The NIWC Atlantic Palmetto Tech Prize Challenge is seeking submissions for the following two topics. This prize challenge is under 10 USC § 2374a and is considered an independent effort. However, the results of this prize challenge may result in an additional follow-on acquisition opportunity.
Topic 1: Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Creating, managing, and sustaining our command’s data resources and repositories is a daily requirement for our business operation competencies (Finance, Contracts, HR, Supply Chain, etc). Most of this work is extremely manual in nature with standard business practices and rules that Robotic Process Automation (RPA) solutions should be able to accommodate. RPA will allow us to move our employees away from these manually intensive tasks to more high-value work.
In Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20), NIWC Atlantic began developing attended bots for a few of our competencies as proof of concepts/pilots to show the value RPA can provide to our command. NIWC Atlantic utilized the RPA Playbook developed by the Federal RPA community of practice to align with the desktop model approach. While these attended bots have demonstrated the value automation can provide to the command, they are constrained to individual users and their computer assets being dedicated to execute. NIWC Atlantic conducts most of our business operations through Department of Defense (DoD) approved networks and tools which require DoD Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) credentials to access and operate. Our attended bots require a user to initiate and leave their DoD Common Access Card (CAC) with PKI credentials inside their computer as the bots require those to operate within our network and tools. While the bots are running, users are unable to utilize their computer or CAC for other work that needs to be executed.
NIWC Atlantic is seeking RPA expertise to understand Enterprise RPA solutions that provide unattended bots that can be scheduled or triggered based on input received. An unattended, Enterprise RPA solution will allow NIWC Atlantic to achieve the true value RPA provides, enabling us to focus our human capital towards more analytical, innovative, and meaningful work. The unattended RPA solution would require DoD PKI credentials to operate within our environments and will need to be able to operate on the Navy Marine Corp Intranet (NMCI) network where all of our work is executed. The NMCI network is a DoD approved network with stringent security requirements and software application approvals that will need to be factored into potential solutions.
Topic 2: Position Navigation and Timing (PNT) The Marine Corps seeks an alternative strategy to provide Position Navigation and Timing (PNT) inputs in environments where input may not be available or not as reliable from the Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) constellation. Any viable alternative must operate under conditions where radio frequency PNT signals are temporarily or permanently denied, degraded, or unreliable. Ability to overcome additional constraints of the operating environment (such as environments indoors, underground, or where radio frequency signals cannot be received) is also of value. Ideal solutions should be able to support diverse use cases in support of small, mobile systems, including dismounted Marines using an alternative PNT data input to locate and track oneself, and others (by feeding such input into a network). Use cases include individuals/units navigating within a building or across large geographic areas, and using alternative PNT data input to locate and track individuals, small unmanned surface, subsurface, or air vehicles.
The Challenge will go through a two-stage judging process.
- Stage 1: Initial Submissions. Submissions will be judged by panel members with resident knowledge of the subject. Judging panel members will evaluate each submission based on the criteria outlined in the judging criteria below. Each topic will be evaluated separately and independently from one another. The goal of Stage 1 for the evaluators is to select five (5) participants and one (1) alternate to present oral presentations at the CDCA Summit on March 3, 2021. In the event that one of the first five (5) participants selected for oral presentations cannot attend the CDCA Summit, the alternate’s participant will be contacted for interest in presenting an oral presentation.
- Stage 2: Oral Presentations at the CDCA Summit. The top five (5) participants for each technology category will be invited to present, at their own cost, the technology topic associated with their initial submission. The oral presentation will be conducted with the Government evaluators and other government representatives interested in the exchange. The audience could be made up of both CDCA Conference attendees and government representatives. If the Presenter wishes to have only government representatives in attendance, the participant will need to notify the organizer of this prize challenge in advance of the presentation. The oral presentation should be limited to a not to exceed 30 minute period followed by approximately 20 minutes of questions and answers. Only the government evaluators will ask questions. At the conclusion of all oral presentations, the Government judging panel team will privately discuss the oral presentations to determine the Prize Challenge winner and a runner up.
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The Prize Challenge Winner for each topic will be announced on the third day of the CDCA Summit, 5 March, 2021. Each topic will present a Prize of $10,000 and also an Honorable Mention for the runner up.
Prizes will be distributed to the eligible winners via electronic funds transfer (EFT), within 90 business days of the announcement of the winner(s). NIWC Atlantic will distribute the funds evenly to all team members. Eligibility to receive an award is based upon the participant’s adherence to all rules for this Challenge. Funding for this Challenge will come from both overhead and direct funding.