Energy Department requests information for counter-drone capabilities

On behalf of the National Nuclear Security Administration, Sandia National Laboratories requested information for available counter-drone technologies.
Drone flying at the airport near an aircraft leading to a possible crash or accident. Illegal UAV flight inside the airport conceptual montage. (Image credit: Getty Images / Joel Papalini).

The Department of Energy is seeking information about the available technologies, approaches and business models for counter-drone capabilities until the end of January.

DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories, on behalf of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Center for Security, Technology, Analysis, Response and Testing within the Defense Nuclear Security Office (NA-70), released a request Monday for information on counter uncrewed aircraft systems (cUAS), more commonly known as “drones.” This request is not an obligation for Sandia to acquire any services, according to the release. 

Specifically, the RFI cites wanting to explore command and control [C2] systems that are “highly agile and adaptable to evolving threats,” and have capabilities that enable “seamless integration of sensors, effectors and C2 algorithms” from various suppliers. The department also requested that the information it receives involve systems that are able to upgrade as the latest technology arrives, briefly and cost-effectively. 

“The widespread availability and rapid evolution of small uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS) … pose significant security challenges,” the request states. “NA-70 has begun to plan for its long-term, next-generation approach to counter the UAS threat.”


DOE is looking to approach a cUAS system that is “fully adaptable to different sites,” encompassing high-security sites that range from flat terrain with a smaller population to one that is highly populated and situated in mountainous terrain. 

The RFI highlights three critical goals: maximizing the performance of the system as well as the extensibility, documenting system decision processes fully and providing government ownership of the core technical elements of the cUAS system.

Additionally, NA-70 noted an emphasis on data transparency as a “core requirement that permeates all aspects of the next-generation system,” extending to system development like exposure of source code and training data with the government. That also would include operations such as “sensors capable of both raw and processed data.”

Caroline Nihill

Written by Caroline Nihill

Caroline Nihill is a reporter for FedScoop in Washington, D.C., covering federal IT. Her reporting has included the tracking of artificial intelligence governance from the White House and Congress, as well as modernization efforts across the federal government. Caroline was previously an editorial fellow for Scoop News Group, writing for FedScoop, StateScoop, CyberScoop, EdScoop and DefenseScoop. She earned her bachelor’s in media and journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill after transferring from the University of Mississippi.

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