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News | Nov. 18, 2020

DOD Prioritizes December Launch of 'Trusted Capital Marketplace'

By C. Todd Lopez DOD News

While plans are underway for a change in administration, officials within the Defense Department still have several goals they'd like to achieve. Among those is implementation of the "Trusted Capital Marketplace," the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment said.

"[One] area that we want to bring over the finish line here is our trusted capital project," Ellen Lord said during an online discussion today as part of the three-day American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics ASCEND Summit. "We'd like to think the capital markets are very, very efficient. But we work with the Council on Foreign Investment in the U.S. to block or undo a lot of transactions where our adversaries are coming in and buying companies that are critical for our national technology initiatives."

The Trusted Capital Marketplace project is a department effort within A&S meant to both support the defense industrial base and limit adversary nation access to American technology. The effort is in response to a mandate by Congress laid out in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act.

Within the Trusted Capital Marketplace, the department will be involved in matching up businesses in need of investment with investors that have been shown to not have ties to adversarial nations.

"What we want to do is instead of driving companies, or driving people trying to sell real estate to these adversarial and nefarious kinds of actors out there, we want to be able to partner people with clean money with companies where we understand the beneficial ownership and grow that capability for the betterment of our national security and economic security," Lord said.

To facilitate that, there's going to be an electronic marketplace, she said, something she said pairs up cleared investors and companies in need of investment in much the same way a dating website might work.

"What we're doing is clearing people with money, investors, and then companies that have critical technology for the Department of Defense, and giving them a place where they can get together and talk and hopefully do some deals," she said.

Lord said she expects the Trusted Capital Marketplace to be available in December.

"We are literally just going through federal paperwork right now to launch this," she said. "I'm really excited about our Trusted Capital Marketplace."