The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency's (DARPA) Strategic Technology Office (STO) is considering the development of a system-of-systems architecture and critical components to support networked maritime operations, to include undersea, surface, and above surface domains.

DARPA STO is considering the development of architectures, infrastructure and technology components to support affordable, adaptive and persistent maritime operations in contested environments. The goal is to maintain and enhance US maritime superiority using distributed and disaggregated systems as force multipliers for scarce capital assets, or that may provide unique stand-alone capability. The system-of-systems architecture is designed to provide the capability to rapidly adapt to new threats or new missions without the long development cycles typical of current systems. The ability to rapidly and cost-effectively adapt to new missions and new threats is central to successful operations in an era of globally proliferated technology. Capacity enhancement through affordability and networked synergies will ensure the ability of the United States to maintain superiority in contested environments.

DARPA believes that there are some core tenets to successful networked operations in the maritime environment:

• Integration with current assets and operations, providing commanders with the potential to enhance tactics, techniques and procedures to ensure mission success. This implies a mix of high-end and low-end sensors, weapons and manned and unmanned platforms, and the tools to manage this mix effectively over a network.
• The cost to an adversary of finding and defeating the asset must be higher than the fielding cost.
• Ubiquitous, survivable, and persistent communications and networking throughout the undersea, surface and above surface domains.
• Long-endurance (months to years) off-board assets capable of operating autonomously, or with minimal operator intervention.
• Cost-effective proliferation of assets to cover significant maritime operational areas and create a persistent operational footprint in areas of interest.
• Specialized, upgradeable assets to provide a rapidly adaptable capability that covers the complete mission area from surveillance to strike.
• Efficient, survivable methods of delivering off-board platforms, sensors and effects packages.

DARPA/STO is interested in information that can be used to assess the viability and timeliness of this vision. Specifically, novel system-of-systems architectures can be presented that provide an alternative realization of networked operations at sea. Responses may also focus on specific aspects of implementing the vision. The following key points should be considered in the three-page submission:

1. What standards, technologies and architecture elements are required to create a maritime network capable of supporting survivable, persistent, ubiquitous networked operations across the undersea, surface and above surface domains?
2. What critical functions reside in the network?
3. How can integration with current platforms and operations be addressed efficiently and adaptively when developing off-board networked sensors and platforms?
4. What design methodologies are critical to rapidly, reliably and cost-effectively adapting the network and network elements to emerging missions and threats?
5. What maritime platforms, sensors and effects packages create the greatest cost and mission leverage in contested environments?
6. What are the challenges to developing reliable, specialized autonomous unmanned systems?
7. How can synergistic or novel effects be achieved through networked operations?
8. How can off board systems be rapidly, survivably and cost-effectively delivered to contested areas?
9. What tools are available to manage distributed maritime systems and networks, and what tools need to be developed?
10. What are the requirements for network defense and information assurance given physical compromise of unmanned network elements is possible?
11. How can the network be used to effectively deny and disrupt adversary maritime networks?

DARPA/STO intends to use the results of this RFI to inform a decision of whether or not to pursue networked maritime operations in support of DARPA/STO goals and objectives.


Submissions should be emailed as an attachment in a commonly used format to no later than September 19, 2014. DARPA/STO is interested in all responses. Submissions should adhere to the following format:

Section 1: Cover Page to include individual's name, business address, organization affiliation, and email address (One Page).

Section 2: Consideration of the key points listed above. Do not include classified information in this response. Respondents who need to submit classified information in order to adequately address these questions should contact Mr. David Stiffler (703) 526-2838 for instructions. (Maximum of 3 pages; recommend a maximum of two figures).


This RFI is issued solely for information gathering and planning purposes; this RFI does not constitute a formal solicitation for proposals. In accordance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 15.201(e), responses to this RFI are not offers and cannot be accepted by the Government to form a binding contract. DARPA will not provide reimbursement for costs incurred in responding to this RFI or reimbursement for travel. Respondents are advised that DARPA is under no obligation to provide feedback to respondents with respect to any information submitted under this RFI. Response to this RFI is strictly voluntary and is not required to propose to subsequent solicitations related to this RFI, if any. Submissions will be reviewed by DARPA and DARPA support contractors. All personnel with access to the submissions will be covered by a legally-binding nondisclosure agreement.

Responses containing proprietary information must be appropriately marked and can be encrypted by following the directions below. The encryption step is optional and not required for submission.

Responses submitted electronically can be encrypted using WinZip or PKZip with 256-bit AES encryption. An email to must also be submitted separately with the encryption password at the time of submission. Note the word "PASSWORD" must appear in the subject line of the above email. Failure to provide the encryption password may result in the response not being reviewed.


Inquiries should be submitted to


DARPA/STO Attn: DARPA-SN-14-57 675 North Randolph Street Arlington, Virginia 22203-2114 United States

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