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The Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) supports DARPA's mission of creating and preventing strategic surprise by investing in areas such as microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), electronics, computing, photonics and biotechnology.
In recent years, the proliferation of commercial components and manufacturing processes has made advanced technologies accessible to all, leveling the playing field. In response, MTO is dedicated to leveraging, countering and transcending these commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) approaches. MTO aims to multiply the power of COTS by aggregating, adapting and integrating components into networks and systems for the benefit of the warfighter. MTO seeks methods for countering threats (both incidental and intentional) that arise from sustained advancements in cheap and readily available technologies. Lastly, MTO develops high-risk, high-reward technologies outside and beyond the scope of the commercial industry to secure the DoD's technological superiority. By continuing to create revolutionary capabilities, MTO seeks to "un-level" the playing field.