The Security Network: Helping Small Defense Companies Innovate and Work Together

11/17/08Follow @bvbigelow

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off-the-shelf, dual-use technologies from around the world—they could be from Des Moines or Boston, Perth or Berlin—and we try to help those technologies get to the right market. It could be the DoD, law enforcement agencies, or commercial customers.”

Often times, The Security Network helps small companies adapt their commercial technologies for military customers.

The Security Network at first sought to promote all kinds of San Diego technologies for military use. But in recent years, Jones says SPAWAR and other military procurement agencies have advised them to focus more on four specific areas of new technology development.

Those areas consist of C4ISR, advanced robotics, information assurance, and the sensors and sensor networking technologies.

As an example, Jones cites Intellicheck Mobilisa of Port Townsend, WA, which specializes in access control and identity verification technologies. During last week’s forum on maritime law enforcement and security, the company presented information on its development of a wireless buoy network that can detect waterborne threats and alert authorities.

Another company based in the San Diego area, Micro USA, demonstrated Deep Sea View, its electro-optical system intended to look underwater for swimmers, mines, mini-subs and other submerged objects.

“It’s really interesting,” Jones adds, “because most VCs have no interest in investing in new defense technologies or companies. They think the customer base is too concentrated and the government’s purchasing cycle takes too long and is subject to too many vagaries.”

The Security Network serves a slightly different role than venture capitalists. Instead of supplying capital, it helps connect small companies with military procurement agencies and other sources of funding. While there’s not much coordination for many technologies being developed in San Diego, Jones says, “We’re a non-profit education organization that runs events in the hopes of creating opportunities for working together.”

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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