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July 26, 2019 | Information, Other Defence

Civilian Investment in Defence R&D Driving Convergence of Multi-disciplinary Technologies

LONDON, July 25, 2019 /CNW/ -- Research and development (R&D) in the defence industry is undergoing a paradigm shift. Previously, R&D was driven by military investment, but it is now driven by civilian investment. This affects how technologies are developed, with dual-use technologies becoming more prevalent on the battlefield and existing technologies combined in novel ways to achieve the desired capabilities.

Convergence of multi-disciplinary technologies, such as information technologies, robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, and meta-materials, will have a wide variety of civilian and military applications.

"Where previously technologies would mature at glacial speeds due to their development for bespoke applications, the reverse is happening in the commercial sector. The culture of rapid prototyping, testing and iterations combined with private investment has allowed breakneck developments in certain technologies in the industry and academia with which the defence sector can no longer keep pace," said Ryan Pinto, Industry Analyst, Defence at Frost & Sullivan. "These non-military commercial technologies will have a profound impact on the defence industry over the next two decades, allowing for technologies that have previously stagnated to advance."

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Future technological advancements will be increasingly interlinked, wherein the advancements in one technology spur the development of adjacent and complementary technologies.

"Anticipating the future of the armed forces requires the tracking of all these interlinked technologies, as a breakthrough in any technology can have a positive or negative impact on a related technology," said Pinto. "As commercially developed technologies are not dependent on defence funding, they usually cross over into different sectors. These companies may not even be aware of the implications that their technology would have on the defence sector; hence, it is not the technology that determines technological superiority on the battlefield, but rather the doctrine that deploys these technologies that exploits them to their maximum potential."

Frost & Sullivan's recent analysis, Impact of Future Technologies on the Global Defence Market, 2019–2029, assesses which future technologies will impact the defence industry over the next 10 years, what segments will be impacted, what time frames are involved, which countries are researching and developing these technologies and the level of dependency for each technology.

Impact of Future Technologies on the Global Defence Market, 2019–2029 is the latest addition to Frost & Sullivan's Defence research and analysis available through the Frost & Sullivan Leadership Council, which helps organisations identify a continuous flow of growth opportunities to succeed in an unpredictable future.

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  • Defense Innovation Board Adopts AI Testing, Digital Workforce Recruitment Resolutions

    September 17, 2020 | Information, Other Defence

    Defense Innovation Board Adopts AI Testing, Digital Workforce Recruitment Resolutions

    Mila Jasper The Defense Innovation Board convened for its fall public meeting Tuesday and approved resolutions for two key federal technology issues in addition to broadening its work on space. The board, which is comprised of national security technology innovators, formed a new space subcommittee to support the Space Force and heard from Michael Kratsios, acting undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, and U.S. chief technology officer. But the need for better testing protocols for artificial intelligence systems and strategies the Defense Department could adopt in order to attract digital talent took center stage at the meeting. The board adopted resolutions after robust discussions for both issues. Challenges in AI Testing No proven methods for testing and evaluating nondeterministic AI systems—meaning less predictable, more adaptable AI systems—exist. Daniela Rus, a roboticist with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said it is critical to have strong procedures for testing, evaluation, verification, and validation, or TEV/V, of artificial intelligence in order to create enough confidence in the technology to deploy it. “The department has been articulating the importance of accelerating the deployment of these systems,” Rus said, citing DOD's adoption of the board's AI ethics principles. “We have seen a lot of efforts in developing AI accelerator programs that will take the latest and greatest advancements in AI from research organizations and map them into processes and procedures for the department. We hope to have these in place, but in order to get there we need to have rigorous, robust procedures for testing.” The main reason testing for these types of autonomous systems is so challenging is uncertainty. Board member Danny Hillis, a pioneer in parallel computing, said uncertainty comes in three directions: from the function, the inputs and the outputs. Hillis suggested the board should use these three areas of uncertainty to guide its thinking when it comes to providing recommendations for TEV/V. The resolution adopted by the board argues DOD must develop its own TEV/V solutions as soon as possible, rather than wait for external solutions, in order to be ready to deploy AI systems in the short term. The board's science and technology subcommittee hopes to have two reports—one for a backgrounder and another for recommendations—on TEV/V for AI by December of this year. “Without a strong push for education and training on this topic and a diverse range of testing programs at the developmental and operational levels, DoD will have difficulty assessing its current TEV/V processes and determining next steps to improve its AI TEV/V capability,” the resolution reads. Competing for Digital Talent Later in the meeting, the DIB turned its attention to workforce issues. Jennifer Pahlka, a founder of the U.S. Digital Service and Code For America, led the group's discussion on competing for digital talent. Pahlka said the coronavirus pandemic and remote work trends could help the department attract talent if it develops new strategies to help it compete with the private sector. “As private sector remote work trends are changing how employers compete for digital talent, DOD has the opportunity to take advantage of these trends and be more competitive for civilian talent in this new environment,” Pahlka said. DOD and the federal government in general struggles to fill talent gaps for several reasons, including long hiring timelines. A recent report by the Partnership for Public Service found the average hiring timeline for the federal workforce is 98 days, or more than twice the private sector average. The paper DIB released to accompany the discussion detailed five recommendations for what to do to attract digital talent. Overall, DOD should develop strategies to maintain a remote and distributed workforce even beyond the pandemic. Pahlka added that though the recommendations focus on attracting digital talent, she hopes the same principles outlined can be expanded across the workforce. In the past, common wisdom said the Pentagon couldn't do mass telework. Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, DOD had to adapt, and fast. Lisa Hershman, the chief management officer for the Defense Department, said in July the pandemic “shattered the myth” DOD couldn't support remote work. According to the DIB's report, DOD should now focus on expanding its IT infrastructure and make sure it has the tools it needs to maintain remote work as well as expand the agency's capabilities to do classified work remotely. The report also recommends DOD work on improvements to the remote hiring process, prioritize changing the agency's culture around remote work and “consider dedicated remote work pilot programs to recruit and fill critical civilian technical talent gaps at priority organizations.” “The subcommittee believes the DOD is really at an inflection point for talent management,” Pahlka said. Pahlka and three other members of the DIB including former Google CEO Eric Schmidt ended their terms on the board. Member terms last four years.

  • The Air Force’s new information warfare command still has work before full integration

    September 17, 2020 | Information, Aerospace

    The Air Force’s new information warfare command still has work before full integration

    Mark Pomerleau WASHINGTON — While the Air Force's new information warfare command has reached its full operational capability less than a year after it was created, leaders still have work to do to fully integrate its combined capabilities in a mature fashion. That assessment comes from Brig. Gen. Bradley Pyburn, deputy commander of 16th Air Force, who on Tuesday laid out a three-pronged criteria — deconfliction, synchronization and integration — for assessing the command's maturity during a virtual event hosted by AFCEA's Alamo chapter. The command combines what was previously known as 24th and 25th Air Force, placing cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, electronic warfare and weather capabilities under a single commander. The first category Pyburn coined is deconfliction, which essentially means “do no harm.” Pyburn described the need to have situational awareness of the battlespace and understand what friendly and enemy forces are where, what authorities exist, what targets forces are looking at and what capabilities they have. The second phase of maturity is synchronization, which involves aligning all the capabilities and actions in the battlespace. Pyburn said if the command adds activity A to activity B and C, it will end up with a greater result, because it can change the timing and tempo of how the effects are delivered for maximum impact. Lastly, Pyburn described integration as the most mature aspect of where 16th Air Force currently is. This involves baking in planning, assessment, command and control, all the desperate effects and operations from the beginning. This is where the command really begins to break down all the stovepipes that previously existed with all these capabilities, a key reason for integrating and creating the new organization. “From a maturity perspective, where do I think 16th Air Force is? We're probably somewhere between deconfliction and synchronization. We've got some examples of where we approach integration but I think it's healthy we understand where we're at today and where we want to go forward in the future,” Pyburn explained. The command has created what Pyburn called a J9 to help with assessing maturity. The J9 would be plugged into real world events and exercises to help with those self assessments. In a generic example, Pyburn outlined what full maturity integration would look like. A mission partner requests support, which could be in the form of air domain awareness, finding particular targets or threats or ISR assistance. 16th Air Force, in turn, would be able to link that request with other needs, either in the same geographic area or in other areas of operations, pioneering what its top officials describe as a “problem-centric approach,” which aims to look at the specific problems the commands they support are looking to solve and starting from there. “[In] our problem centric approach, as we look to generate insights across all of our 16th Air Force capabilities, what we may find is that particular problem set is linked to other problem sets and we're able to focus on the root cause of the problem,” Pyburn said. Based on a raft of authorities from cyberspace to intelligence collection as well as the relationships built through other communities and organizations, 16th Air Force can look at the root cause of a problem and build from there. “We can build a community of interest, we can start to put mission partners together into [an] operational planning team and we can not only generate better insights against that root cause, we can start to look at how we can layer in effects at speed and at scale across all domains of warfare and give the options to the combatant commander and the mission partner as the authorities to go after that adversary,” Pyburn said. Pyburn also offered insight into the command structure of 16th Air Force, which has his deputy commander job along with a vice commander role. That latter job, held by Brig. Gen. David Gaedecke — who previously served as the lead for the Air Force's year long electronic warfare study — does more of the traditional operational, test and evaluation functions. In the deputy commander role, Pyburn said his job is similar to the director of operations. He comes up with the requirements in support of combatant commanders. “Part of it is, I may think I know what I want, but if I don't see what the art of the possible is, it's really hard to know what I want, if that makes sense. It's a little bit of a chicken and egg,” he said.

  • Managing Intellectual Property in Defence and Marine Procurement

    January 9, 2018 | Information, Naval

    Managing Intellectual Property in Defence and Marine Procurement

    Industry and government collaborate on Principles for the Management of Intellectual Property in Defence and Marine Procurement In 2017 Public Services and Procurement Canada, the Department of National Defence, Innovation Science Economic Development Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard worked with Canadian defence industry representatives such as Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI) and Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC), through the Defence Industry Advisory Group, to develop principles for the management of IP in defence and marine procurement. The Principles for the Management of IP in Defence and Marine Procurement (Principles) provide a broad policy foundation for IP management in defence and marine procurement by the Government of Canada that: reflect the Government's national interests and strategic defence and marine capability needs reflect the defence industry's interests in the protection of privately developed IP as valuable business and economic assets and as a factor in creating and sustaining an innovative Canadian defence and marine industry recognize that the development, protection and commercialization of IP are critical among several priorities to advance a broader Canadian socio-economic agenda, including economic growth and jobs recognize that IP management occurs between the Government and defence industry in strategic and dynamic sectors subject to rapid technological changes, and emerging defence capabilities and vulnerabilities serve as a framework for adaptable, flexible, principles-based and outcome-based approaches using IP management strategies that help government secure needed capabilities and ensure value for money while bolstering industry innovation and sustainability, and serve as a framework to help define IP requirements, draft contracts and design bid evaluations at earliest stages in procurements, while also helping guide the management of IP throughout the lifecycle of defence and marine assets The Principles align with the Canadian Government's Contracting Policy and Policy on Title to Intellectual Property Arising Under Crown Procurement Contracts, which prescribed a whole-of-government approach to IP management and addresses the ownership and licensing of intellectual property arising during a Crown procurement contract. Principles for the management of intellectual property in defence and marine procurement The Principles reflect key points of agreement between government and the Canadian defence industry on how government intends to approach the management of IP throughout the life cycle of defence and marine assets. The Principles serve as a framework for government and industry on the framing of requirements, the design of bid evaluations, and the drafting of contracts. They should also guide the management of IP during the life cycle of assets, seeking to balance the national interests of the government and the industry's interests to maximize benefits for Canada. The Principles recognize that the development, protection, and commercialization of IP are among several priorities to advance the broader Canadian socio-economic agenda, such as economic growth and jobs. The Principles also recognize that IP management discussions between governments and defence suppliers occur in strategic sectors subject to rapid technological changes, and emerging defence capabilities and vulnerabilities. As a result, governments are facing shorter and shorter procurement life cycles and having to return to market sooner to benefit from technological changes, while ensuring value for money. Defence firms, on the other hand, are in a position to offer technological evolution through the lifecycle of products and offer new products and services which may significantly alter the performance or the cost of the item procured. Being able to take advantage of this dynamic market will require that IP discussions take place very early on during the procurement phase and be considered as a function of the life cycle of the product or service. In this context, adapted, flexible, principles-based and outcome-based IP management strategies can help the Government secure needed capabilities, while ensuring value for money and working with industry to foster technological advantages and economic benefits.

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