On July 23, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency officially opened its first unclassified innovation center, Moonshot Laboratories. Located within the facilities of T-REX, a nonprofit innovation and entrepreneur development center in St. Louis, Moonshot Labs aims to attract entrepreneurs and venture capitalists investing in geospatial-intelligence, or GEOINT, technologies. By locating such a facility outside of NGA’s classified infrastructure, it makes it easier for academia, nontraditional and traditional GEOINT companies to participate in technology and software development.
As the U.S. Air Force is pursuing digital transformation and agile software development, its contractors are also leaning into new processes to provide swift updates to key systems. Northrop Grumman, the manufacturer of the active electronically scanned array AN/APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) software for the F-16 Viper fighter aircraft, has seen some initial success in providing lean-agile software development, according to the company.
The U.S. Navy is looking for speed—not speed of platforms or vehicles, but of innovation. Introducing new capabilities into the force rapidly is vitally important to maintain the combat edge necessary to deter or defeat adversaries that are building up steam in their efforts to confront the U.S. military.
This will require tapping industry for innovative information technology advances. Ensuring that speed of capability may require working with the commercial sector to steer it into the right areas to suit naval needs. Ultimately, software-defined systems may hold the key to keeping ahead of the deployment curve in technology-based systems.
The U.S. Air Force’s innovation arm, AFWERX, is looking for state-of-the-art data, sensor and communication solutions in three concurrent competition areas: the Aircraft Maintenance Operations Challenge; the Flightline Security Challenge; and the Airfield Maintenance and Repair Challenge, which are all part of a greater effort called the Revolutionizing USAF Flightline Operations Challenge.
Back to basics may be the mantra for integrating innovation into the U.S. Navy. The long-held goal of network-centric warfare is more important than ever, and standards definition may hold the key for successful naval innovation.
The need for innovation is emphasized by advances by peer adversaries around the world. To keep up with ever-increasing challenges, the Navy is looking toward new weapons, unmanned systems and advanced dataflow to unify its operations against potential foes’ growing capabilities.
The U.S. Navy is looking for speed—not faster platforms or vehicles but innovation. Introducing new capabilities into the force rapidly is vitally important to maintaining the combat edge necessary to deter or defeat adversaries who are building up steam in their efforts to confront the U.S. military.
Accomplishing this task will require tapping industry for novel information technology advances and ensuring its success may entail working with the commercial sector to steer it into the right areas to suit naval needs. Ultimately, software-defined systems may hold the key to staying ahead of the deployment curve in technology-based systems.
Like most organizations during the pandemic, the Defense Information Systems Agency, or DISA, is doing things a bit differently this year. Naturally, the agency is leveraging virtual events to increase its engagement with key mission partners, as well as government, industry and academia, including at the annual TechNet Cyber conference, noted Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, USN, DISA’s director and the commander of Joint Forces Headquarters for the Department of Defense Information Systems Network (JFHQ-DODIN).
Speed will be the order of the day for military information systems as new technologies incorporate breakthrough innovations. Hardware also will transform as capabilities grow in influence. But above all, the entire defense information system community is undergoing major cultural changes spawned by a combination of innovation and disease.
The U.S. Air Force, led by Brig. Gen. Chad Raduege, USAF, the Air Combat Command’s A-6, along with Deputy Chief Information Officer Lauren Knausenberger, is pursuing Operation Flamethrower, an aggressive project to abandon legacy network-related policies, processes or equipment that are not working. The tongue-in-cheek name of the effort is meant to illuminate the nature in which leaders will eliminate ineffective or redundant components in order to drive innovation.
“We are ruthlessly going after these things and setting them on fire,” Knausenberger said.
The new concept of employing computerized modeling and virtualization to the acquisition cycle may provide advanced aircraft more quickly to the U.S. Air Force, said Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach, USAF, commander, Pacific Air Forces (PACAF); Air Component commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command; and executive director, Pacific Air Combat Operations Staff, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. The concept can also be applied to communications, sensors and network systems.
The new PACAF commander spoke at a recent Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies virtual event.
The U.S. Air Force is preparing to have initial electric vertical takeoff and landing, or eVTOL, testing by December and a more substantial fielding of an estimated 30 or more eVTOL aircraft by 2023. The service’s Agility Prime program is pursuing a so-called Air Race to Certification, seeking a global advantage in eVTOL, says Col. Nathan Diller, USAF, director, Agility Prime, and director, AFWERX.
Agility Prime is one of three experiments that adds innovation quickly—in addition to Spark and Air Force Ventures—and represents a new approach for the service, Col. Diller says.
The U.S. Air Force is pursuing a bold new strategy of digital transformation across the service’s acquisition lifecycle. Essentially, it is applying electronic systems, known as e-systems, to every part of a weapon’s or system’s acquisition process, including design, engineering, software, manufacturing, testing and sustainment efforts. These so-called digital threads will speed innovation, reduce risks and program costs.
Underpinning any e-system is the digital trinity of digital engineering and management; agile software development; and open architecture, explained Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics. And e-systems are so much more than computer-aided design, or CAD.
Over the last year and a half, the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Future Capabilities and Innovation Office, or FCI, has iteratively developed a new strategy to drive innovation and collaboration to the agency. The DIA, as the agency is known, is looking to harness artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing, counterintelligence tools and other solutions to identify and assess cyber behaviors, among other capabilities. The FCI also must be able to measure the impacts of any solutions.
The U.S. Navy is focusing on parallel development of its new digital assets and capabilities as it works to rush advanced information innovations to the fleet. With the need for better technologies increasing coincidental to the rapidly evolving threat picture, the service has opted for concurrence as its main tool for implementing both upgrades and innovations.
As the Air Force holds its innovation push via AFWERX 2020, an annual event to draw advanced solutions to key challenges, the service is targeting capabilities to improve base facilities and operations via its comprehensive Base of the Future effort.
One of the initial focuses of the Base of the Future effort is to rebuild Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, explained Brig. Gen. Patrice A. Melançon, USAF, executive director, Tyndall Air Force Base Reconstruction Program Management Office, U.S. Air Force, speaking at last week’s Fusion event hosted by AFWERX.
Entrepreneurs developing lightweight propulsion systems for satellites, cybersecurity for Linux, wireless power and a blockchain application for secure part procurement, among other emerging technologies, presented their technologies to investors, the military and industry. In 10-minute intervals, the company representatives pitched their early stage, aerospace-related technologies at Starburst Accelerator’s third U.S. Virtual Selection Committee meeting on July 9th, which was held virtually. Headquartered in Paris, Starburst's U.S. team brought in the eight hopeful companies, all vying for partnership agreements, venture capitalist funding and a chance to join Starburst's Accelerator Program.
Accenture Federal Services LLC, Arlington, Virginia (FA7014-20-D-0006); Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., Arlington, Virginia (FA7014-20-D-0007); Deloitte Consulting LLP, Arlington, Virginia (FA7014-20-D-0008); Digital Mobilizations Inc., Warrenton, Virginia (FA7014-20-D-0010); KMPG LLP, McLean, Virginia (FA7014-20-D-0009); BCG Federal Corp., Bethesda, Maryland (FA7014-20-D-0005); Grant Thornton Public Sector LLC, Arlington, Virginia (FA7014-20-D-0004); and McKinsey & Co. Inc., Washington, D.C.
With key knowledge of the Army’s necessary sensors, intelligence and electronic warfare capabilities, Brig. Gen. Robert Collins, USA, today steps into the role of Program Executive Office Command Control Communications-Tactical, or PEO C3T. Gen. Collins replaces newly promoted Lt. Gen. David Bassett, USA, who becomes the director of the Defense Contract Management Agency.
JAB Innovative Solutions LLC, Bristow, Virginia, has been awarded an $8,849,120 firm-fixed-price and time and material contract for Defense Innovative Unit (DIU) scientific and technical consulting support services.
The Army is transforming its Cyber Command to meet the challenges of a multidomain battlefield. Just over eight years old, the command, located at Ft. Gordon, Georgia, will evolve by 2028 into something possibly called the Army Information Warfare Operations Command, which will fully incorporate cyber, electronic warfare and information operations.
As the U.S. Air Force is working to define operations on the battlefield of the future, sensors or other digitally connected devices will play a key role—as they always have—but on a much larger scale, one expert says. For the military, the world of Internet of Things, or IoT, has to work across the air, land, space and sea domains. And for the Air Force to enable a greater sensor-based environment, it has to tackle data platforms, cloud storage and capabilities, communication infrastructure and its network, says Lauren Knausenberger, the Air Force’s chief transformation officer.
A technology that provides network-wide encryption throughout the existence of its information was identified as the winner of the latest AFCEA Innovation Showcase. The competition was the second in a series of individual competitions running into the fall.
NATO is accelerating its efforts to input innovation into its operational capabilities. This effort is aided both by industry and academia and by different nations that bring new technology applications to the alliance table. But even the best ideas are encountering speed bumps, and adversaries are moving quickly to exploit their own technological advances.
Calling it a unique new call to action, the U.S. Air Force is searching for transformational solutions that advance the principles of its Science and Technology 2030 strategy. The service’s effort, called Air Force Explore, is soliciting solutions from interested parties nationwide, according to an Air Force statement.
As the Defense Department’s acquisition and sustainment office works to improve the military’s contracting processes, the research and engineering component—newly separated from acquisition and sustainment in a major reorganization last year—is ready for industry advancements, said Doug Schroeder, DASD Space, Strategic and Intelligence Systems and deputy director, National Intelligence Division, Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD).
Two technologies that employ robotic process automation (RPA) secured the last two spots for the championship round in the latest AFCEA innovation shark tanks. Held Thursday, February 25, and Wednesday, March 6, the competitions were the penultimate and ultimate in a string of shark tanks over the past few months. The winning technologies will advance to the final competition, which will be held on April 22.
As the chief information officer and an assistant director of the U.S. Marshals Service, Karl Mathias spends 75 percent to 80 percent of his time on the day-to-day information technology needs of the agency. In order to focus on developing new technologies, he would rather decrease that time, by leveraging advanced technologies that can help “keep the lights on, so to speak, the circuits alive, and the laptops running, patched and secure.”
The National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering is working to create a big data ecosystem. As part of that effort, the NSF, as it is known, is expanding the National Network of Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs, first created three years ago. The hubs, with one location for each U.S. Census region—the Midwest, Northeast, South and West—grew out of the need to aid the development of big data research and to help solve complex societal problems. The hubs are having a positive impact on the growth of machine learning, increasing the access to data, methods, networks and expertise, experts say.
The response to the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. John Richardson’s repeated request to “pick up the pace” of developing and implementing breakthrough technologies for our warfighters has gone, in my opinion, largely unheeded.
This is not the result of a lack of innovative solutions. A myriad of research and development programs exists to support the development of new technologies or to adapt existing commercial technologies to defense applications. Rather, it’s the result of an arcane acquisition process that is burdensome, expensive and lacking vision. Acquisition reform is where we need to pick up the pace!
Researchers envision a day when shape-shifting materials, novel sensors and other interactive technologies replace the flat, insipid computer screen. Such advances will allow users to interact in a tactile manner, enhancing their understanding of information and data. Researchers on the cutting edge of human-computer interaction are working on physical representations of data or information. Computer scientists portend that computers can, and should, have an output of information that mirrors the adroitness and expressiveness of the human body.
Innovative pioneers looking to bring their ideas and concepts to reality are pushing the edge of aerospace capabilities. In some cases, the technologies are the result of university research, while others come from markets outside of defense. The entrepreneurs purport that their technologies will be, if not groundbreaking, useful and more efficient. The entrepreneurs presented their nascent products and discoveries at a pitch meeting hosted by The MITRE Corporation in McLean, Virginia on October 11 as part of Starburst Aerospace Accelerator’s annual East Coast Selection Committee event.
The commercial satellite industry is harnessing a perfect storm of technological advancements, cost reductions and increased emphasis on mobile communications to provide greater global connectivity. Innovation is reaching all aspects of the industry, from satellite manufacturing, satellite launch services and satellite ground equipment to satellite services, industry officials report, driving cost savings and performance gains.
Envistacom was selected as a prime contractor for a $18 Million, 3-year task order under the Army Contracting Command's (ACC's) Deployable Adaptive Global Responder Support (DAGRS) contract, the company announced in an August 7 statement. Under the award, the company will provide mission-critical information technology, rapid-prototyping, data analysis and intelligence support to both the Army and Navy. Envistacom is one of 10 companies selected to compete for task orders on the DAGRS Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) vehicle, worth up to $480 million over five years, the company said. Envistacom's work will satisfy requirements for engineering and technical assessment enhancements through rapid-prototyping initiatives.
The U.S. Air Force is exploring innovative ways to put technology to work and address both warfighter fitness maintenance issues and access to troop fitness readiness data. With the help of AF CyberWorx, a public-private design center, innovators will tackle one of two challenges during a daylong hackathon.
Companies or government agencies that strive for innovation have to keep development at the forefront, experts say. And the action of providing impactful ideas that turn into effective products is always “far more complicated in reality,” according to Jennifer Yates, assistant vice president, AT&T Labs.
The increased sophistication and unpredictability of adversaries’ cyber capabilities and tactics demands improvements in war-fighting readiness by revolutionizing how information warfare is executed in the U.S. Navy’s fleet. To address this challenge, the service is aligning and synchronizing efforts among its various communities and supporting multiple warfare areas with an information-packed warfighting model.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate has released two publications, the 2018 Cyber Security Division Portfolio Guide and the 2018 Cyber Security Division Technology Guide, to help transition mature cybersecurity solutions to the marketplace.
The U.S. Army Capabilities Integration Center (ARCIC) and Army Game Studio are introducing an online multiplayer game that enables soldiers to help design the future battlespace. Called Operation Overmatch, the technology allows warfighters, research personnel and leaders to configure future concepts of vehicles and equipment, execute missions and complete objectives in a virtual complex environment.
Operation Overmatch was created with the help of Early Synthetic Prototyping (ESP), a process and set of tools that facilitates the radical transformation of development and acquisition decisions by designing and assessing emerging technology in a game environment.
Nearly everyone has heard a parent or grandparent refer to the good ol’ days. Tales usually begin either with, “When I was your age…” or “In my day, we didn’t have….”
While it seems appropriate that octogenarians and nonagenarians tell such stories, today they’re not the only generations sharing memories that begin with, “When I was young….” People in their 20s and 30s reflect on their youth wistfully because members of the younger generation—who, by the way, are only five or 10 years younger than they are—can communicate, play, buy and sell, and share life moments in ways that surprise even 20-somethings.
The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is now accepting requests for proposals (RFPs) for its Systems Engineering, Technology and Innovation (SETI) contract vehicle, a $7 billion, multiyear revamped acquisition process that acutely challenges the status quo in the procurement of engineering support and services.
Douglas Maughan, director of the Cyber Security Division at the U.S.