The Army's Venture Captialists

Okay. Raise your hand if you knew the Army had a venture capital group. I sure as hell didn't.30covdc.jpgOnPoint Technologies was founded in 2002, mostly to kick-start the mobile power sector. Fully-loaded soldiers today are often forced to carry tens of pounds of batteries in their ruck sacks. And the situation is only set to get worse, as more electronics are added to the individual G.I.'s arsenal. So OnPoint has sunk cash into stuff like rechargable batteries and next-gen solar cells.But don't get too attached to OnPoint, now that you've found out about it. To help pay for Katrina aid, the President wants Congress to take $2.3 billion out of "Download lower-priority federal programs and excess funds." That includes "$14 million in unobligated balances" from OnPoint."As of the end of FY 2005, OnPoint had more than $30 million in unused balances," the President's report notes. "The allocation of additional funds to OnPoint is not a high priority and rescinding these funds will have minimal impact on the program."THERE'S MORE: File this under "Left Hand, Right Hand." OnPoint's "unobligated" $14 million? The Army gave it to the fund at the end of July, Inside Defense notes. Here's what OnPoint expects to see from its investments:

By January, for example, OnPoint expects a state of charge capability, now unavailable to the Army, to make it to the field, allowing soldiers to know how much power is left in a battery. Eighteen months after that, Rottenberg expects better, higher-energy batteries to be available, allowing soldiers to carry fewer batteries -- two instead of four for example -- that might weigh a kilogram each. And longer term, he said, the service could see the introduction of fuel cells, allowing soldiers to rely on small cartridges instead of bulky batteries.
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