Visit to Vilnius U.S. – Baltics Defense Industry Day 2023

Representatives from the ISSP UL’s Development Department, Ainars Knoks and Olga Bogdanova, participated in the U.S. – Baltics Defense Industry Day in Vilnius, Lithuania, on the 28th of August 2023.

At the event, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) informed about the possibilities of the Foreign Comparative Testing Program, as part of which foreign technology companies can receive support for the further development of their products while covering the gaps in U.S. capabilities. In addition, there was a panel discussion called "Doing Business with DoD" to discuss the principles of defense cooperation with the US government.

The event was oriented towards the industry of the Baltic region and possible collaboration models with the DoD, including commercialization and cooperation with the U.S. Army, Navy, etc. During this visit, the ISSP UL’s representatives made contact with the U.S. representatives. They discussed possible directions and funding with the Latvian Ministry of Defense, such as participation in FCT, where one can submit an idea of technology and/or process to the managing person, which forwards it to the appropriate laboratory/research group within the U.S. military. This means that the ideas are forwarded not only to the U.S. Army but also to other departments.

The technology must be at least TRL 4, and if it seems interesting, the appropriate researcher will be introduced to other experts, and further details will be discussed. If technology is interesting enough, it can be licensed or purchased for testing within the USA. Upon successful tests, technology can be bought by the DoD in some capacity.

It was clarified that this was a great option for screening and validating technologies for actual use in the military. In the case of being chosen, it can be applied in Latvia, NATO, or other military uses.

During the U.S. – Baltics Defense Industry Day 2023, there was an exhibition of the represented companies. More than 20 participants from the Latvian industry took part in this event.

Latvia is one of the 28 countries that have concluded the Reciprocal Defense Procurement Agreement (RDP agreement) with the USA, which provides for the mutual provision of certain advantages to the countries by their national legislation. This agreement provides a framework for communication between the participating countries on market access and procurement procedures, including facilitating the exchange of information on related legislation, regulations, and administrative procedures for procurement and improving market access in general.

The US-Baltic Defense Industry Day has become an annual event. The last time it took place was on October 26, 2022, in Riga.