Cyber-ops mean job growth

Officer: NRO to need more contractors. Among expanding areas: mini-satellites, cybersecurity.

Those are among the growth areas in which the NRO, which launches the nation’s space-based constellation of spy satellites, will see growth, Lt. Col. Chris Boring said.

The Air Force officer spoke Wednesday to the Dayton Area Defense Contractors Association at the Hope Hotel at Wright-Patterson. The secretive NRO has long had a presence at the base, with partnerships with the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Air Force Institute of Technology.

The agency has taken a more public position in the last year, assigning a senior field representative to Wright-Patterson who outlined to defense contractors Wednesday how to apply for business or research funding.

In an era of tight federal budgets, partnerships with the private sector and academia could become more common, he said. “We are all aware of the fiscal constraints our government has,” he said.

The agency will look for cheaper ways to carry out its surveillance mission, too. CubeSats, or mini-satellites, for example, will focus on specific capabilities, he said. “It’s much more cost-efficient.”

The Acquisitions Research Center is the portal that businesses use to compete for contracts. The website is https://arc.westfields.net.

The Director’s Innovation Initiative allows grants of up to $400,000 for both classified and unclassified research and development efforts. The website is https://dii.westfields.net.

Dale J. Kirby, incoming president of Dayton Area Defense Contractors Association, said the NRO’s high-tech surveillance needs, from cameras to sensors to data analysis, represent areas in which Miami Valley firms have expertise. The region has a strong defense contractor base tied to Wright-Patterson.

The NRO already contracts with area firms, but Boring did not elaborate. “The specific company names and what they do is classified,” he said.

Contact this reporter at (937) 225-2363 or bbarber@DaytonDailyNews.com.

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