We've also looked at standardizing the test methodologies for commercial off-the-shelf products for things like Mylar films and wall catch systems. And that information is available to anyone who's a registered user of our blast mitigation Web page.
There are too many things that we could possibly mention. We wanted to come with a short list that gave a flavor of the kinds of things we do.
That pretty much lays out our prepared statements, and we're ready with any questions.
Q: Could you give us your budget numbers, how much you spend a year, and what kind of surfeit you have with projects? About how many get approved a month or a year?
David: The budget varies significantly from year to year. The core program budget comes from the Departments of State and Defense. Defense last year was approximately $50 million. This year the president's budget request was about 40 million.
The State Department routinely gives us about $2 million a year. Other agencies contribute on a varying basis. The last year total budget the office managed was about $70 million.
Q: And all of that money is used for research purposes, not for purchasing things for DOD or other people?
David: It's all research dollars, yes. And in terms of the number of projects -- people always ask what's a normal project for TSWG, and there really is no norm. We run projects that are $20,000, and we run projects that are $10 million. Bottom line is always get capability in the hands of the operators. But if I had to come up with a number, last year we probably had about 200 individual projects.
Reingruber: Of that $50 million in core funding that Jeff mentioned, about $8 million of that was congressional add-on.
Q: Who was the international partner you mentioned for fingerprints?
Reingruber: That's Israel.
Q: The government of Israel?
Reingruber: I'm sorry?
Q: The government?
Reingruber: Yes, it is. Yes, our agreement is with Ministry of Defense in Israel.
Q: You have a BAA out now and there's quite a bit of interest in supporting and submitting. Industry is interested to know, how many do you expect to receive in the way of -- (inaudible) -- or your quad-chart? And how can you possibly manage the probable number of responses you're going to get?
Reingruber: Jeff David has exactly those same questions. And -- no, I'm -- we can give you an update on where we are, where we think we're going to end up, and what it's going to take to handle this.
David: One thing I definitely want to point out is -- the broad agency announcements are nothing new to TSWG. We've been doing these for roughly six years. Prior experience -- which I don't think is going to be any real indicator in this case, but prior experience is, on the order of three times the number of registered users we have, is the number of submissions we receive. And last March, we issued two BAAs -- roughly 300 registered users, and we received roughly 900 submissions. As of today, we have more than 8,000 registered users. The BAA has been downloaded more than 80,000 times, and we have already received more than 700 submissions. Prior experience also tells us that 90-plus percent of submissions come in the last two days. So my speculation is 10,000 to 20,000 submissions, but in reality, we aren't sure.
Q: When's the deadline?
David: December 23rd at 4 p.m.
But how will we handle that is actually a very good question. We use a web-based system for receipt and review of those proposals. Prior years we Xeroxed them and FedEx-ed them out to our review teams. Obviously doesn't work. So using the web, we have more than 300 reviewers across the federal government who log in, view these proposals, fill out review forms, and we capture all this data and roll it up through multiple levels of the review process.
So for any one technology area, say, explosives detection, we have the DoD, the DoE and the FAA leads for explosives detection logging in and reviewing these proposals to make sure we have the top technology people ensuring we, one, don't miss anything, and two, take the best approaches.
Q: Do you have a checklist of requests from commanders or military officials in the field of things that they would like against which you hope to find solutions to on --
Reingruber: Yes, well -- well, yes, we have a checklist from a lot of folks. We are, in fact, as we said, an inter-agency group. And within our business cycle is a requirements-identification process, identification and prioritization. And we build that list, and that list is generally published -- first off, it's briefed to industry, and then it's published as a broad agency announcement. And we had already done that prior to this BAA for our business cycle for 2002. And so that's the list. All this is user-driven and not technology-push.
Q: So there isn't an updated list since September 11th that you're working from?
Reingruber: Well, there actually is an updated list. What you're seeing now is a confluence of the war-fighter entering the fray to combat terrorism. And this current BAA actually reflects that when we talk about protracted operations in remote areas and things like that. That was not -- that's not really normally under one of the pillars of combatting terrorism that we would traditionally address.
Did I get it all? Okay.
Q: Who are these registered users? And could you tell us just what effect September 11th seems to have had on these users?
David: The registered users are generally members of the technical support working group. And by members, we mean those representatives from the federal agencies who have either requirements in each of those mission areas or technology that they bring to the table. So the FAA leads in explosives detection and vehicle screening and luggage screening. CIA people from the counter-terrorism center, the Postal Inspection Service who does screening, those government employees and in some cases subject matter experts from DoE laboratories are our members and registered reviewers.
Q: Why did the registered users go up so dramatically between --
David: The registered reviewers did not. The registered users --
Q: That's what I meant.
David: -- who are required to -- you're required to register to submit a proposal.
Q: Okay, so after September 11th, several thousand more people registered so that they could submit proposals?
David: Yes. Yes.
Q: Is that --
David: The reviewers have not changed significantly at all.
Q: Right. I'm sorry, I was asking about the users.
David: Right, that's gone from about 300, which was standard, not defense contractors, but contractors, people who are used to reading the Commerce Business Daily and know how to work with the government.
It's expanded significantly since then.
Q: Can you mention a couple of the BAA things you're looking for, wish list, that were generated directly from either SOCOM, Central Command or Joint Special Operations Command?
Reingruber: It's the policy of TSWG that we do not reveal what agency submitted a specific requirement without their prior approval, and in this case, we don't have that.
Q: For any of the items, or --
Reingruber: Can't discuss it. Sorry.
Q: Can you say what some of those things are that are covered by the BAA?
Reingruber: The BAA had four major focus areas, which was very different than our traditional BAAs. The first one was combating terrorism. The second one was protracted operations in remote areas. The third one was location and defeat of difficult targets. And the fourth one was countermeasures for weapons of mass destruction. And some of the traditional areas where TSWG works were put under those broad headings.
QCan you walk us through the schedule? December 23rd you get everything. When do you actually start winnowing down source selection and putting parties on contract?
Reingruber: The review process has in one sense already started. We have been in there, and if people did not meet the format requirements -- which, while the submission requirements are very simple, some people are just submitting very long e-mails -- so we're immediately rejecting those and telling them we'll keep it on file, but if you want to submit for a potential contract award, here's the format you need to follow. In terms of detailed technical reviews of the submissions, those will not start until December 24th because vendors have until the 23rd to make any changes to their submission.
Q: Contract awards, though; I mean when are you --
Reingruber: Remember I mentioned that TSWG kind of does things differently? If we found something that was exceptionally good, that we really wanted to award, we could go to award probably in a matter of a month or two. However, finding that needle in a haystack with 10,000 or 20,000 submissions could be very difficult. I would probably guess a reasonable expectation for contract awards is March, maybe April. Could be earlier. It depends on how much time the reviewers have. It depends on too many things right now to guess.
Q: Have you seen anything that has really gripped you out of these first 700? Have you --
Q: Could you talk -- I mean, I know that you probably can't be terribly specific about it, but it came in from a company and you guys all read it and passed it around? Could you give us some of that?
Reingruber: Well, I saw one, immediately forwarded it to the office of the under secretary for acquisition technology and logistics, and he immediately forwarded it to one of our war-fighting generals and said, "This is something that you might be interested in." Have not heard back yet, and unfortunately, cannot give any specifics on it.
But I've been in that office for a long time, and it's rare that I see something that I think is really new and interesting, and this one definitely was.
Q: Is it from a source that you had never heard from before?
Reingruber: Absolutely. As a matter of fact, I think it's a guy in his garage.
Q: If it's a really, really good idea, does it have to go through this procedure, or can you like buy it next week?
Reingruber: This in particular was not a buy-it-next-week thing. It actually requires a little bit of development and testing. But everything is a case-by-case basis. There may be something that someone says, "Here's a suggestion; if you want it, it's yours." It may be that it takes $5 million to get to a prototype in a year. Really just don't know. All the ideas are so different.
Q: Typically, what's the proportion of contractors between the guys in the garage, the wizards, and companies?
Reingruber: I'd hate to even speculate. My contracting officer is one of the most creative people I've ever met, and she has been able to get contracts in place with people where we never thought it could happen. We have no waivers of any kind from any of the DOD or other rules, but we manage to make things happen. So I can't give you any prior numbers. All I can say is if we get good ideas, we'll find a way to make it happen.
Q: Can you say -- I realize this is very preliminary, but can you say even in gross terms how much contract volume might eventually come out of this process, this BAA?
David: In terms of dollars or actual contracts?
Q: Dollars, I was thinking.
David: We -- I don't have a firm number yet. The money will be provided by Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. We believe it'll be somewhere between 20 and 40 million.
Q: For these projects?
David: Yes, for the projects funded under the BAA. Yes.
Q: And what about the number of projects that you don't --
Reingruber: Depends on how expensive they are.
Q: Pardon me if you've already covered this, because I had to come in late, but do you -- how do you relate to Governor Ridge's office and the many proposals that he's getting?
David: Well, we have yet to brief Governor Ridge. We believe that will happen sometime before the end of the year. And we will then figure out exactly how the TSWG will in fact relate to Governor Ridge's office.
Q: But has he been forwarding any of these to you for evaluation?
David: Haven't gotten any from him at all.
Q: Finally, you know, is TSWG handling evaluations for the entire Department of Defense? And do you cover those from other agencies as well?
David: Yeah, under this particular BAA? We will be teaming with the OSD for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics to come up with review teams to handle the whole thing.
As I said earlier, a couple of the categories in this BAA are not traditional combatting-terrorism areas. They represent the war fighter. And so we're going to have to call on folks, not -- who don't normally review our submissions to come in and help on this one.
Q: But does that mean that you're going to be looking at civilian agencies, as well?
Reingruber: As far as reviewing?
Q: Yeah, as far as reviewing --
Q: -- applications that may not -- that may be good for part of the government but not necessarily DOD.
Reingruber: Absolutely. We always have the interagency in mind, and all those agencies -- FAA will be involved in review, Secret Service -- all the agencies we deal with -- FBI -- will be in the review.
Q: But if they see something they like, they can say, "We want this?"
Reingruber: They can say, "We want it." That's correct.
Q: Assuming that this emergency supplemental is finalized and that will probably dump a very large amount of money on agencies such as TSWG to responsibly manage, how is that going to change what you've told us about the historical budget and what you'll have for this BAA, et cetera?
Reingruber: Well, one can only hope that the supplemental indeed favors TSWG. We don't know how that's going to sort out. We of course have submitted to the supplemental for some ideas that we now have. We didn't ask for -- give us a half a billion dollars and we can do everything for you. We have specific requirements that we can't meet with our current funding that we asked for in a supplemental. Don't know how it's going to sort out.
Q: What's the amount in that -- in the supplemental?
Reingruber: The total supplemental?
Q: No. The portion you were just referring to.
Q: (Inaudible) -- requirement that you can't cover.
Reingruber: What did we ask for, is it about 20 (million dollars)?
David: I was thinking it was about 20 (million dollars).
Reingruber: Yeah. We -- recollection, about 20 million (dollars).
Q: Can you flush out one -- kind of -- (inaudible) -- example here? After the embassy bombings in '98, what retrofits did you help get installed in U.S. embassies around the world -- blast types or just something -- give us an example, something that's not that sensitive.
David: Can't discuss any specific retrofits, and especially cannot discuss where they are. But I can say that we have been validating the performance of Mylar films. There have been installations of the aramid-fiber wall catch systems. There are bars that come behind the Mylar curtains. There have been simple office layout guidelines that have been disseminated to people, saying make sure that you do or don't put systems and these kinds of things in front of windows, and design guidance for how to construct the buildings in the first place. But most of it's been retrofits because it's rare that we actually have a new building. Now, a lot of this information is available on that web page.
Q: What about the White House? You deal with Secret Service, so can you give us a sense of some of the presidential protection or White House retrofit issues you've dealt with?
David: I'd direct you to the Secret Service. I can't comment on that.
Q: You have participated or helped with some kind of retrofit?
David: We work extensively with the Secret Service. The specific areas in which we're cooperating I can't get into.
Q: Sir, can you talk about some of your biggest customers in DoD other than, obviously, the Special Operations Command. I'm assuming that the Marine Corps --
David: I can give you the list off the top of my head. A lot of this information is on our Web page. But, just to pick as an example, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the Naval EOD Technology Center, Joint Service Explosive Ordnance Disposal Community, the Defense Criminal -- the Criminal Investigations Laboratory --
Reingruber: Tech Escort.
David: -- the U.S. Army Tech Escort, the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force, the DoD Polygraph Institute. We have a slide that, somewhat jokingly I put up and tell people that if you can find any agency that we are not working with that we should be, I'll give you $10. I've only had to pay that once. And I've been doing that briefing for seven years.
So we do work with nearly everyone, not only executive branch, but judicial and legislative, as well.
Q: Can you take us through the process that you go through from the time a requirement is identified to the time a system is fielded?
David: Sure. We're actually coming up on that process now. Our investigative support and forensics subgroup met today. And they come in, the users say, "I need this, and I don't have it. I need to be able to perform this mission, and I can't do it." They will simply vote -- raise their hand -- and they come up with a prioritized list.
We take that list, and we try and guess how much is each one of these things going to cost to fulfill. Then we have the lists from all nine of our subgroups; we'll come up with one list, try and figure out what our budget next year can bear and then advertise those requirements that can be advertised and look for solutions.
Once we have those one-page quad charts, we go back and refine those budget numbers and see, did we ask for the right number of requirements? Maybe we can add some. Maybe we can't afford them all. We then go out and ask for white papers on those that look very promising. Once those are done, we have more refined budget numbers. We go back and ask for full proposals on those where we are absolutely certain we're going to have sufficient funds to award them. One, we don't want to take people's time and energy writing proposals that we don't have the money for. And we think industry appreciates that.
Once we get program authorization from the executive committee -- specifically, the ambassador and the assistant secretary sign off on our program -- then we start awarding contracts. From the time those requirements are identified, it's usually second quarter of our fiscal year. The time that the funds are actually going on contracts is the first quarter of the following fiscal year. That's the norm. If there's an emergency, the norm goes out the window.
If something emergent comes up, and we just have to change, we can do that.
Reingruber: Two more.
Q: Once again, I apologize if you've covered this. What about intellectual property? If Joe in his garage sells something to DoD how does the -- I mean particularly if it's something that could have commercial applications.
David: We realized that this could be a problem roughly three years ago, and we hired a not-quite-full-time technology transfer consultant who, from the time we get the initial quad chart, works with these people to make sure that their intellectual property rights are protected as well as the government's. So he helps them file for patents. He helps them come up with marketing strategies, if that's the government's desire, to get it on the commercial market, and helps make sure that he knows where this products is going to go so that he can sell them to the right people. And this has been very productive, not only for us, but for industry as well.
Q: Can you give us a rough idea of who owns what then in the process?
David: It depends on when invention disclosure forms were filed, who paid for what proportion. It is an extremely --
Q: (off mike)
David: If someone comes to us and they have already patented something and they just want to sell it to us, the government has very little rights in it. We can go to them and them alone. If someone comes to us with an idea and has no patent, and then we go in and put a significant level of funding in it, we will at a minimum get government purpose rights, and in many cases, we may actually get unlimited rights.
I'm reluctant to speak in much more detail than that, because honestly, the reason we hired a technology transfer consultant is no one on the staff knew enough about it to do it properly. So that's why we've had this person for the last three years, and it's worked out very well.
Q: Does the guy in the garage know how excited you are about his proposal, the one you talked about earlier?
David: Does not know.
Q: Did you get in touch with him? He doesn't know?
David: He does not know.
Q: Is he sitting on a gold mine?
David: I don't know that it's a gold mine. But it was an innovative application of technology. We were very pleased with it. It's one of those cases where -- and this happens with TSWG quite a lot -- you come in with an idea, and someone says, "Aren't people already doing this? This is so obvious." But no, no one had ever thought of it.
Q: What category is it in of the four? (laughter)
Q: What category is it in?
David: It didn't fit in any of the categories, so I think he submitted it to all four. And that happens quite frequently.
Q: You'll have to come back and tell us about it.
David: If it gets awarded, we'll be happy to do that.
Reingruber: Thanks very much.
Q: Thank you.
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