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Procuring Innovative Cybersecurity Technologies
One way for the government to procure the most advanced cybersecurity technologies is to invest in promising start-up companies that have the potential to develop products meeting the needs of intelligence agencies. The Central Intelligence Agency began that innovative procurement strategy in 1999 by establishing In-Q-Tel, a private, non-profit venture capital company.

According to The Washington Post, since In-Q-Tel began operations the firm has "invested in about 90 companies, and for its current fiscal year it has a $60 million budget." According to officials with the venture capital company, "about 70 percent of the companies they have invested in are doing business with intelligence agencies within a year of the investment."

In a sign that In-Q-Tel has matured from a novel idea to an established part of the venture capital community, the company has hired a new CEO to replace their founding Chief Executive. Among the new CEO's priorities are to continue expanding the relations In-Q-Tel has with various federal agencies. As the new CEO explained, "We're at this historic point where the intelligence community is going through a transformation, and technology can represent the greatest threat or the greatest opportunity."

In-Q-Tel is an important example of how the government can use the competitive process to harness the unique creative capabilities of the private sector to serve the public interest.

  • Click for The Washington Post article

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