Where is COTS Technology Today?


It’s been more than 20 years since then U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry issued his famous – some say infamous – COTS memo, which ordered the Department of Defense to buy commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technology wherever and whenever possible. Back then COTS was a four-letter word among many in the government and the primes, equating with cheap products bought at retail stores. 

Now a little more than two decades later, the COTS industry is flourishing with many mil-spec products being offered as COTS and with strong track records of use in mission critical applications. However, the dark side of COTS – obsolescence – still lurks and is unlikely to change as commercial component suppliers answer to large volume consumer markets. Today COTS is still a method of procurement and to some still a marketing term. This e-cast panel of industry experts will discuss where COTS is today, how it is defined, how it fits in with a procurement world of cutbacks, non-developmental items (NDIs), and Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs). 

GE Intelligent Platforms, North Atlantic Industries, Pentek, United Electronic Industries 

John McHale, OpenSystems Media 

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