On June 4, 2020, DIU hosted a public webinar explaining our solicitation and competitive evaluation process, which we call the Commercial Solutions Opening (CSO). Chris Hetz, DIU’s Director of Acquisition, and Army Contracting Command-New Jersey’s Chris Fotiadis, Branch Chief, Innovative Concepts Division, shared how the CSO allows us to prototype and acquire technology quickly, providing a streamlined and flexible process that makes it easier for commercial companies to do business with the Department of Defense (DoD).
DIU’s CSO begins with a public DIU solicitation seeking out commercial solutions to a DoD challenge and completes with a prototype agreement (or agreements) with the potential to scale to a large-volume defense contract. Initial barriers to entry are low: companies must only submit a short solution brief in order to compete. As the evaluation and down-selection process progresses, we request increasingly detailed explanations of proposed solutions and schedule pitch meetings. Upon receiving a Request for Prototype Proposal, selected companies have the opportunity to inform agreement scope and milestone development with DIU and its DoD partners.
We want to make it easy for entrepreneurs to say yes to working with DoD. By keeping our CSO process simple, DIU reduces the time to award and opens the defense market to more nontraditional competitors who can deliver advanced, innovative solutions to our service members. There are a number of ways to do business with DoD but not every pathway may be the best fit for your company or DoD organization. If you missed our webinar to learn more about why the CSO could work for you, we'll likely host more in the future.