On October 20, the Defense Department announced an $87 million, seven-year award to the Bio-Industrial Manufacturing and Design Ecosystem (BioMADE), a nonprofit created by the Engineering Biology Research Consortium, for a new Manufacturing Innovation Institute (MII). BioMADE, headquartered at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, will collaborate with public and private entities to advance sustainable and reliable bio-industrial manufacturing technologies, according to a DOD statement.
Department of Defense
To fully counter the threats posed by adversaries, the Department of Defense needs to harness autonomous and robotic systems, artificial intelligence and machine learning. The nation’s military is falling short of pursuing those systems on the large scale necessary, an expert says. Moreover, the department needs to holistically consider the purpose for which it is harnessing artificial intelligence, or AI, across the services, says Robert Work, the former 32nd deputy secretary of defense.
Mark Lewis, director of defense research and engineering for modernization at the Pentagon, provided an update on the Department of Defense’s modernization efforts during his keynote on day one of the AFCEA/GMU Critical Issues in C4I Symposium.
Lewis is focused on the modernization priorities that will inform the warfighter of the future and will set them up to be successful in the 5-, 10- and 15-year time horizons.
Under a $126 million contract, the Department of Defense selected St. Paul, Minnesota-based 3M to increase production of N95 medical-grade masks to aid in the COVID-19 pandemic, DOD reported on May 7. In coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services, the company will produce 26 million N95 medical-grade masks per month, starting in October 2020.
"Spearheaded by the Department’s Joint Acquisition Task Force, and funded through the CARES Act, this increased production/industrial capacity will continue to ensure a sustainable supply chain of N95 respirators and resupply the Strategic National Stockpile in response to the increased national demand caused by the COVID 19 pandemic," a DOD spokeman said.
The U.S. Department of Defense successfully tested a hypersonic glide body in a flight experiment held at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii.
This event is a major milestone toward the department’s goal of fielding hypersonic warfighting capabilities in the early- to mid-2020s.
Cloud computing can quicken U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) efforts toward information dominance, but agencies must be measured and deliberate in the march toward the cloud.
Essye Miller, principal deputy, Department of Defense chief information officer (DOD CIO), wants to reshape the cyber workforce conversation. And, she told the audience at the Cyber Education, Research and Training Symposium (CERTS), she needs their help.
To remain relevant, the Army National Guard must completely divest GuardNet, its information technology network, and converge with the Army’s Department of Defense Information Network. This step will prevent the Guard from reverting to a strategic reserve and enable full-time staffing of tactical communication system readiness to completely participate in dynamic force employment as an operational reserve. It also will repurpose the resources allocated to managing this nondeployable network so tactical units can meet the faster deployment time lines needed in the new security environment.
A new report on the commoditization of cyber weapons suggests that the easy availability of inexpensive offensive cyber tools is reshaping the cyber threat landscape. The report is being briefed to officials across the federal government, including elements of the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), FBI, Senate Cyber Caucus and the Secret Service.
To build the Space Force, the proposed sixth service of the U.S. military, the Defense Department will initially pull from all the services, not just the Air Force, according to Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy Steve Kitay. It will truly be a joint warfighting service, he stressed.
According to an announcement from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (Pitt), the Department of Defense has selected Pitt and neighboring Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) to create an autonomous trauma care system for injured soldiers. Under the so-called TRAuma Care In a Rucksack program or TRACIR, the universities will work to develop artificial intelligence (AI) platforms that enable medical interventions.
Carlsbad, California-based Viasat Inc. announced on May 21 that the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) had awarded the company a five-year, sole-source indefinite delivery indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract for rapid migration of command, control, communications, computers and cyber (C5AD) capabilities. The IDIQ, which has a maximum ceiling of $450 million, was structured by GSA to meet the immediate needs of the Department of Defense (DoD) in mobile networking, cybersecurity and broadband satellite communications technology sectors.
The Defense Department is pursuing acquisition improvements to improve the effectiveness of its solicitation processes, to advance the cybersecurity of needed solutions and to meet rising adversarial threats, according to Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord.
“We have made significant progress in the field of acquisition reform in 2018,” Lord said. “And in 2019 we will continue efforts to improve the way the department does business.”
Eric D. Chewning has been selected for appointment to the chief of staff to the Secretary of Defense.
The Department of Defense has awarded $10 million in funding to the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII), with an option of $20 million more over the upcoming five years to lead the digital future of manufacturing, according to a report from DOD. The award is part of a new multi-year follow-on agreement with a ceiling of $60 million of government funding.
To maintain its strategic position in the world, succeed on future battlefields and protect the homeland, the Department of Defense must increase the adoption of artificial intelligence, according to the department’s newly released Artificial Intelligence Strategy.
Michael Conlin has been appointed the first chief data officer for the U.S. Defense Department.
Ever-expanding reviews and policies aren’t the only way to control enterprise information technology projects. Instead, management should establish clear standards and incentivize project managers to choose enterprise-friendly designs that streamline external reviews and eliminate the delays and costs associated with compliance.
Information technology projects have distinct requirements: cybersecurity, privacy and Section 508 compliance. These necessary requirements add a significant burden and can cause slowdowns and cost overruns. Other external challenges come from the budgeting process, procurement and configuration management.
The days of the United States’ stature as a force without equal appear to be over. The threat of near-peer competition with increasingly sophisticated adversaries is growing. As Secretary of Defense James Mattis says in the National Defense Strategy, "America has no preordained right to victory on the battlefield."
Although GPS-enabled activity-tracking applications like Strava may help warfighters keep fit, the applications may also reveal important information about military bases or soldier locations. One application revealed a concentration of U.S military personnel at a base overseas when shared as social media postings.
Given the rising concerns, officials at the Pentagon announced at a January 29 press conference the DOD would be looking into the issue, according to a report from Jim Garamone of DOD News.