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Research at Hyper Speed








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CONTENTS InterviewS Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins..............................................................................4 COMMANDING GENERAL, U.S. ARMY COMBAT CAPABILITIES DEVELOPMENT COMMAND By Ana E. Lopez

Rear Adm. David J. Hahn......................................................................... 20 CHIEF OF NAVAL RESEARCH By J.R. Wilson

Dr. Penrose (Parney) C. Albright................................................ 44 PRESIDENT AND CEO OF HRL LABORATORIES, LLC

features ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE.......................................................................... 12 TRUSTED TEAMMATES WANTED By Craig Collins

ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING....................................................................... 28 TRANSFORMING MILITARY LOGISTICS

defense Published by Faircount Media Group 4915 W. Cypress St. Tampa, FL 33607 Tel: 813.639.1900 EDITORIAL Editor in Chief: Chuck Oldham Managing Editor: Ana E. Lopez Editor: Rhonda Carpenter Contributing Writers: Craig Collins, Eric Tegler Jan Tegler, J.R. Wilson DESIGN and PRODUCTION Art Director/Project Designer: Robin K. McDowall ADVERTISING Associate Publisher: Geoffrey Weiss Ad Traffic Manager: Art Dubuc III Account Executives: Steve Chidel Geoffrey Weiss

By Craig Collins

Research at Hyper Speed..................................................................... 36 THE PENTAGON’S RESEARCH LABORATORIES ARE WORKING FLAT OUT TO DEVELOP HYPERSONIC WEAPONS TECHNOLOGY By Jan Tegler

A Global Collaborative Network............................................... 50 U.S. ARMY COLLABORATION WITH ACADEMIA EXPANDS THE

OPERATIONS and ADMINISTRATION Chief Operating Officer: Lawrence Roberts VP, Business Development: Robin Jobson Business Development and Marketing: Damion Harte Business Analytics Manager: Colin Davidson Interns: Emily Falcone, Julia McCabe Stephanie Zamudio


Next Move............................................................................................................. 58

FAIRCOUNT MEDIA GROUP Publisher: Ross Jobson


THE COAST GUARD RDT&E PROGRAM................................................. 65 By J.R. Wilson

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Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins



aj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins is the first commanding general of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC), having assumed that role when the Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) became the CCDC upon transition into the Army Futures Command (AFC) on Feb. 3, 2019. Prior to that, Wins served as the RDECOM commander. CCDC has the mission to provide innovative research, development, and engineering to produce capabilities that provide decisive overmatch to the Army against the complexities of the current and future operating environments in support of the joint warfighter and the nation. Wins graduated from the Virginia Military Institute and was commissioned in the field artillery in July 1985. He is a graduate of the Field Artillery Officer Basic and Advanced courses, Command and General Staff College, and the National War College. He holds a master’s degree in management from the Florida Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from the National War College. Before his assignment as RDECOM commander, Wins served as director, force development in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8. During his 30 years of service, he has held leadership and staff assignments in the 7th Infantry Division (Light), Fort Ord, California; the 2nd Infantry Division, Eighth United States Army, Korea; Headquarters Department of the Army and the Joint Staff, the Pentagon; the 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; Strategic Planning, J-8, U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida; and the Requirement Integration Directorate, Army Capabilities Integration Center, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. His deployments include Task Force Sinai, Multinational Force and Observers, Egypt, Operations Officers, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 5th Battalion, 21st Infantry (Light); Program Executive Officer, Joint Program Executive Office – Afghanistan Public Protection Force, Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan, Operation Enduring Freedom; and Deputy Commander, Police, North Atlantic Treaty Organization Training Mission – Afghanistan/Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan, Operation Enduring Freedom. His awards and badges include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit (with One Oak Leaf Cluster), the Bronze Star Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (with One Oak Leaf Cluster), the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal


Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins, commanding general, U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command. (with Two Oak Leaf Clusters), the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Army Achievement Medal (with One Oak Leaf Cluster) and Parachutist Badge, Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge and Army Staff Identification Badge. Defense R&D Outlook: What is the mission of Combat Capabilities Development Command? Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins: The mission of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, or CCDC, is to provide the


research, engineering, and analytical expertise to deliver capabilities that enable the Army to deter and, when necessary, decisively defeat any adversary now and in the future. Following the strategic vision of the U.S. Army Futures Command, CCDC moves at the speed of relevancy, adapting to today’s challenges and preparing for tomorrow’s threats. Through systematic research and development, continuous experimentation and prototyping, and the pursuit of appropriate commercial options, CCDC discovers and develops the innovative capabilities required to meet current modernization requirements and empower a more lethal future force. The command drives research and development integration and collaboration across the Future Force Modernization Enterprise, to include partners in academia, industry, international allies, and other government agencies. With a global presence, CCDC maintains strong relationships with allied science and technology [S&T] organizations across the world, in order to secure the best technology for American soldiers.

CCDC Commander Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins dons advanced holographic glasses – the Hololens from Microsoft. Researchers use the glasses to virtually explore simulations and gain new understanding of how blast injuries affect soldiers.

Establishment of Army Futures Command (AFC), which is charged with modernizing the Army and ensuring that it achieves decisive overmatch in future conflicts, has been called the most significant Army reorganization since 1973. In February 2019, CCDC, formerly Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), transitioned from Army Materiel Command (AMC) into AFC. Can you talk a bit about what the transition has been like? How does CCDC fit into AFC organizationally? How has the transition to AFC affected the way that CCDC operates? The transition has gone very well so far for a couple of reasons. First: leadership. Our leadership when we were part of AMC supported this transition from the beginning. Gen. Gustave Perna, AMC commander, always put a heavy emphasis on leading our way through any challenge, including this transition. It really paid off. Gen. John “Mike” Murray referenced leadership as soon as he was named the first AFC commander when he said AFC is a startup managing a merger. That takes extraordinary leadership, and he has stressed that throughout.


They were both also very clear that we would do what’s right for the Army. So we didn’t lose a lot of time or momentum caused by friction between the two Army commands. There has been a lot of work to do, and a lot remains to be done, but as soon as we came to a shared understanding that Army leadership established a clear set of modernization priorities, that’s the way we all headed. Another reason the transition has gone well is that we positioned ourselves for change, which started before AFC was announced. There was already a general understanding that improvement was needed in the Army’s science and technology and acquisition spaces. We developed a campaign plan to deliberately deepen and widen our understanding of what – at that time – RDECOM was doing so we could start streamlining, finding points of friction and slippage, and so on. By the time AFC was announced, we had gained a lot of insight that we hadn’t had in the past. We were able to see where we had gaps, redundancies, and at least some blind spots. We also identified a lot of best practices and where we needed more. So when the decision was made that we were to become part of AFC, we were prepared with a depth of knowledge that allowed us to move a lot faster than we might have otherwise. Our campaign plan made the transition a lot easier, but any change that big is going to generate its share of challenges. There were a lot of big decisions that had to be made, which means some hard questions had to be asked and answered. For example, one question was whether RDECOM should continue to exist as it had existed for the 14 years leading up to that point. Was there a better way to align the constituent parts of RDECOM for the future? We answered that first question successfully, because the command is still here and now AFC’s largest sub-organization. But we also realigned internally to better focus the existing team and gained the organization that had been known as AMSAA [Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity], now known as CCDC Data & Analysis Center. So CCDC has changed in a number of ways, from our internal alignment, to where we’re investing our funding and how often we’re communicating to the team. The funding gets most of the attention, but people who were familiar with RDECOM will look at CCDC and see other changes that aren’t as dramatic as realigning almost $2 billion to support the modernization priorities. Everything from how we determine what to fund to how we track our


Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins (left), commanding general of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, learns about a prototype version of the Joint Tactical Aerial Resupply Vehicle, or JTARV, from Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Guenther (right), an enlisted advisor at the Army Research Laboratory Weapons and Materials Research Directorate, during a visit at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. Also known as the “hoverbike,” the JTARV may one day enable soldiers on the battlefield to order resupply and then receive those supplies rapidly from an autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle.

most important projects to how we transition the resulting technology started to change. It will take us a while to fully integrate all of these changes – we’re a command with more than 14,000 people and a worldwide presence. Furthermore, we know things will continue to evolve as AFC continues to lead this unprecedented merger. We also had one advantage not everyone had: CCDC was the only command going into AFC. The other parts of AFC were either coming out of an existing command or starting from scratch. Now that CCDC is part of AFC, we fit between the Futures and Concepts Center [FCC] and Combat Systems. FCC is primarily what used to be known as the Army Capabilities Integration Center. Combat Systems is the Program Executive Office community connected with a dotted line to AFC. FCC develops the command’s concept of how the Army will have to operate in the future. CCDC’s workforce of scientists and engineers helps in that regard, because our experts understand what is technologically possible now and what will be possible in the future. Once the requirement goes through the research and development process, it becomes a program of record with the PEO community. We not only develop technology for their use, we provide a lot of the engineering support they need. So we have deep connections with both these groups and, while our relationships will evolve under AFC’s leadership, I think they will only deepen and get better.




How is CCDC structured? What is its workforce like? I have the privilege of leading the Army’s largest talent pool of scientists, engineers, analysts, and technicians, many of whom are the world-leading specialists in their field of expertise. Their passion for knowledge and dedication to supporting the soldier is what enables CCDC to discover, develop, and deliver the capabilities soldiers need to fight and win our nation’s wars and come home safely. CCDC is structured into seven centers and one laboratory that each bring unique expertise and key facilities to the Army research, development, and engineering arena.


John “Mike” Murray (left), commanding general of Army Futures Command, receives a brief by Maj. Gen. Cedric Wins (right), commanding general of Combat Capabilities Development Command, highlighting CCDC’s innovative technological solutions on display at AUSA Global Force Symposium 2019 in Huntsville, Alabama.

The CCDC Army Research Laboratory conducts threatbased foundational research with attention to long-term projections on future military technologies. The CCDC Armaments, Aviation & Missile, Chemical Biological, C5ISR, Data & Analysis, Ground Vehicle Systems, and Soldier Centers conduct applied research and development, engineering and analytical support in their respective domains to transition technologies for soldiers today and in the future. As part of AFC, CCDC is supporting not only the Chief of Staff of the Army’s readiness, future fight, and troop support priorities, but six stated Army modernization priorities: Long-Range Precision Fires; Next Generation Combat Vehicle; Future Vertical Lift; Army Network; Air and Missile Defense; and Soldier Lethality. How is CCDC working to meet the needs of the Army in these areas? As the scientific and technological foundation of the Future Force Modernization Enterprise, CCDC is committed to supporting Army Priorities and the strategic vision of Army Futures Command in the most efficient and impactful manner possible. As part of several ongoing reform efforts within the command, CCDC completed a comprehensive workload review to align our science and technology (S&T) efforts to the Army’s modernization priorities. Each modernization priority is led by a Cross Functional Team as part of Army Futures Command. Early on, CCDC established direct support to the CFTs by identifying


AFC also has the Cross Functional Teams [CFTs], the Army Applications Lab and the Artificial Intelligence Task Force. We already work closely with the CFTs. They have small teams and huge tasks, so we provide a lot of subject matter expertise to help the soldiers in charge understand the science and technology behind the capabilities they’re tasked to shepherd to the field faster. We’ve integrated the CFT leaders into things like our Stage-Gate review process, where we go over every piece of technology we’re working on to meet the CFT’s stated needs for modernization. They are eight different teams and they’re still building those teams. They all have more or less the same tasks in different areas and they have made significant headway. You can see the wisdom of unity of command at work.

My command’s mission is to make scientific discoveries through basic and applied research, develop them into technologies, and then incorporate those technologies into capabilities the Army can use now and in the future. a lead S&T representative for each team. For example, our CCDC Armaments Center provides an S&T lead for Long-Range Precision Fires; our Ground Vehicle Systems Center provides an S&T lead for the Next Generation Combat Vehicle, and so on. Our subordinate centers provide key subject matter expertise to the CFTs for basic and applied research, development, engineering and analysis. The CFTs generate technical program recommendations for the modernization priorities and their associated lines of effort. CCDC plans and executes technology research and development to meet those recommendations. As I mentioned before, we’ve integrated the CFTs into our Stage-Gate review process, where [we] review every technology we’re working on to meet the CFT’s stated modernization needs. Once a new technology matures to advanced development, a transition agreement ensures a seamless transition of the new capability to the acquisition community for delivery to the soldier. Using one of the aforementioned modernization priorities as an example, can you walk us through CCDC’s process to discover, develop, and integrate/deliver technology-enabled solutions to soldiers? Let’s look at Soldier Lethality, which includes the requirement that our soldiers have capabilities that increase survivability on the battlefield. Though the constructs of the Soldier Lethality modernization priority and CFT are relatively new, CCDC is focused on incremental survivability improvements for decades. The combat helmet is a great example of a capability we transitioned from discovery, development, and integration to delivery. Combat helmets have evolved considerably since the Hadfield steel pot helmets of World War II. In the 1960s, industry developed Kevlar, which enabled a leap-ahead capability in synthetic composite material. The Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops (PASGT) was the first helmet to use Kevlar and both vests and helmets made of Kevlar were used by all U.S. military services from the mid1980s to the mid-2000s. Since then, CCDC and its predecessors have pioneered materials and manufacturing technologies now used in every ballistic protective helmet for the Army, Marines, special operations forces and Navy SEALS. The next major advance in helmet technology resulted by combining material advances and manufacturing processes. Industry began developing a new generation of ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene fibers. In parallel, a collaborative effort between the Army, Marine Corps, and U.S. Special Operations Command funded new manufacturing technologies, tooling, and

hybridization techniques that enabled thermoplastic ballistic composite materials to be affordably formed into complex helmet shapes. Materials research and manufacturing processes were key assets in pursuit of incremental performance gains in head-protection materials and systems. These performance gains took a capability from discovery through development and into integration which enabled the acquisition and fielding of the Future Assault Shell Technology (FAST) helmet for Special Operations Forces, and U.S. Marine Corps Enhanced Combat Helmet (ECH). In 2018 Army Staff Sgt. Steven McQueen was serving in Afghanistan when he was struck in the back of his helmet with a 7.62x54mm Russian round at a distance of approximately 20 feet. The ECH he was wearing protected him from the shot and he sustained no injuries and, other than receiving physical therapy to correct some balance issues; he’s had no other treatment related to the incident. The ECH did exactly what it was supposed to do; it saved the life of one of our soldiers. We look to this as one example of how the discovery, development, integration, and delivery of a capability worked – and it worked as the result of critical collaboration across the Army, Department of Defense, and industry. This collaboration will become even more critical as Army Futures Command leads the Future Force Modernization Enterprise to get after those six modernization priorities. Does CCDC have its own strategic priorities? If so, how do they align with and/or complement U.S. Army priorities overall? My command’s mission is to make scientific discoveries through basic and applied research, develop them into technologies, and then incorporate those technologies into capabilities the Army can use now and in the future. We provide a lot of engineering support to the PEO community and the Life Cycle Management Commands. That means we work on everything from spiraling in new technologies to existing capabilities, to delivering urgent upgrades to support readiness, to helping retire capabilities that are no longer needed. Because of that, we have to cultivate a wider view of technology and how it may contribute to today’s readiness, tomorrow’s modernization, and what the future force after that will need. With that wider view in mind, we develop a pipeline of technology that stretches from those first ideas our scientists at the CCDC Army Research Laboratory have about investigating something that might be important to the Army in 30 or 40 years, to having new technology we can engineer to insert new capability into existing equipment to meet a soldier’s urgent needs. We have priorities



If you look at the threat from existing and potential military adversaries, terrorists, and criminals, it’s obvious that you don’t want to send soldiers into any situation with the second-best gas mask or chemical-biological detection kit in the world. outside of the six modernization priorities, but these priorities complement the Army’s current modernization focus. Everyone knows military technology is not going to stop changing in 2028 or 2035. The technologies we’re developing today will be there when the Army fields its current priorities, evaluates what that means to the threat environment of 2028, and inevitably finds new areas that need modernizing. One example that spans the science and engineering spaces is the CCDC Chemical Biological Center. If you look at the threat from existing and potential military adversaries, terrorists, and criminals, it’s obvious that you don’t want to send soldiers into any situation with the second-best gas mask or chemical-biological detection kit in the world. Chem-bio is also a good example of how CCDC provides foundational technologies for the joint warfighter. Most of the work they do is for the Department of Defense because you obviously want every service member to have the best available equipment and the most effective and cost-efficient way to do that is to have one center that pioneers the technologies and basic pieces of gear that every soldier uses. CCDC has three regionally aligned elements: CCDCAmericas, CCDC-Atlantic, and CCDC-Pacific. What are the benefits to CCDC of having an international presence? How does the work of each element vary depending on its regional focus? CCDC’s global engagement efforts are critical to ensuring the Army stays current with the latest technology developments around the world. The command’s three regionally aligned elements – CCDC-Americas, CCDCAtlantic and CCDC-Pacific – identify opportunities to leverage or acquire state-of-the-art foreign technologies that demonstrate it can fill a technology gap that will be beneficial to the U.S. Army. In addition to providing worldclass products to improve military capabilities, other benefits include: creating and strengthening partnerships; enabling affordability; harvesting global innovation; and enhancing interoperability. Interoperability with coalition partners is one of the Army’s top priorities since the Army does not fight alone. Each element has the same three basic missions: 1) to identify and promote collaborative opportunities in basic and applied research and technological discovery with


academia, government research centers, and industry; 2) to support the Army’s International Cooperative Research, Development, Acquisition, Standardization and Interoperability interests; and 3) through Field Assistance in Science and Technology, our advisors to Army Service Components/Commands provide commanders with immediate and reach-back access to CCDC scientists and engineers to resolve capability gaps and expedite technology solutions to the soldier. In the European theater, however, where the technology and academic maturity level is higher than in other parts of the world, our relationships with these key allies and partners is also much more mature. This means we have more interactions, international agreements and personnel and scientific data/information exchanges between the CCDC Centers/Labs and countries in this region compared to other regions. Through the integration of our global resources and by leveraging innovation, we will continue to deliver relevant and revolutionary capabilities to the soldier


to maintain overmatch against adversaries on the battlefield. What kind of partnerships does CCDC have with academia and industry? What impact has the CCDC’s transition to AFC had on those relationships? We work side by side with domestic and international industry and academic partners to develop innovative technologies that will become key capabilities for the Army. A project is often the result of more than one CCDC center and more than one industry or academic partner working together. We actively engage with commercial vendors to leverage commercial products that will meet the Army’s needs. Sharing information and collaborating reduces duplicative efforts and supports our ability to field technologies more quickly, which is critical to the Army’s modernization strategy. One way that we partner with industry and academia is through Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs); these agreements allow Army

Maj. Gen. Cedric Wins, commanding general of U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, congratulates new Army recruits at a swearing-in ceremony at Orioles Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland in June 2019.

researchers to exchange technical expertise and share information, facilities, and equipment with industry, academia, and other non-federal parties. While this is true in some cases, the primary purpose of a CRADA is that they allow research and development collaborations and not an evaluation on a vendor’s technologies. We also gather and share information through requests for information and by hosting industry days and technical exchange meetings. We expect industry to outpace some of the developmental technology space where we’re working, so these meetings give us an opportunity to identify potential technology solutions the Army can adopt or adapt. Our scientists and engineers are the Army’s experts at operating in the dynamic and rapidly evolving ecosystem of science and technology. Becoming part of the AFC enabled us to partner in new ways and bring our expertise to bear on the Army’s problems faster than ever. We continue to leverage our long history of bringing stakeholders together to allow Army leaders to make better-informed decisions.





he pressure is on. In the summer of 2017, the Chinese government released a strategy detailing its plan to take the lead in the development of artificial intelligence (AI) by 2030. Weeks later, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his country’s pursuit of AI technologies, proclaiming, “Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.” The Department of Defense (DOD), a leader in researching and developing AI technology, countered swiftly to strengthen and streamline its efforts to define the future of AI. DOD’s 2019 budget authorization established a Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) to “coordinate the efforts of the Department to develop, mature, and transition artificial intelligence technologies into operational use,” and a National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, composed in part by executives from major American technology firms, to advise the JAIC on the national security implications of advances and trends in AI and related technologies. The DOD has undertaken a comprehensive assessment of defense-relevant AI technologies. In early 2019, the Pentagon released a brief summary of its classified Artificial Intelligence Strategy, a vision for capitalizing on the “opportunity to improve support for and protection of U.S. service members, safeguard our citizens, defend our allies and partners, and improve the affordability and speed of our operations.” The strategy, which identifies the JAIC as its focal point, consists of five key approaches: • delivering AI-enabled capabilities that address key missions; • scaling AI’s impact across DOD through a common foundation that enables decentralized development and experimentation; • cultivating a leading AI workforce; • engaging with commercial, academic, and international allies and partners; and • leading in military ethics and AI safety. The AI Strategy summary also mentions the importance of the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), a government entity established in 2016 to fast-track the adoption of commercial technology in the military to strengthen national security. Much of the nation’s AI advances occur first in the private sector, and the DIU works with companies to prototype commercial solutions to military problems. U.S. companies have been at the leading edge in developing and fielding artificial intelligence: the ability of machines to do things that normally require human intelligence. Early “expert systems,” based on specific rules and bodies of knowledge, are still useful in some forms today, such as tax preparation software.


American companies have also led the development of “second wave” AI applications with machine learning capabilities – algorithms that help a computer learn from experience. These second-wave systems are trained to recognize patterns in large pools of data and make decisions based on statistical probabilities. Second-wave applications abound in today’s world, from self-driving vehicles, facial recognition software, and route mapping applications, to personal assistants such as Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Microsoft’s Cortana. While many of the DOD’s recent AI-related moves are forward-looking, artificial intelligence and machine learning are already integrated into military planning and operations, with systems either fielded or under development – or both – in a variety of applications, including:


Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR). The large data sets gathered by the nation’s ISR apparatus make it an area of particular promise for automating the work of human analysts who spend hours sifting through video and other information sources in search of actionable information. Project Maven, launched in the spring of 2017 by the DOD’s newly formed Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team, is envisioned as a system that will use machine learning and AI to differentiate among people and objects captured in thousands of hours of aerial drone footage. Cybersecurity. AI tools can help to identify threats and breaches, potential “traps” or tools for implanting malware, and also neutralize cyber threats before they can be activated on military systems. Unlike conventional

The Next Generation Combat Vehicle’s manned-unmanned teaming concept would leverage a protected tether between the NGCV Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle and the Robotic Combat Vehicle in order to provide soldiers with the capability to safely engage in combat via remotely controlled autonomous systems.

cybersecurity tools, which look for historical matches to known malicious code, intelligent tools can be trained to detect anomalies in broader patterns of network activity. Logistics and Maintenance. Meticulous study and knowledge of records can alert military personnel to the need for certain tasks such as resupplying a depot or repairing a machine. The Air Force, for example, is beginning to use AI to tailor maintenance schedules to individual F-35 aircraft, rather than use a fleet-wide schedule. The Automated Logistics Information System extracts sensor data from the aircraft’s engines and onboard systems and feeds that data into algorithms that predict when technicians need to inspect a system or replace a part. The Army is taking a similar approach to develop tailored maintenance schedules for its Stryker fleet.









Predictive Analytics. A core capability of today’s second-wave AI systems is identifying trends and patterns and then predicting the likelihood of a certain event based on those patterns. Predictive analytics software, which has been used for years by federal and regional law enforcement agencies, was integrated into the Marine Corps’ Afghanistan operations in 2011 and used to create lists of possible bombmakers aiding insurgents. Autonomous or Semi-autonomous Vehicles. While there is no true “self-driving” vehicle yet, each service branch has fielded and continues to research vehicles on and under water, in the air, and on the ground, with varying degrees of autonomy. In the spring of last year, after Michael Griffin, under secretary of defense for research and engineering, told lawmakers that 52 percent of combat casualties were attributed to personnel delivering food, fuel, and other logistics, he vowed that self-driving vehicles would appear on the battlefield before they appeared on the streets. As Army and Navy researchers continued their work to develop an unmanned joint tactical aerial resupply vehicle, the Army’s Next Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV) CrossFunctional Team announced that its top priority would be to replace the Bradley Fighting Vehicle with an Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV). The Air Force Research Laboratory recently completed the second phase of evaluations that paired an unmanned older-generation fighter jet as a robot wingman to a piloted F-35 or F-22. In the spring of 2019, the Navy formed an experimental unit, Surface Development

A U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II assigned to Hill Air Force Base, Utah, conducts a training flight with F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, over the city of Gunsan, ROK, Dec. 1, 2017. The Air Force Research Laboratory is looking into pairing unmanned older generation fighters such as the F-16 with fifthgeneration fighters like the F-35.

Squadron ONE (SURFDEVRON ONE) that teams crewed and robot ships, in part to accelerate the testing of new technologies. Autonomous Weapon and Targeting Systems. “Smart” weapons have their roots in the radio-guided bombs and missiles developed during and after World War II. Today’s autonomous weapon platforms use computer vision to identify and track targets, and missile targeting software is being developed to deploy countermeasures or perform evasive maneuvers. There are no autonomous weapon platforms being designed to fire ordnance without the express approval of a human operator. The AI systems in use today are useful tools that reduce the burden of certain tasks – often tedious, repetitive, mind-numbing tasks, such as combing through mountains of data. AI and machine learning have done much to free up military personnel to do important work, but secondwave applications remain conspicuously limited, capable of performing only within the confines of narrowly defined tasks. Outside of those confines, they tend to get lost, and sometimes even fail within those confines when confronted with new or unexpected circumstances. Military operations – particularly the multi-domain operations envisioned by Pentagon doctrine – are fraught with new and unexpected circumstances, and military AI researchers, even as they work to develop second-wave systems that can be fielded within the next several years, are intently focused on solutions that can usher in a “third wave” of AI systems that will be trusted teammates, rather than data-mining tools.


Second-Wave Gaps: What the Military Needs from AI Virtually every AI system used and under development illustrates the difference between what AI can do today and what the military would like it to do in the future; for example, the autonomous aircraft, submarines, ships, and ground vehicles used today all require some level of human supervision and interaction. The Army and Marine Corps have been testing prototypes of driverless ground vehicles designed to accomplish independent tasks, such as the Marines’ MultiUtility Tactical Transport (MUTT), a remote-controlled ATV-sized vehicle capable of carrying equipment. In the coming years, the Marine Corps hopes to add increasing levels of autonomy to MUTT operations. At the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC), Army Research Laboratory, Dr. Stuart Young leads the AI for Maneuver and Mobility initiative, a program focused on delivering a robotic teammate to Army tactical units within the next five to seven years. Young’s team is working to develop robotic vehicles that can do more than haul freight. With input from the Army’s Next Generation Combat Vehicle Cross-Functional Team, Young’s team is exploring the ability to perform autonomous maneuvers. “You can think of that as robot vehicles on the battlefield,” said Young, “teaming with soldiers and adding operational tempo in a resilient manner.”


The Army Futures Command is investigating the network requirements needed to enable autonomous vehicle support in contested, multi-domain environments.

Currently, U.S. forces rely on dismounted warfighters to actively patrol battlespaces, often in cluttered urban areas, to identify threats and maintain security. It’s time-consuming and dangerous, exposing warfighters to significant risk. “The way the Army envisions deploying these robots would be out in front of a manned formation,” Young said – like a hunting dog. Robot scouts would locate or make initial contact with an enemy, conducting reconnaissance while keeping soldiers out of harm’s way. “You might be looking for a specific target,” Young said, “or you might just be trying to find the enemy in general and give the command options on the battlefield.” Young imagines the earliest iterations of the robot combat vehicle will be remotely operated, and evolve into a vehicle that will go where it’s told and conduct reconnaissance. But to imagine all the situations an unsupervised robot might encounter in such a situation, and all its possible responses to these circumstances, is to begin to grasp how much work needs to be done to bridge the technological gaps that, once traversed, may enable the Army to turn a remote-controlled robot into a trusted autonomous teammate. Dr. Tien Pham, chief scientist of the CCDC ARL Computational and Information Sciences Directorate, and ARL colleagues have made a study of these technology challenges, which are fundamental to all AI and machine learning applications, he emphasized, not just the battlefield or to autonomous vehicles: The Dynamic Complexity of Battlefield Data. The machine learning applications that perform best today,




Above: Vice Adm. Rich Brown, commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, presents the Legion of Merit to Capt. Scott Carroll in recognition of his leadership of Commander Zumwalt Squadron ONE during its transition into the newly established Surface Development Squadron ONE at Naval Base San Diego May 22, 2019. SURFDEVRON ONE is expected to follow the innovative legacy of Zumwalt Squadron ONE and Adm. Elmo Zumwalt to integrate unmanned surface vessels (USV) and support fleet experimentation to accelerate delivery of new warfighting concepts and capabilities to the fleet. Right: Marines and sailors assigned to Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment move toward their objective with a Logistics Multipurpose Unmanned Tactical Transport (Log-MUTT) carrying a portion of their gear during their Integrated Training Exercise at the Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California, in November 2016, a training event within their predeployment training curriculum. The Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory provided some different unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and unmanned ground systems (UGS) for the Marines to employ during their training cycle.

said Pham, are those in controlled environments, with access to copious data – and data of one particular type or modality: photos, for example, or geospatial data. “Machine learning techniques require lots of data, and well-curated data, and clean data, and labeled data,” Pham said. The data encountered by a robot teammate or software agent in battle is more likely to be what he describes as “dirty, dinky, and deceptive.” It’s likely to be degraded somewhat, communicated across a distributed network and taken in by a collection of heterogenous sensors, in various modalities: video, RF, audio, geospatial, etc. It’s likely to offer a very small sample from which to determine a response. “The complexities are immeasurable, when you think about it,” said Young. “Robots operating in a military environment are going to be dealing with civilians, potentially. They’re going to be dealing with dynamic adversaries that are trying to jam us or trying to spoof our communications and our AI.” Humans are good at generalizing and taking information from a cluttered world and applying it to a new situation, but traditional machine learning algorithms are brittle to change. “If they don’t have the data in their training,” Young said, “they fail miserably. And that’s not sufficient for the problem we’re trying to solve. So we’re looking at approaches like reinforcement learning, learning from demonstration – different types of

learning techniques … to help improve the fundamental algorithms and then applying those fundamental algorithms to the domains that we’re worried about.” Resource Constraints at the Point of Need. Machine learning applications usually send queries into the cloud, to access terabytes of data, but at the tactical edge of operations, often in remote areas with limited or damaged infrastructure, the internet isn’t always available – and beyond that, computing in a forwarddeployed tactical environment will require distributed processing over hardware that has extreme limits on size, weight, power, and time. “A lot of the current capabilities require a link to a server for further processing, or specialized GPUs [graphics processing units],” said Pham. “It just takes a lot of power and a lot of resources to do that.” Dr. Manuel Vindiola, a research scientist at the CCDC ARL, is part of a team that is trying to shrink the resource requirements of AI processing, in part by exploring “neuromorphic” processing architectures that function more like the human brain and its web of spiking neurons, rather than in more traditional linear processes. “We’re looking at a variety of ways to do this kind of processing on low-powered devices,” he said. Unpredictable, Ungeneralizable, and Unexplainable Conclusions. This is mostly about algorithms that haven’t been written yet, and will involve the evolution of learning techniques, such as reinforcement learning, mentioned by Young. AI systems are designed to deliver specific outcomes based on reams of data, but even then, they sometimes produce puzzling results. More mature AI systems, said Pham, will need to form a generalized response aimed at an objective, based on scant information. “We have to think about how to develop these technologies that can learn and adapt with not a lot of prior knowledge,” he said. A robotic teammate processing third-wave AI will achieve predictable outcomes when it encounters unexpected circumstances, because it will be able to generalize from the given context. “If you’ve got to go to the store for milk,


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and they don’t have milk,” said Young, “well, your goal was to get milk. Your goal is not to go to the store. So you have to then maybe make an alternative plan.” In an environment in which an AI system might be asked to identify an enemy target, it will also be important to know the why behind its reasoning. Today’s systems are “black boxes,” taking data in and spitting conclusions out. Explainable AI, a concept being investigated by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), will share its thinking with future users. “You want deviations from the expected to be transparent,” Young said, “so that the soldier can say: ‘Okay, I understand what it’s doing. It didn’t see that target. So that’s why it did what it did.’ You don’t want it to be in the case that we’re currently in, which is often: ‘I have no idea why the robot did that.’” Explainable AI would also make it possible for a human teammate to determine the likelihood that a robotic teammate was deceived by an adversary. A trusted robotic teammate would be a huge benefit to soldiers in a tactical unit, Young said, reducing both physical risks and cognitive burdens, as well as the bandwidth required for unit communications. But as Vindiola pointed out, the distance between second-wave and third-wave AI capabilities is vast. “There’s a pretty large gulf there,” he said. “It’s very ambitious and we have a long way to go. It shouldn’t be thought of as the next incremental step. It’s a big step, a leap, compared to what we can do today.” Nevertheless, military AI researchers such as those at the CCDC ARL are taking the incremental steps necessary

Left: A DARPA graphic illustrating the three waves of artificial intelligence (AI). The first wave focused on handcrafted knowledge, in which experts characterized their understanding of a particular area, such as income tax return preparation, as a set of rules. The second wave focused on machine learning, which creates pattern-recognition systems by training on large sets of data. DARPA believes that the next major wave of progress will combine techniques from the first and second waves to create systems that can explain their outputs and apply commonsense reasoning to act as problem-solving partners. Above left: Sea Hunter, a new class of unmanned sea surface vehicle developed in partnership between the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The Navy’s experimental SURFDEVRON ONE will explore teaming manned and unmanned ships. Above right: U.S. Department of Defense Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy and the Director of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. John N.T. Shanahan, hold a roundtable meeting at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., Feb. 12, 2019.

to make this leap. Vindiola’s group recently began a new effort to decentralize the task orchestration of a distributed computing network. Tactical units communicate and coordinate efforts among several devices, sensors, people, and agents working together, and the failure of one element can mean the failure of the entire unit. Vindiola’s group has begun to build resilience into simulated situations; when a camera gets knocked out, for example, it can be programmed to alert the rest of the unit, and another device, such as an aerial drone, can automatically step in to monitor until the camera is repaired or replaced. The team will soon begin to explore the addition of machine learning algorithms into this network, perhaps enabling it to automatically reposition or reprogram assets based on objectives. For the past several years, Young’s team has been working with researchers at Carnegie Mellon University to develop algorithms that will make the conclusions of AI systems sturdier and more reliable, rooted in available context. “We call it semantic classification,” he said. Essentially, it involves restricting conclusions to known facts about the world. For example, Young said, a system designed to detect humans wouldn’t inspire much confidence if it detected three people in the clouds, one in a tree, and three on the ground. “It sounds trivial,” he said, “but you can use other semantic information about the world to improve on that … It’s a low-level capability with a lot of rich opportunities to improve overall performance of a system.” DARPA, which has been working on the third-wave leap from multiple angles for the past few years, recently threw even more of its weight behind the effort, launching a $2 billion initiative, the AI Next Campaign, in September of 2018. The campaign includes a series of high-risk, high-payoff research projects with the goal of enabling machines, given the right context, to learn from just a few examples and become the kind of systems Young and other military AI researchers envision: adapting to changing situations, identifying patterns not seen before, creatively applying new approaches to solve new problems, and understanding impacts and trade-offs. “We want them to do a better job of understanding the environment,” Young said, “so they can be better teammates.”




Rear Adm. David J. Hahn CHIEF OF NAVAL RESEARCH By J.R. Wilson


Defense R&D Outlook: How has ONR’s R&D portfolio changed in the past 10 years? Rear Adm. David J. Hahn: You have to go further back into the history and the origins of ONR, born out of the experiences the nation had in World War II. At that time, much of the research was done at the state rather than federal level, primarily to promote commerce, through university-based researchers. But as we entered World War II, we saw the application of military technologies would be incredibly important and there was a role for the federal government to play. We began federally funding specific military projects late in the 1930s, and by the time the war came around, there was enough momentum to carry us through that. With the end of the war, those involved did not want to lose the binding energy that had been created. They institutionalized that with the stand-up of ONR in 1946, with a charter to plan, foster, and encourage technology for the benefit of the military. During World War II, there was a patriotic spirit that moved through every U.S. citizen, including universities doing research. When the war ended, that did not naturally continue. During its first 10 years, ONR, with a relatively soft touch, convinced them we could do this kind of research in a university setting and share it with both military and civilian channels. It wasn’t until 10 or 15 years later that the National Science Foundation got its momentum. However, the military labs funding and executing research got its start in the early 1900s, leading to the


Rear Adm. David J. Hahn, chief of naval research, gives the keynote address during the 2018 OCEANS conference and exposition. The semi-annual event brings together global marine technologists, engineers, scientists, students, government officials, lawyers, and advocates focusing on breakthrough innovations and technology advances for protecting and sustaining our oceans and coasts.


he 20th century saw the development and use of a record number of new and revolutionary technologies, both commercial and military, with steadily increasing levels of dual purpose. But it was not until mid-century that the U.S. Navy moved to link the independent research efforts in academia, the military, and industry under a single Office of Naval Research (ONR). Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. David J. Hahn, spoke with Defense R&D Outlook senior writer J.R. Wilson about ONR’s current and future efforts to maintain the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps’ technological edge in an age of growing challenges from a variety of potential adversaries, with China and Russia leading the race to end American maritime military dominance. Much of what the DOD labs do is classified, as is some of their intelligence gathering on what potential adversaries are up to, but the admiral provided some insight into what the U.S. Navy is doing and the challenges it faces, today and into the future.


standup of NRL [U.S. Naval Research Laboratory] in the 1930s. Today, NRL is the only Navy specific lab, although we do have warfare centers that have done a fantastic job, as well. Our portfolio is now moving to a position where we see on the horizon the need for technologies that can be applied on a naval sense to deal with peer adversaries such as China and Russia. We expect, at least in the near term, to continue that. What are the major efforts currently underway? With a portfolio as broad as ours, with a target of future naval power, that has a complex answer. Platforms – under, on, and above the sea – boil down to the basic sciences, and we will never leave that part of scientific discovery to someone else. We have positioned ourselves to have the right level of expertise connected to that research and to fund only those parts that have a role out there or are strictly military – for example, high-energy lasers, which have a role in manufacturing, but development there has enabled us to create a high-energy laser system that can be used on the battlefield. There are some areas that are new, especially with the speed at which discoveries are taking place, such as AI [artificial intelligence] and what it can do. We are moving more of our research efforts into that, although we have

Rear Adm. David J. Hahn offers his thoughts on the naval research enterprise to members of the Office of Naval Research Reserve Component during their Winter Program Review.

been involved in that research for decades. But today’s computer systems are such that algorithms that could not run well enough to complete the task can be now used. Can you prioritize the Navy’s top five research areas for me? There are a whole lot of issues and I prefer to look at this whole set of science and technology as a set of opportunities. We have positioned ourselves, with the right expertise and connectivity across the globe, to be able to take advantage of something developing. So to say there is a top five would be misleading. There is a temporal component to the discovery and application of scientific discoveries that changes the potential. So we look at getting the deterrent capability we want by measuring how quickly we can get that out into the field and cause our potential adversaries to pause and choose an option other than military because of our people and our ability to, frankly, overwhelm them. What new areas are anticipated in the next decade? That goes to looking at scientific discovery through the lens of our adversary. Our role is to make sure we equip our team with the best we can and how to counter what the adversary may use, especially if they don’t play by the same rules we do, using something like altered DNA to


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Above and right: Rear Adm. David Hahn operates the Maritime Dexterous Manipulation System (MDMS) from RE2 Robotics while visiting the Office of Naval Research exhibit during the 2018 OCEANS conference and exposition. The MDMS consists of two 5-degree-offreedom robotic arms with two-finger grippers. The arms are electromechanical and are roughly the same size as a human, meaning that when mounted on a smaller underwater vehicle, they can perform human-like tasks.

change human beings to have enhanced abilities, which is not someplace we’re going to go. But that becomes a pretty daunting and huge challenge to counter. We’re paying more attention to that due to the huge potential that has arisen. You can think of some pretty scary things we have to work through to determine, (a), is it possible, and (b), how do we counter it.


What is ONR’s relationship with NRL, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the other service labs? ONR and NRL and the Navy’s warfare centers have a fantastic and very robust relationship with the other service labs and DARPA, including the Coast Guard, as well

as other agency research arms. That way a taxpayer dollar only gets spent once to develop new technology rather than having duplication. And with academia and our allies? The vast majority of our grants go to academia, and we have thousands of performers across our universities in the U.S. We have ONR Global, which has bound

Our role is to make sure we equip our team with the best we can and how to counter what the adversary may use, especially if they don’t play by the same rules we do, using something like altered DNA to change human beings to have enhanced abilities, which is not someplace we’re going to go. 23


What is the thrust and status of ONR R&D into AI? We look at how it will create an advantage for us going forward and how we will counter it if potential adversaries put it into their systems. We use an ethical background and rigor on verification and protection of intellectual property, working through legal means to acquire technology and work with them [the creators]. China doesn’t do it that way. In their system, anything done anywhere in China – no matter how they got their hands on it – is moved into military application if the Civil-Military Fusion committee feels it is of value to the military. Very little scientific discovery that takes place can remain hidden very long. By design, all the fundamental research in academia is shared with the whole world and speeds across the globe via the Internet. We have to understand how AI can be used in different areas, how we can use it, and how we can counter it. What are your goals for directed energy weapons (DEWs)? DEWs hold promise for defense and some limited offensive purposes. China also is looking into that, and we keep an eye on what they are doing. They already are testing a railgun; we don’t have a railgun on our ships yet.


Rear Adm. David Hahn tours the National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) during a visit to Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Hahn was at CMU to attend the Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Autonomy for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) workshop, co-hosted by the Office of Naval Research and CMU.

What is the status of railgun development and deployment? We remain interested in railguns and continue to explore the necessary elements leading to their operational use on a naval platform. I won’t indicate a time where we will be in position to field – it may even be possible we already have fielded. We operate today against a peer competitor who has the ability and desire to move from R&D to deployment, with greater development on unmanned platforms. As a country, we have been here before, in the Cold War, and we remember the atmosphere and talking about and exposing things or not. So we’ve always been reluctant to talk about what we’re doing. We certainly don’t want to go into conflict with China, but we must be in position to field an advantage that will allow us to win if we do. China has seen how the West has advanced through scientific discovery, both commercial and the military. And they see one of the means to promote how well China is doing is through the publication of papers, but there is a quantity vs. quality issue, as many of their papers duplicate what already has been done. How important are UCAVs (unmanned combat aerial vehicles) and autonomous small- to mid-size surface and undersea unmanned platforms? Pretty important. It always comes down to massing effects. In World War II, with the advent of the aircraft carrier, you could mass effects with the speed and number of aircraft to a point in space. Looking at today, the movement from manned to unmanned


us to foreign labs since World War II. With our partners and allies, we can do collaborative research and spot scientific discoveries we are not doing in the U.S. The ”secret sauce” is to have academia, our defense industry, and knowledgeable scientists and officers who can deal with those.


aircraft is a natural progression, both in the air and on the surface and subsurface of the ocean. The key is how you control those, especially if you attach munitions to them. But until we can move those to the point where they can be used safely and effectively, they won’t be used. What work is ONR doing with respect to GPS alternatives? Precision navigation and timing are important to all the services, which is about all I’m going to say about that. Where are you in developing defenses against EMPs (electromagnetic pulses) and cyberattacks? Any counters to EMPs and cyberattacks are important to the Navy and our allies, but I’m not going to open my playbook for anyone to look at.

Rear Adm. David Hahn and Dr. David Walker, research and development portfolio director at the Office of Naval Research (ONR), speak with Professor Howie Choset in the Biorobotics Laboratory at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU).

For future combat operations, how important to the Navy are: jam-proof communications; large unmanned, semi- or fully autonomous ships and submarines; advanced, long-range mine and enemy ship detection; advanced/expanded battle group defense (air, sea, subsurface)? All four of those I would consider very important to any calculus trying to describe future Navy power. The importance of mass effects at any point in space at a time of your choosing is very important. How do the ships and weapons of potential adversary navies match those of the U.S. Navy? There’s not as great an advantage as we would like, either in quantity or quality. We’re uncomfortably close in some areas and must do anything we can – with a sensitivity to the fact these are taxpayer dollars and there are lots of



pressures on the budget – to create capacity and capability, not just for the U.S. Navy, but for all the services and our allies. In the future, it will be an all-domain environment, not just one service doing the bulk of the combat effort. When you look at the away fight, in somebody else’s backyard, it’s not just their navy you have to consider, but the rest of their military force. Land-based forces that project out, for example. There’s an old saying that “you never fight a fort with a ship,” but that’s what we’re looking at. So what we have to do is much larger than just the maritime capabilities of a potential adversary. If, as some argue, the age of the aircraft supercarrier is nearly over, what are the alternatives and what is ONR looking at? I don’t agree with the premise. If you’re about being able to have mobility of forces and create mass effects at a time and place of your choosing, the aircraft carrier is an awesome and unmatched capability. So it’s not that the age of the supercarrier is over, but how do we best equip that carrier to do what it needs to do in future conflicts and stay ahead of the adversary. What is ONR doing to improve the Navy’s operational capabilities in the Arctic? We have long been involved in the Arctic, which is just an extension of the rest of the blue part of the globe. As it becomes more accessible, we need to be in a position

Rear Adm. David Hahn visits the Office of Naval Research and Naval Research Laboratory exhibit at the Sea-Air-Space exposition.

to understand the changes occurring and the effects on our current and planned platforms. We continue to have scientific missions using more modern tools and systems to monitor that area, as well as keep an eye on what potential adversaries are doing. Is there anything else you would like to add or expand upon? The DOD labs, which are made up not by facilities and equipment but by people, are a necessary element of our enterprise across DOD. The NRL has just shy of 1,000 Ph.D.s doing bench-level scientific research and discovery, along with hundreds of scientists and engineers who take what they come up with and move it forward, which helps not only the military but the commercial world, as well. And that moves across decades. For example, many elements of the iPhone were the result of federally funded research, without which Apple and others would not have been able to create the world we have today in communications. You can trace advances in almost any area back to federally funded R&D, which is an enabling capability that gives advantage to our team. So we can’t discount the DOD labs at the worst possible moment. You can’t just spin those up overnight. We did that prior to World War II and we simply were not ready for what our adversaries were able to do. So DOD labs are vitally important, moreso in peacetime than in war.





n November 2016, when the Department of Defense (DOD) released its first Additive Manufacturing Roadmap, the document began with a sentence that has proven to be something of an understatement: “Additive manufacturing (AM), which includes the commonly used term ‘3D printing,’ is a rapidly growing and changing discipline.” It’s been less than three years since then. While much of the world continues to think of AM technology as a convenient way to make sturdy plastic objects from 3D printers, military personnel at all levels have been pushing its limits far beyond what most imagined possible. Within that interval, these are just a few of the solutions produced by the military and its partners: • At the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Disruptive Technologies Laboratory of the Naval Surface Warfare Center produced the military’s first 3D-printed submarine hull, a 30-foot submersible hull inspired by the SEAL Delivery Vehicle. Compared to a traditional SEAL submarine hull, which costs up to $800,000 and takes three to five months to manufacture, the six carbon-fiber sections of the new prototype were built in four weeks and assembled at a cost of $60,000. • At the Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey, at the facility now known as the Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Armaments Center, the Army unveiled a grenade launcher, the Rapid Additively Manufactured Ballistics Ordnance (RAMBO), a modified version of the older M203 launcher. RAMBO consists of 50 separate parts, each of which, except for the springs and fasteners, was built through an additive manufacturing process. The materials used for these parts include plastic, aluminum, and 4340 alloy steel. • Maintainers at Hill Air Force Base in Utah installed a 3D-printed bracket, made of titanium, on an operational F-22 Raptor. The corrosion-resistant part was used to replace an aluminum bracket in the kick panel of the aircraft cockpit. It was the Air Force’s first operational use of a metallic 3D-printed part on


an F-22, and happened just months after the service’s Rapid Sustainment Office installed 17 printed parts, including both polymer and metal components, on a C-5 Super Galaxy aircraft. • With the use of a gantry-mounted concrete printer jointly developed by the Army’s Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), NASA, and Caterpillar, Marines, soldiers, and Navy Seabees built a 500-square-foot hardened living space – a barracks – in just 40 hours at ERDC’s Construction Engineering Research Laboratory in Champaign, Illinois. The printer is a joint Marines/Army initiative known as Automated Construction of Expeditionary Structures, or ACES. Months later, the 1st Marine Logistics group, with the help of the Marine Corps Systems Command, the Army Corps of Engineers, and Navy Seabees, used the ACES printer to build a functional concrete footbridge in 14 hours, the first 3D-printed bridge in the western hemisphere, at Camp Pendleton, California. • At the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a research team supported by the National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research used additive manufacturing to produce soft, pliable nanostructures that can be manipulated when magnetized. The 3D-printed nanobots, which can be made to roll, crawl, jump, and grab, may someday be used as magnetically controlled biomedical devices. Few technologies are as vigorously hyped throughout the military as additive manufacturing, for good reason: The ability to produce components on demand, at the point of need, will transform logistics, reduce material waste, and enable customization, all at a fraction of the costs and times involved in the manufacturing process that traditionally feeds military resupply and acquisitions. AM is already being viewed as a possible alternative means of tackling problems unsolved by current budget levels: In the spring of 2019, the Navy’s Information Warfare Research Project Consortium issued a solicitation asking industry to use AM and innovative technologies to develop


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the Marines’ next amphibious transport, an item that was zeroed out of the most recent defense appropriation. Such possibilities have serious implications for defense manufacturing: New designs can be prototyped and tested rapidly, without having to stand up production lines or create expensive tooling. In the future it may be possible for warfighters at forward outposts to print their own weapons, critical replacement parts, or even living quarters – but we’re not there yet. There are still a few hurdles to clear, both technical and organizational.

The Technology The term “additive manufacturing” is used to distinguish the technology from more traditional “subtractive” methods, which form objects by cutting away from a piece of raw material and tooling it to achieve a finished product. While there are now several different types of AM, each forms an object in the same basic way: A programmed machine adds material, layer by layer, until a three-dimensional object is formed. The first 3D printing machines, produced in the 1980s, created objects out of thermoset polymers. Today’s machines can infuse these polymers with materials such as Kevlar, carbon fiber, and fiberglass, and also print objects made from a variety of materials including metals, ceramics, paper, food, and even living cells, introducing the possibility of printing human organs for transplant. Initiatives such as the ACES program, which involves three military branches, NASA, and a private company, illustrate how the DOD achieves technical advances through collaboration. Innovations are made all the time by operational components such as the CCDC Armament Center, which owns more than 25 3D printers, including five contained within the mobile R-FAB system, a 3D printing lab in a shipping container. The R-FAB was recently deployed to U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys in South Korea, where machines have been used to print a number of replacement parts, mines, and mortar shells. While these innovations are happening throughout the Defense Department, they are often nurtured by the military’s foundational research programs in additive manufacturing, conducted at the service branch corporate research laboratories – the CCDC Army Research Laboratory (ARL), the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) – often in collaboration with other service elements. Much of this foundational research takes the form of exploring new materials, but as Dr. Joseph South, who leads the ARL’s AM-focused Essential Research Program, pointed out, it also involves investigating ways a process can be altered in order to produce different material characteristics. For example, by controlling the processing parameters in a laser powder bed fusion machine (LPBF) – a 3D printer that uses metal powder to build objects – a user can modulate the laser power and scan strategy to control the microstructure, and thus the strength and hardness, of the printed object. Team members in ARL’s Manufacturing Science and

Above: Marines from I Marine Expeditionary Force learn how to operate the world’s largest concrete 3D printer as it constructs a 500-square-foot barracks hut at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center in Champaign, Illinois. Right: A print head from the Automated Construction of Expeditionary Structures (ACES), a 3D printer, applies a layer of concrete with aggregate to a wall section of the additivemanufactured barracks hut at the Construction Engineering Research Laboratory in Champaign, Illinois.

Technology Branch recently used a LPBF to produce an impeller fan used in the powertrain of an M1 Abrams tank. “That impeller was operating in an erosive environment,” said South. “As it spun at high speed, it sucked in sand, which wore away the blades. If I can control my process parameters, I could make the surface harder. That part would last longer in operation.” The new part may someday be printed in the field, or as needed, rather than loaded onto a truckload of spare parts adding to the logistical tail of an expeditionary force. All of the service branches are working to develop a process for printing explosives, propellants, and pyrotechnics, which aren’t currently approved for AM applications. Impressive as the Army’s RAMBO grenade launcher is, the machines that printed it can’t simply extrude explosive material through a nozzle. Explosive powder in a binder can be 3D printed, but an inert binder often dampens the powder’s explosive force. “Obviously we like to have things go boom,” said South. “And if we can



modernization – though it sometimes produces a solution, such as the impeller for the M1 Abrams, that can support the readiness mission of the Army Materiel Command, which stood up operations at its new Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center (RIA-JMTC) Center of Excellence for Advanced and Additive Manufacturing in the spring of 2019. The new Center of Excellence exists, in part, to work with partners in industry, academia, and government to develop and implement best practices for manufacture requests from the field for components that are not in inventory and negatively affecting readiness.

Scaling Up, Scaling Out Printing of a legacy part out of steel is certainly a milestone, and such technical innovations often grab headlines. But these breakthroughs themselves aren’t what


have more boom, the better. We’re leveraging our in-house polymer science and our explosive formulation expertise to start making the binder energetic – not just an inert binder, but energetic particles integrated into it, trying to make the binder itself have energetic content.” It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see how this application could go wrong, which is why a major focus for ARL and the other corporate laboratories is design science, the development of tools to guarantee each build meets specifications. “We already have the capability now, numerically, using these design tools, to say that if we build a propulsion system in a certain way, this is what the result will be in terms of performance. The next step is to experimentally validate the numerical tools.” Ensuring that all is going as planned during an individual printing, however, is another task. ARL researchers are developing tools for in situ characterization – using techniques that train algorithms to flag defects as an object is being formed – and machine learning algorithms that will train different machines to correct lines of code in a build file. “The last thing you want to do is build something and then at the end have it not be applicable to your process,” said South, “or not be applicable to the situation that you need it to be. Ultimately, the research is driving toward qualification.” ARL research in additive manufacturing, like the programs at its counterpart corporate laboratories, is mostly aimed at the future, chartered for


Above: U.S. Army Spc. Randy Martina, assigned to Bravo Company, 299th Battalion Support Brigade, Dagger Brigade, operates a Mark 2 carbon fiber/nylon 3D printer in a Rapid Fabrication via Additive Manufacturing on the Battlefield (R-FAB) system at Amberg Training Area, Germany, May 4, 2018. The R-FAB is an expeditionary, 20-foot container with the capability to fabricate multiple types of equipment parts under multiple environments. It was being tested as part of Joint Warfighting Assessment (JWA), which helps the Army assess emerging concepts, integrate new technologies, and promote interoperability within the Army, with other services, U.S. allies, and partners. The R-FAB was recently deployed to U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys in South Korea. Right: The RAMBO grenade launcher. The 50 separate parts that make up RAMBO, except springs and fasteners, are 3D printed.


will transform military logistics. The Navy isn’t cranking out printed submarines, and the Marines aren’t printing living quarters overseas – yet. There’s work to be done before such inventions can be manufactured by warfighters where and when they’re needed. That work consists of scaling up – proving a prototype can be printed multiple times to the same specifications – and scaling out, to extend these new capabilities everywhere the military might need them. An important part of scaling out is simply making digital models widely available. For example, the CCDC Armament Center maintains a digital Repository of AM Parts for Tactical & Operational Readiness (RAPTOR), a searchable joint database for 3D models that allows users to download, upload, and comment on parts in the database. A key feature of RAPTOR is that it links expeditionary personnel to engineers, who can oversee the process and qualify parts and assemblies – validate that the items perform correctly and will result in expected outcomes. For a plastic visor clip, this is important, but for a part that may determine the airworthiness of an aircraft or the seaworthiness of a naval vessel, it’s a life-and-death issue. In July 2016, for the first time, a U.S. naval aircraft, a V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor, flew with a flight-critical part produced by additive manufacturing: a titanium link and fitting assembly used to fasten the engine nacelle to the wing. For the AM Integrated Product Team (IPT) of the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), led by Liz McMichael, this demonstration was just the beginning. “We deliberately tried to jump over a very high technical barrier,” McMichael said.

An MV-22B Osprey equipped with a 3D-printed titanium link and fitting inside an engine nacelle maintains a hover during a demonstration on July 29, 2016, at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Maryland. The flight marked Naval Air Systems Command’s first successful flight demonstration of a flight-critical aircraft component built using additive manufacturing techniques.

One of the critiques often leveled by skeptics, she said, had been that even if AM for low-end components could be scaled out, the process would never work for flight-critical structural components. After the Osprey flew with the nacelle clip, McMichael gave a photo of it to the NAVAIR commander, a three-star admiral, with the caption: “Now what?” For the next two years, McMichael and her team stood up processes to get AM components, both metal and polymer, approved for use on aircraft. “That was a good idea, but it was still too slow,” she said. “We were starting to make it a more sustainable process, but it still hadn’t been adopted across the organization.” In March 2018, the team began a new process to support the Marine Corps’ aviation fleet and manage requests for aircraft parts. At the time, a number of Marine service depots had low-end commodity printers, and McMichael wasn’t sure they could be used to print parts for naval aircraft. The engineering and ordnance members of the IPT devised a color-coding scheme to differentiate between components that wouldn’t pose a safety risk if they failed (green) and those that were critical for airworthiness (blue). Once this sorting had been performed – a task more difficult than it sounds, McMichael said – the team worked to devise a replicable process and data package for producing these low-risk components. That effort has led to a data repository of multiple F/A-18 parts approved for manufacture as “green-box” components that can be made on an inexpensive polymer printer. “That starts to nibble on the next phase for this,” McMichael said, “which is scaling out, coming up with a process that can be



used across the organization, across multiple communities – our vendors, our foreign partners, the rest of DOD, and big OEMs [original equipment manufacturers].” NAVAIR is in the middle of this harder phase, McMichael said, and has begun to replicate this process across the naval aviation enterprise. More than 170 different AM parts have been approved for use in naval aircraft – close to 300, said McMichael, including parts produced for NAVAIR by OEMs. “We still do research and development work for AM,” said McMichael. “But we’re also operationalizing. At this point, we have fleet guys who have printers who are making their own parts using additive and putting them on airplanes.” The IPT has begun to quantify the potential value of AM to the Navy’s airfleet, and the data on the green-box parts is staggering: Compared to parts acquired through the traditional means – sending an order to a manufacturer, who may have to set up a new production line in order to produce it, and then waiting for it to be produced and shipped – the parts produced by AM are 70 percent cheaper, and are ready for use 97 percent faster (in three days, for example, rather than 100). It seems obvious, then, that if the engineers and maintenance personnel throughout the military could produce components with AM, they would – and save an incredible amount of time and money. It’s also true that more objects can be printed on AM machines today than can be imagined by most people. The innovations necessary to take AM to the next phase within the military, McMichael said, aren’t technical.

Sailors from Southwest Regional Maintenance Center (SWRMC) watch as their Computer Aided Software (CAD) design is turned into a printed part using a Lulzbot TAZ 3D printer during additive manufacturing training, April 8-12, 2019. The course, taught by instructors from Naval Sea Systems Command, is specifically tailored to provide sailors with the tools to become technical experts in the design and production of AM parts for use with 3D printers being installed on four Navy ships homeported in San Diego, with plans for future installation across the fleet.

“The innovation we really need now is about business models and processes,” she said. Most of NAVAIR’s business partners, like the Navy, are organized in a traditional way, and most of these partners see their job as producing and selling as many parts as possible. “Until we can figure out a way to show industry a different business model,” she said, “and have those leadership or sustainment organizations get compensated differently, we’re going to struggle.” Future models are more likely to be built around the licensing of data and designs, and the speed with which solutions can be delivered. McMichael and her team – and their counterparts throughout DOD – are working on it. In the meantime, she’s enjoying her job. A few weeks ago, she got a call from a maintenance crew in Japan, where an F/A-18 had been taken out of service because it needed a replacement part: a plug that fit into the armament computer to communicate how many weapons stations were active. The crew had called the manufacturer and been told the part would be ready in about 500 days. Over a weekend, AM IPT engineers built a technical data package for a replacement plug and e-mailed it to the mechanics in Japan, who printed it, validated it, and asked for a couple of tweaks. The team sent them an updated data package for one of the crew’s commodity polymer printers. “I called them five days after it had been sent,” McMichael said, “and said, ‘Do you need anything else?’ And they said, ‘No, ma’am. The airplane is up.’”




Top: A MiG-31 carries the hypersonic Russian Kh-47M2 Kinzhal missile. Above: A B-52 carries an AGM-183 ARRW for its first captive carry flight over Edwards Air Force Base. Opposite page: The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command conducted the first flight of the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW) concept in November 2011. AHW is a boost-glide weapon that is launched to a high altitude, curves back to the Earth’s surface, and then glides or skips along the atmosphere, without power, for the remainder of its flight.





n the spring of 2018, the Department of Defense (DOD) began publicly sounding alarm bells about the nation’s need to rapidly accelerate the development of technologies that could underpin a range of hypersonic weapons – strike vehicles capable of flight at Mach 5 and above. Reacting to Russian President Vladamir Putin’s assertion in March 2018 that the Russian military had developed a hypersonic missile system it calls “Kinzhal” or Dagger, and Chinese hypersonic weapons developments including “Starry Sky-2” (a maneuverable hypersonic aircraft capable of carrying nuclear weapons), Michael Griffin, the Pentagon’s research and development head, said hypersonic weapons development is the Defense Department’s “highest technical priority” at a House Armed Services Committee hearing the following month. The speed of and range of hypersonic weapons and their ability to maneuver could make them nearly impossible to counter with existing air defense systems. Griffin added that in his opinion, Chinese development of a “pretty mature system for conventional strike” at multi-thousand-kilometer ranges is the “most significant advance by our adversaries.” In response, the Defense Department has pushed forward coordinated research and development of several hypersonic weapons that fit into two categories. Boost-glide missiles use rocket propulsion to boost them to hypersonic speed up to the edge of outer space, at which point they glide at hypersonic speed to a target. They can be launched from mobile ground-based vehicles, surface or undersea vessels, or aircraft. Hypersonic air-breathing weapons would likely be launched from aircraft, employ a rocket booster to accelerate to Mach 5 or faster, and then use a hydrocarbon scramjet engine to sustain hypersonic cruise. The U.S Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin contracts for two hypersonic weapons last year, including a contract for the Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon (HCSW) worth up to $928 million over its life cycle, and up to $480 million for the AGM-183 Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW). The boost-glide ARRW prototype flew on the wing of a B-52 in June of this year, with the first operational flight test of the weapon to occur by the end of 2020. The air-launched HCSW is scheduled to fly before 2021. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is working with the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Army on two hypersonic weapons programs. The air-launched Hypersonic AirBreathing Weapon Concept and the air-, land-, or sea-launched Tactical Boost Glide program are scheduled to deliver flying prototypes by the



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mid-2020s. Lockheed is also reported to be at work on a hypersonic fighter aircraft, while Boeing is understood to be developing a hypersonic reconnaissance aircraft. The efforts are at varying stages of technological maturity, but all are reliant on a mix of basic research emanating from academia, the defense industry, and the Defense Department’s research laboratories.

U.S. Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory (ARL) ARL is engaged in basic and applied hypersonics research spanning a variety of hypersonic weapons applications associated with the Army’s No. 1 modernization priority: Long-Range Precision Fires. “Hypersonics is a piece of the three echelons that fall under Long Range Precision Fires,” said Dr. Frank Fresconi, a researcher and lead for Long Range Distributed and Cooperative Engagements at ARL. “Some of those echelons will exceed Mach 5 and be in the hypersonic regime, and that’s where we have some technology gaps that we are trying to address.” The science and technology research ARL is focused on will underpin future hypersonic projectile and missile development and fill in technological gaps for the three echelons: Tactical Fires for cannon artillery, Operational Fires for rocket artillery, and Strategic Fires, which includes both cannon and rocket-propelled solutions capable of being fired at strategic ranges (distances beyond the battlefield).

Above: DARPA’s Materials Architectures and Characterization for Hypersonics (MACH) program seeks to develop new materials and designs for cooling the hot leading edges of hypersonic vehicles traveling more than five times the speed of sound. Right: The DeepStrike surface-to-surface missile will be capable of striking land-based targets up to 499 kilometers away and could be fielded by 2025.

The Army is looking to extend the range of its M777A2 Lightweight Towed 155mm Howitzer and the M109A7 Paladin Self-Propelled Howitzer platforms with three new projectiles that could be fired at hypersonic speed as part of its Next Generation 155 mm artillery ammunition family. The service wants the rocket-assisted XM1113 projectile to be capable of hitting targets at distances beyond 70 kilometers, and is studying hypervelocity or ramjet technology to enable the round to achieve that range. Simultaneously, the Army is developing long-range missiles under the Precision Strike Missile program, the successor to its Army Tactical Missile System. Having recently completed a preliminary design review, the




The XM1113 consists of a high fragmentation steel body with a streamlined ogive, the curved portion of a projectile between the fuze well and the bourrelet, and a high performance rocket motor. The projectile body is filled with insensitive munition high explosive and a supplementary charge. On gun launch, propellant gases initiate a delay device that will ignite the rocket motor, boosting velocity at an optimal time in the trajectory to maximize range.

readiness levels beyond the basic and applied research the laboratory does. “We do support those programs in a limited sense,” Fresconi said, while noting that ARL’s “core focus” is on scientific and technical gaps. “Those programs have certain gaps that they are either living with or are trying to mitigate, but we focus on research that looks into the future, beyond these current hypersonic efforts.”

U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Like its Army and Air Force counterparts, NRL’s basic and applied research efforts support ongoing and future hypersonic weapons development. The Navy is cooperating with the Army and the Air Force on research underpinning efforts like the Alternate ReEntry System, a maneuverable warhead also known as the Common Hypersonic Glide Body that could be employed by boost-glide hypersonic missiles fired from Air Force bombers and land-based Army launchers as well as Navy submarines or surface vessels. Capable of maneuvering at hypersonic speed, the warhead would be very difficult for enemy air defenses to counter. But as mentioned, a vehicle moving at hypersonic speed experiences extreme heating from the friction of the air molecules through which it moves. The heat gets even higher when the vehicle maneuvers. That’s why NRL is also exploring new materials, cooling systems, and aerodynamic designs that can mitigate the damaging effects of extreme heat. Researchers at NRL’s Space Mechanical Systems Development Branch are working on a new aerodynamic design for hypersonic vehicles that will allow them to maneuver without generating the additional friction and heat that traditional aerodynamic control mechanisms (flaps, ailerons, elevators, rudders, etc.) would cause at speeds above Mach 5. They call their design a “morphing waverider.” The idea is similar to the concept of “wing warping” used by the Wright Brothers and other aviation pioneers


DeepStrike surface-to-surface missile will be capable of striking land-based targets up to 499 kilometers away and could be ready by 2025. Designed with room for continual capability upgrades after initial fielding, precision strike missiles like DeepStrike may benefit from advances in the kinds of hypersonic research ARL is currently undertaking. ARL researchers are using high fidelity computational mechanics tools that include “multi-physics like heat transfer, fluid mechanics, and structures chemistry,” Fresconi explained, attempting to understand the superheated air or “plasma” that flows around hypersonic vehicles as they fly beyond Mach 5. If they can accurately calculate the dynamic chemistry and fluid dynamics of the plasma, they can develop more effective heat shields, enabling hypersonic vehicles to better survive the intense temperatures that come with hypersonic velocity. “The hypersonic regime is where we have some technology gaps that we are trying to address,” Fresconi continued. “They include things like trying to understand the aero-thermal environment and having more survivable materials under those high thermal loads. Another challenge is materials that can survive the thermal loads that have “optical access” – in other words, an aperture for a sensor. How can you make that thing survive and still perform the way it needs to?” Hypersonic efforts in which the Army is partnered with DARPA include the Operational Fires program to develop a ground-launched system enabling hypersonic boost-glide weapons to penetrate modern enemy air defenses and rapidly and precisely engage critical timesensitive targets. The Army is also tasked with managing production of the Common Hypersonic Glide Body for variants of hypersonic boost-glide missiles that all three services intend to employ. ARL is also working on developing materials for thermal protection systems for these efforts, but Fresconi said that the Operational Fires and Common Hypersonic Glide Body programs have achieved technological

at the dawn of powered flight. Wing warping allows for control in three dimensions by changing the shape of a wing – as birds do – rather than employing moving control surfaces. A team led by NRL mechanical engineer Jesse Maxwell is taking the idea a step further, aiming to achieve a smooth, seamless control surface – one without ailerons, flaps or hinges – to which they can introduce small deviations through morphing – changing the aircraft’s shape, specifically the underside of the vehicle, rather than just its wing. Making small “smooth” changes to the waverider’s geometry would allow for controllability of the craft without “the intense heating that you get with normal control surfaces for low-speed aircraft,” Maxwell said. A waverider – a design concept for hypersonic aircraft that dates back to the 1950s – uses the shock waves it produces during flight as a lifting surface, a concept known as “compression lift.” Like most hypersonic designs, it’s highly efficient, but only within a narrow altitude, speed, and atmospheric density range. In addition to the maneuverability it could help create, morphing could allow a waverider to be efficient across a range of atmospheric environments, from nearspace to lower altitudes. “They [hypersonic vehicles] produce a lot of lift for that one configuration,” explained Austin Phoenix, NRL mechanical engineer and partner with Maxwell on the morphing waverider. “But if they slow down or speed up, which is what most things do, they reduce their efficiency. The ideal morphing waverider would maintain the perfect geometry across the entire flight.” During 2017 and 2018, Maxwell and Phoenix conducted wind tunnel testing with models of their morphing waverider. Their goal is to arrive at a design that works well at hypersonic speed, whether flying like a conventional aircraft or a spacecraft. Potential space applications are where their focus is, but a successful morphing waverider could have a range of applications, from hypersonic air travel to hypersonic weapons. The testing Maxwell and Phoenix undertook was done at the U.S. Naval Academy’s low-speed wind tunnel. But to simulate a wider range of conditions including higher speeds, the pair needed a more capable facility. After studying available and expensive alternatives, the engineers concluded that they could cost-effectively acquire a wind tunnel for use at NRL from a company with a pre-existing design. The new NRL-based wind tunnel, forecast to be complete by the end of 2019, will be uniquely capable, with the ability to vary pressure to simulate variations in altitude and wind speed in situ. That will be ideal for studying waverider models which will morph their shape to adapt to varying flight profiles. “We can accelerate and decelerate, climb, and descend,” Maxwell said. “We will be able to fly [simulations of] this vehicle anywhere from about sea level up to over 100,000 feet at speeds of Mach 1.3 up to at least Mach 5 early on – and eventually Mach 6 and a half.”

The Aerodynamics Research Center, University of Texas, Arlington (UTA) and the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Wind Tunnel The newly operational ONR/UTA arc-heated hypersonic wind tunnel located at the University of Texas’ Arlington branch is the result of joint investment by ONR and DARPA in 2014.

ONR is aligned with NRL but separate. The organization conducts science and technology research on two tiers. At the department level, it investigates and supports technology research areas outlined in the “Naval Research and Development Framework.” Simultaneously, ONR directorates oversee investment portfolios for discovery and invention, future naval capabilities, innovative naval prototypes, and more. The advanced ONR/UTA wind tunnel was the vision of Dr. Luca Maddalena, director of UTA’s Aerodynamics Research Center. “We needed a facility that was a radical change,” Maddalena said, “with the capability for a materials development component and a fundamental research component.” Five years ago, ONR and DARPA recognized the need for infrastructure to support hypersonic research. Maddalena agrees with other researchers in the field that the United States must invest more in facilities to support hypersonic research and said, “that’s a credit to the sponsoring agencies.” The arc-heated tunnel is the only one of its kind at a U.S.-based university, capable of superheating air as a gas that can flow around a structure to simulate the plasma flow that forms around hypersonic vehicles traveling at 3,500 miles per hour or more. Friction causes the surfaces of hypersonic vehicles to heat up to more than 8,000 degrees Kelvin, or about 15,000 degrees Fahrenheit. At these temperatures, air also undergoes chemical reactions. Nitrogen and oxygen molecules start to dissociate and form a reacting mixture of atomic oxygen and nitrogen, plus regular molecular oxygen and nitrogen. This superheated air, or plasma, evolves as it flows around the vehicle, making it necessary for engineers to calculate simultaneously its chemistry and fluid dynamics to develop an effective heat shield. Maddalena’s team will use two additional ONR grants totaling $1.5 million to begin research with the tunnel. The first, an $820,000 award for fundamental research, will develop diagnostic techniques to characterize the plasma flow, thereby improving the understanding of the relationship between arc-jet test and actual flight environments. The second grant, a $690,000 award, will allow the Aerodynamics Research Center to purchase a femtosecond laser system for the tunnel. Since the flow in the wind tunnel will be heated beyond temperatures at which any type of physical measurement device placed in it would survive, the femtosecond laser system will allow Maddalena and his team to non-intrusively measure the temperature and composition of the plasma flow. The laser system is so advanced that it has never been used in an arc-jet facility, and will take six months to build. “The objective of the work is two-fold,” Maddalena explained. “First is to increase knowledge of complex hypersonic flows [around aero structures]. They are reacting chemically, and they have a complex model that has to be developed and then applied at a fundamental level to predict what happens with a hypersonic vehicle. We will specifically develop laser-based diagnostics to understand these complex flows.” The second objective is to use the ONR/UTA hypersonic wind tunnel to aid in the development of materials that can be used to insulate hypersonic vehicles. “With a facility like this, you can put thermal protection material candidates – heat shields – in it and see how they perform,” Maddalena


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added. “We can support other researchers and other organizations working on heat shields for hypersonics to see to what extent they are making progress with new materials.” Maddalena said the wind tunnel is also of great interest to commercial space companies working to develop reusable space vehicles that will enter and leave earth’s atmosphere repeatedly. “So you can move from defense to space exploration in general,” Maddalena concluded. “This facility can also support heat shield testing for planetary entry for probes. Major players in that area have already expressed interest and we are having discussions. This is very important for hypersonic studies and for our nation.”

Above: An image of the morphing waverider being developed by researchers at NRL’s Space Mechanical Systems Development Branch. Right: Mechanical engineers Jesse Maxwell (left), Evan Rogers (center), and Austin Phoenix (right) stand in the 4,000-square-foot space that will soon be home to a new wind tunnel.




Dr. Penrose (Parney) C. Albright D

r. Parney Albright is president and CEO of HRL Laboratories, LLC. Dr. Albright joined HRL in 2014 after serving as director and associated director at large, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and senior advisor, Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), on assignment under an Interpersonal Agreement (IPA), where he supported IARPA as well as ODNI senior leadership on a variety of issues. Before he joined LLNL, Dr. Albright served from August 2005 to November 2009 as president and vice chairman of the board of Civitas Group, LLC. He led the analytic team in support of the first Quadrennial Homeland Security Review, and in addition, led the development and publication of a comprehensive Biodefense Net Assessment under DHS sponsorship.


In October 2003, Dr. Albright was confirmed by the Senate as assistant secretary of homeland security in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). He served in that position until July 2005. His responsibilities included developing the multi-year strategic planning guidance and budget execution for the complete portfolio of programs comprising the Science and Technology Directorate. Dr. Albright served as principal scientific advisor to the secretary of homeland security on issues associated with science, technology, and the threat of biological, nuclear, and chemical terrorism. On these issues he served as the department’s primary representative to other U.S. government agencies, the Homeland Security Council, the National Security Council, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and foreign governments. Between January 2002 and the startup of the DHS, Dr. Albright concurrently held the positions of senior director for




Hence, U.S. R&D was substantially focused on denying the adversary a path to conventional victory in an environment of strategic nuclear parity: in central Europe, stopping the large-scale flow of forces from the east, and in today’s world preventing a rapid fait accompli in the Baltic states or western Pacific. for research and development in the Office of Homeland Security and assistant director for homeland and national security within the Office of Science and Technology Policy. He was the lead official within the White House responsible for providing advice to the Executive Office of the President on science and technology issues surrounding homeland security, and on the threat of biological, nuclear, and chemical terrorism. In July 2002, he was asked to lead the planning for the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Directorate of the proposed Department of Homeland Security; this later evolved into the Science and Technology Directorate. Between 1999 and being asked to serve in the White House after the events of Sept. 11, 2001, Dr. Albright worked in the Advanced Technology Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). While there he developed and managed programs associated with special operations, intelligence collection, molecular biology, communications, and maritime operations. From 1986 until joining DARPA, Dr. Albright worked at the federally funded Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA). While there, he became an internationally recognized expert on ballistic and cruise missile defense systems; space-based infrared and launch detection systems; and weapons and sensor system design and analysis. He has authored several policy papers for internal or public consumption, primarily in the areas of homeland and national security. He has also been the author of numerous technical publications and briefings, in both the open and classified literature, primarily in the areas of statistical physics; infrared phenomenology; spacebased tactical warning and attack assessment systems; intelligence collection systems; and ballistic and cruise missile defense systems. Dr. Albright received his bachelor’s degree in physics from the George Washington University (1979), and his master’s and doctorate in physics from the University of Maryland (in 1982 and 1985, respectively). Defense R&D Outlook: How have you seen the nature of defense and national security research and development change over the decades you’ve been involved in various projects and agencies? Dr. Penrose (Parney) C. Albright: Well, the largest swings I have seen were: (1) the focus on the Soviet Union and NATO; then (2) pivoting to maintaining order in a unipolar moment and the subsequent shift toward homeland security and counterterrorism; and then (3) most recently the shift back to a focus on Russia and China.

Both the first and last of these were and are heavily colored by the fact the adversaries are nuclear-armed states. Hence, U.S. R&D was substantially focused on denying the adversary a path to conventional victory in an environment of strategic nuclear parity: in central Europe, stopping the large-scale flow of forces from the east, and in today’s world preventing a rapid fait accompli in the Baltic states or western Pacific. This current focus puts the R&D focus on efficient, high-volume weapons supported by rapid C3I timelines – foreclosing the adversaries’ path to success and hence deterring them from acting. In contrast, the period extending from the collapse of the Iron Curtain until recently was more directed toward counterinsurgency (the First Gulf War being an exception), very much about keeping casualties (military and civilian) to a minimum, exquisite ISR&T [intelligence, surveillance, reconnaisance, and targeting], small unit combat, and extremely surgical strikes. Significant R&D attention was placed on force protection, disseminating (and collecting) intelligence of all sorts down echelon, and delivering effects from a distance. Despite all of this, there are R&D priorities that are timeless in nature: these include air defense, EW [electronic warfare], weapons delivery platforms, logistics, antisubmarine warfare, intelligence collection, C3, and, going forward, counterterrorism. How much has the civil/military research divide been eroded from a hard line into a gray area? There are many areas where the research interests of the commercial world and those of the national security community overlap. The most obvious area is information science and technology, where at both the hardware and software levels the commercial market dominates R&D funding; the military R&D in this area has to strongly leverage that. A further area is in the realm of sensors – vehicles on the road, the farm, or on the factory floor have basically become computers on wheels that need to sense their environment with a variety of phenomenologies and make sense of it. What you are seeing is commercial companies treading the same path the defense aerospace industry did decades ago, but now at scales that need to be much larger and with hardware price points that need to be far lower than the national security community is used to. The R&D challenges are in important ways different, but the basics remain. As a perhaps interesting aside, these areas of overlap will have a significant impact on how we think about export controls.


At one time, defense research drove advances that spread into the civilian world. Has that model been flipped, with areas of research from the private sector now informing, driving, or even supplanting defense research? As noted above, in some areas, yes. Certainly in information sciences. Quite a bit of the DOD communications infrastructure is also heavily leveraging commercial developments. But the national security community will always have important needs that require dedicated development. The DOD needs munitions, weapons delivery platforms, exquisite sensing capabilities, the ability to operate in a non-cooperative environment. In addition to all that, some things that are often lost in the discussion include: Much of DOD hardware is used episodically vs. 24/7/365, and can be serviced by a well-trained cadre supported by dedicated logistics vs. the local mechanic; DOD capabilities are used in an area of accepted risk, with performance requirements that reflect that fact; DOD hardware and software (and the associated capabilities) are usually classified. Given that, even in areas where the national security sector has led the way, the commercial side often (perhaps almost all of the time) has to re-develop the hardware and software. A great example of this is the suite of sensors that have been proposed and in some cases deployed in support of automotive autonomy. The radars, lidars, cameras, and software all can trace their lineage back to DOD, but considerations of cost, durability, maintainability, export control, etc., require novel new ideas and designs. What is also interesting, and it is something we see here at HRL due to our relationship with both Boeing and GM, is how those developments can migrate back to the aerospace sector. Do we invest in defense-oriented research and development as much as we have in past years? I don’t have the actual number before me, but I think the general answer is yes. In some places, there has been long

Dr. Penrose (Parney) C. Albright during his time as director at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

neglect where catch-up is needed; an obvious example is R&D surrounding the nuclear deterrent. What proportion of the defense budget do you think should go to R&D and why? The “canonical” answer often given is around 3 percent, running from basic research to dem/val [demonstration/ validation]. In reality, however, the answer to this depends heavily on the environment, and just stating a number without context is fraught. As I said earlier, for several decades the focus has been on a very different set of priorities. Now we are confronting near-peer competitors who have made heavy investments aimed at negating the U.S. and its allies’ approach to warfighting. We need to modernize with that fact in mind. There will need to be change in how we operate our forces, the mix of needed forces, and the need for disruptive new capabilities. We are also in a new arena with regard to information

We are also in a new arena with regard to information warfare writ large. We have enjoyed a long holiday, and now we need to get back to work. That will mean both re-allocating R&D funds toward this new reality and an uptick in R&D investment as we catch up. 47

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warfare writ large. We have enjoyed a long holiday, and now we need to get back to work. That will mean both re-allocating R&D funds toward this new reality and an uptick in R&D investment as we catch up. What areas of research do you see today as being most crucial for the nation’s security and defense? This is a question that would require a far longer answer than I can give here, but here are a few thoughts: Bending the cost curve is crucial, and one of the most obvious ways to do that is to develop autonomous systems. For some problems, available techniques such as adversarial machine learning can be very useful, but for others, where the training sets are never going to be available and where the situations that need to be dealt with are nearly endless, we must take our cues from neuroscience and be able to operate autonomously through heuristics and by analogy. This is a really hard problem. Warfare has a long history of developing and deploying autonomous weapons, but there has to be an attentive eye placed on the ethical issues surrounding each development effort. Related to this is that, whether or not there is a human in the loop, the time from target detection to the firing of a weapon needs to be reduced from tens of minutes to single digit minutes. This puts a premium on rapid target classification, almost certainly at the sensor platform, and is a rich research area where big performance improvements would make a big difference. A further research focus has to be on developing capabilities to expose the inherent societal fragilities of our adversaries. This implies developing a deep understanding of those societies and the (truthful) messaging that would have an impact, developing techniques to understand the informal and formal networks within the population, developing the technical means to deliver those messages, and developing techniques that assess the impact. Finally, often lost in these discussions is the need to invest in those areas where the U.S. already holds an advantage – staying on the cutting edge and not allowing the threat to catch up should be the highest priority. Undersea warfare, EW, and sensors all come to mind as examples. Over the last several years, there have been numerous mentions of the crisis in finding qualified scientists and engineers for research fields. Has there been progress in shepherding more young American graduates into national security and defense research, or is that problem yet to peak? Obviously it depends on the field. In areas like information science, where there is a high level of commercial investment, the overall workforce has grown, but the national security community is competing with the commercial sector; I don’t see this abating anytime soon. Another example is in quantum sensors, communications, and computing – in this case the qualified workforce is limited in size, and there are a lot of commercial efforts. I do

see this as abating soon, for two reasons: the investments being made at NSF [National Science Foundation] and DOE [Department of Energy] aimed at expanding the academic programs in this area, and what I see as a future decline in commercial interest. All that being said, in general there has always been a substantial fraction of young scientists and engineers who want to make their mark in the world by contributing to the nation’s security; that remains true today. HRL has a highly distinguished history and pedigree. Can you tell us a little about groundbreaking research undertaken by the laboratory? Of course, HRL started out as Hughes Research Laboratories; as consolidation in the aerospace community occurred, we ended up where we are today: HRL Laboratories, jointly owned by Boeing and General Motors. Hence, the history is long, with a great number of “firsts” that have had an enormous impact. Perhaps the best known is Ted Maiman’s demonstration of the first laser; interestingly, the laboratory he used is still a working optical sciences laboratory, although we got out of the laser development business long ago. HRL developed the first RF MEMS switch; the first GaN W-band MMIC, the first graphene FET. We developed the world’s lowest density metallic material. We pioneered GaAs solar cells, and were a pioneer in HgCdTe IR detector materials. More recently, we are the first and only firm to develop and produce powders of high-strength common alloys such as 7000-series Al that can be additively manufactured while maintaining their bulk strength. We are pioneers in III-V IR detector material development and their transition to the field. There is plenty more; every day HRL is developing disruptive innovations aimed at deployment to our owners Boeing and GM, and to the nation. What are the most important or exciting research areas for HRL today? In the sensors arena, we are focused on transitioning our III-V detector material and recently developed read-out electronics to the field, with a particular emphasis on large format IR arrays. We are also developing low-cost radars operating at, e.g., 77GHz, and photonic integrated circuits coupled to lowcost semiconductor lasers, with an initial focus on automotive applications. I already mentioned our efforts in weldable and additively useful high strength alloys. We believe we have disruptive technology in compact precision, navigation, and timing devices that we are, again, bringing to the field. Our capabilities in information science are among the world’s best; our focus here includes what we believe are novel approaches to autonomy. I would also be remiss if I also did not highlight our efforts to leverage our cleanroom to bring the most recent RF GaN technology (also HRLdeveloped) to the field at affordable cost, at yield.



A Global Collaborative Network



Open Campus and Outreach at ARL Leonard is the program manager for ARL’s Open Campus initiative, a framework launched in 2014 to open the laboratory’s world-class facilities and research opportunities to partners from academia and private industry domestically and internationally. The basic idea behind it is to connect ARL scientists and engineers with outside researchers


Brazilian post-graduate researcher Isabella Costa (left) works alongside Dr. Victoria Blair, a materials engineer in the Ceramics and Transparent Materials Branch at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, on the hunt for materials science breakthroughs. The lab’s Open Campus model enabled the collaboration between Costa and Blair, and made ARL’s facilities and research opportunities accessible to the Brazilian graduate student.


merica’s armed forces are under pressure. Nearly 20 years (and counting) invested in fighting a global war on terrorism has largely kept the United States safe from terrorist attacks, but the effort has taken a toll on the nation’s readiness for major conflicts and significantly diminished its military edge. Great power competition is back. While America has been engaged in the Middle East, China and Russia have transformed their militaries to counter U.S. power directly and indirectly. Targeted science and technology research along with technological theft has allowed these near-peer competitors to narrow capability gaps in some areas and perhaps equal or surpass the American military in a few. In response, the Department of Defense (DOD) is renewing and expanding its own science and technology research efforts to gain back or widen the military’s advantage in combat power across multiple domains. The quest for additive and transformational technology is being pursued aggressively within the armed forces’ respective research establishments and beyond. Outreach to gain access to knowledge and innovation is critical, and one of the prime assets America has is its unmatched network of research universities. The U.S. Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory (ARL) and the Army Research Office (ARO) are tapping into this resource as never before, forging new, broader partnerships with academia. ARL’s Wendy Leonard said the Army is trying to “bring together the government labs, academic institutions, and the private sector to form a global collaborative network.”


Above: The Army Research Laboratory is collaborating with Uber to develop a quieter rotor system for vertical takeoff and landing vehicles that could improve aeromechanical performance and advance the capabilities of unmanned aircraft systems. Such cooperation with industry is part of the Army’s effort to form a global collaborative network of government labs, academic institutions, and the private sector. Right: ARL scientists and visiting student researchers make use of Open Campus space to work out stylometry challenges to advance the potential of automated linguistic-type analysis, or stylometry, to determine authorship attribution of source code. The group, pictured in 2014 after the launch of Open Campus, are, from left to right: ARL network-science researcher Dr. Richard Harang, Drexel University guest researcher Aylin Caliskan-Islam, ARL computational linguist Dr. Clare Voss, ARL computational linguist Jeffrey Micher, and University of Maryland student and Army College Qualified Leader program participant Andrew Liu.

and research institutions, allowing them to work side by side with visiting scientists in ARL’s facilities and to visit as researchers at collaborators’ institutions. Think of Open Campus as an Army portal to a global research network that allows researchers to move freely between academia, the private sector, and government laboratories, Leonard said. The network enables collaboration on basic scientific research oriented toward solving complex Army technology problems. “I could move throughout the network whether I worked for the government at a lab like ARL or in a position at an academic institution, or if I was an entrepreneur and started my own company. We want all of these folks working together to address Army challenges. Solutions come from true partnerships, and those true partnerships are often based on proximity and trust,” she said. Mutual scientific interest and investment by ARL and research partners is central to the collaboration Open Campus encourages. The concept serves as a connector between ARL and the wider scientific research world, but

it’s not a funding mechanism for research. ARL has a variety of funded and non-funded partnership arrangements including Collaborative Technology Alliances, which fund research with industry and academia in micro autonomous systems and technology, network science, cognition and neuroergonomics, and robotics. Educational Partnership Agreements provide the laboratory means to assist universities in extending their research capabilities in areas relevant to Army needs and provide an opportunity for students to work on degrees in programs of interest to ARL. Universities benefit by developing scientific and engineering expertise applicable to future Army needs, which also benefits the service. Students working on ARL-sponsored research receive early


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exposure to the lab, thereby expanding the possible talent pool for future recruitment. Currently, ARL outsources 80 percent of its research program to academia, with more than 250 academic partners in all 50 states, and to industry through a mix of grants, cooperative agreements, Other Transaction Authority agreements, or contracts. Dr. Patrice Collins, ARL’s outreach special program manager, noted that connection between the laboratory and academia often comes about through relationships between scientists working in similar research areas. “A lot of times it’s scientist-driven, where our scientists say, ‘Hey, we have a relationship with this university, and we want to continue collaboration. How can we do that?’” Educational Partnership Agreements and cooperative agreements grow the relationships ARL has and leverage what it already knows about an institution to find out where matches can be made on collaboration for other challenges with that same university. “There are times for the Outreach Office when it’s more of a personal relationship that starts the conversation,” Collins said. The increased interaction ARL has with researchers in academia through Open Campus is also advanced by the initiative’s website, which describes opportunities where researchers are looking for partners. Leonard said ARL researchers also connect with others at technical conferences and via citations of their work in outside research papers. “That develops the push-pull at the ‘bench level,’” she explained, “so that they’re [ARL researchers] more open to get a call from someone with complementary research.”

Professor Izabela Szlufarska and postdoctoral researcher Hongliang Zhang at the University of Wisconsin-Madison demonstrate a new mechanism for bending metal that could help guide the creation of stronger, more durable materials for military vehicles. Researchers on the project were funded by the Army Research Office.

Open Campus fosters the placement of ARL researchers in outside organizations, including universities, and brings university researchers to the laboratory. At any given time, ARL typically has 10 to 15 percent of its workforce deployed to other research institutions, and welcomes a similar percentage of outside researchers to the laboratory. ARL’s multi-year investment in opening regional extensions of the laboratory has been a boon as well, according to Leonard. “We opened up ARL West in Los Angeles in April 2016, and followed that with ARL South in Austin, Texas, ARL Central in Chicago, and then in Boston in January 2018. We’re distributing our workforce so they also can be a conduit to our own ecosystem with other universities and talent.” The University of Maryland, right next door to ARL’s Adelphi, Maryland home base, has partnered with the laboratory and the National Institute of Standards and Technology via Open Campus on scientific research for batteries in extreme environments for defense and biomedical applications, Leonard said. The team has discovered a safe, water-in-salt electrolyte that could make lithium-ion batteries more thermally stable, less costly to produce, and more environmentally friendly. “They call it a WiSE [water-in-salt electrolyte] battery,” Leonard said. “It stabilizes the chemistry, so it allows for a high-capacity lithium-ion battery but using a water base. That was previously unachievable, and it came from a diverse partnership.” Ultimately, ARL is looking for partnerships with academia that provide complementary benefits for the Army and


research universities. Tangible benefits include new and funded programs and access to unique partner facilities, with the added benefit of being able to leverage partner research. “For ARL, we might be able to attract private capital and have access to senior government leaders that the partner [academia] may not,” Leonard explained. “But we may see in the partner that they have funding for students and postdocs and staff, and might have new equipment and supplies. We’re all looking for more and better students with research interests that address Army issues. From an academic partner, they’re looking for jobs after graduation for their students.” Leonard added that there’s also the possibility to join on publications and have access to a broader intellectual base, as well as other partner discoveries. ARL may also have access to new employees in difficult-to-hire areas. “Like cyber – everybody wants the top-notch cyber researchers. By working together when students are in their early career, they may get invested in what the Army’s concerns are and then become tied to that research challenge


Researchers at the University of Maryland have partnered with the Army Research Laboratory on scientific research for batteries in extreme environments. The collaboration via Open Campus has resulted in discoveries that could make both lithium-ion and zinc batteries safer and more efficient.

versus money. ARL is willing to talk to partners about their problems and provide pathways for student employment.” Collins agreed, adding that ARL’s Outreach Office “is looking to identify the best and brightest students to work with our lab and be developed by us in its environment while attending a diverse amount of universities.” ARL participates in the Army’s College Qualified Leaders program, which enables undergraduate students to come to do research at ARL with scientists. The Outreach Office also has programs that allow it to bring in graduate students and recent graduates through its cooperative agreement mechanism. There’s a Science Engineering Apprenticeship Program (SEAP) for high school students as well.

Army Research Office: Answering Questions and Building Research Capacity Dr. Barton Halpern is the new director of the Army Research Office, based in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.




Appointed to the post in June, he’s learned quickly how to sum up ARO’s dual mission. “We’re [ARO] trying to answer questions, they’re [ARL] trying to solve problems,” he said. ARO is an element of ARL, the Army’s extramural face to university systems, Halpern explained. The laboratory identifies areas where it needs support, then informs ARO about specific research areas where it’s having difficulty solving a particular problem. “We support them through university efforts,” Halpern added, “looking to see if we can find knowledge products that the universities can provide that will help in that area.” The office’s second mission is to keep the Army abreast of cutting-edge research and identify new areas of scientific discovery of relevance to the Army. “We’re looking into the future, to 2040 or beyond,” Halpern said. “We’re looking at the generation after the next generation. That’s the long-range purpose we’re focused on.” Staffed with roughly 100 government employees as well as contract support workers, ARO fulfills these dual roles through a combination of grants and outreach by program managers deployed to universities across the United States and abroad. The office executes ARL’s Single Investigator Program (SIP), which supports 900 academic principal investigators per year on average. The program allows the Army to leverage world-class academic expertise and rapidly exploit novel scientific opportunities, and brings together

ARL summer student interns Jacob Cohen, Carley Heiner, and Jared Richard conduct research in the lab’s Computational and Information Sciences Directorate, located at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. All three participated in ARL high school programs and returned as college students to further their research interests. Exposing students to the lab during their college careers expands the possible talent pool for future recruitment.

many minds to investigate multiple pathways in search of scientific knowledge. SIP grant opportunities are made known to academia through formal communications such as Broad Area Announcements and by ARO’s program managers, who have close relationships with researchers at the various universities to which they deploy. The office updates its research priorities annually, highlighting the research questions the Army is most interested in pursuing. “A continual dialogue happens with universities, researchers, and our staff,” Halpern said. “We also have a number of workshops with them on a national and international basis, and attend conferences.” ARO also connects with academia via University Affiliated Research Centers, which include innovative small business research organizations and historically black colleges and universities with a minority-serving institution focus. Randy Zachery, director of ARO’s Information Sciences Directorate, explained that the office’s 40 program managers (also deployed to London and Tokyo) not only have their fingers on the pulse of advanced research at the universities with which they work, they can also help guide research initiatives. “Our program managers are formulating new ideas and are involved in the administration of workshops that help define those problems for future direction,” Zachery said. “They also influence the broader research community to get others to invest in those problems.”


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One of the chief missions of ARO and its program managers is to “prevent technical surprise,” Zachery said. “We invest in things we don’t necessarily know the outcome of.” Information sciences is a good example, he said, noting that the Army was an early investor in the discipline. “Now there’s significant investment from OSD [the Office of the Secretary of Defense] in this and other military agencies. That was driven by Army investment 15 years back. We support the future technological superiority of soldiers in our Army here. Current modernization is not the primary role.” In addition to helping the Army stay at the forefront of scientific research, ARO’s program managers cultivate university researchers who may work with them in the future across the office’s extramural basic research areas, including the engineering, physical, and information sciences. Program managers may also help fund university purchases of equipment to pursue Army relevant research. Halpern cited an Educational Partnership Agreement with the University of North Carolina (UNC) system that allows ARL and ARO staff to be adjunct to university staff. They share information and resources and facilitate new partnerships between the Army and individual UNC institutions. “By streamlining the approval process for education partnership agreements at individual institutions, this agreement will open up collaboration opportunities and a pipeline of new ideas,” said ARL Director Dr. Philip Perconti. “We will be able to get innovative coursework

Dr. Barton H. Halpern, director of the Army Research Office, an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory (left), and Dr. William Roper, UNC System interim president (right) formed a new partnership between the Army and individual UNC System institutions to stimulate student interest in STEM education, particularly in areas of relevance to the Department of Defense’s mission. The Educational Partnership Agreement will facilitate sharing of information and resources between the Army and individual UNC institutions.

and research opportunities up and running more quickly and reach more students, attract better talent, and ultimately identify cutting-edge solutions to the military’s challenges.” Wider military technology challenges are also pertinent to ARO. Each of the armed services has a core research budget, Halpern noted. Single investigator grants (which can involve multiple researchers) are the means by which ARO applies its funding, but ARO may take on work for other military/government research laboratories – from the Office of Naval Research and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. “We have a core budget of $200 million per year,” Halpern said. “We also take in customer funds from other agencies where they leverage our investments. They’re asking us to help execute their programs for them. We have the capacity and subject-matter expertise here within ARO to assist them. We’re science versus engineering. We’re always looking for an applied example to an equation on the back end in research.” In regard to ARO’s collaboration with academia, Zachery noted that the office and its program managers are in a constant mode of exploration on behalf of the Army. “Our goal is to turn over every stone to look at all possibilities that may have relevance. We don’t know what those new discoveries are, but we have to constantly probe to make sure we find those when they come about. They may lead to new capabilities and requirements that the warfighters and even ARL haven’t thought about yet.”





Next Move



rotecting America’s defense communication and data networks from cyberattacks is a ceaseless game of chess. As renowned chess champion Emanuel Lasker said, “When you see a good move, look for a better one.” A contingent of the defense cybersecurity research community is doing just that. While a major portion of research and development remains focused on passive defenses for software and embedded systems, there is another thread that is increasingly focused on quantifying the activity and understanding the behavior of cyber adversaries to develop more effective countermeasures. This research is expected to yield ideas and cybersecurity approaches that will have to be absorbed by the government’s technology integrators and the military as fast as possible. When building networks and systems robust enough to allow warfighters to function effectively, the next move is always critical.

Together, they conceived the CAF as a tool to score the agility of cyber attackers and defenders. You can think of it as a measuring stick, a framework to help government and industry organizations visualize how well (or how poorly) they outmaneuver attacks. One valuable source of cyberattack data comes from “Snort Alerts.” Snort is an intrusion detection system designed to detect and alert users to irregular activities within a network. In widespread use, Snort provides real-time traffic analysis and packet logging, just the kind of data meant to be plugged into the CAF. The CAF team began by taking four terabytes of packet capture (PCAP) data from the National Cyber Defense Collegiate Competition, using it as a control to input into the framework, then iterating the data as new Snort updates and versions (community and subscription rules) were issued.

The Cyber Agility Framework: Data Science Meets Cybersecurity


After about 10 minutes chatting with Jose Mireles – a Department of Defense (DOD) cybersecurity expert who co-developed what’s called the “Cyber Agility Framework” (CAF) as part of his thesis at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) – I said, “This looks like what would happen if a data scientist rocked up to a cybersecurity problem.” “Exactly,” he said. In the simplest terms, the CAF is a set of mathematical equations that analyze any data set. In this case, the data is cyber attack alerts. Mireles is part of a broader collaborative including Dr. Shouhuai Xu, director of the Laboratory for Cybersecurity Dynamics and computer science professor at UTSA, UTSA student Eric Ficke, and researchers at Virginia Tech, the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Army Research Laboratory (ARL), and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

Opposite page: The CAF project, funded by the U.S. Army Research Office, is the first framework to score the agility of cyber attackers and defenders. Right: Jose Mireles co-developed the Cyber Agility Framework (CAF) as part of his master’s thesis at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). Mireles collaborated with UTSA colleagues as well as researchers from Virginia Tech, the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, and the Air Force Research Laboratory.


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Research at Hyper Speed

Research at Hyper Speed



InterviewS Maj. Gen. Cedric Wins




Research at Hyper Speed

Dr. Penrose (Parney) C. Albright



Maj. Gen. Cedric Wins










n the spring of 2018, the Department of Defense (DOD) began publicly sounding alarm bells about the nation’s need to rapidly accelerate the development of technologies that could underpin a range of hypersonic weapons – strike vehicles capable of flight at Mach 5 and above. Reacting to Russian President Vladamir Putin’s assertion in March



2018 that the Russian military had developed a hypersonic missile system it calls “Kinzhal” or Dagger, and Chinese hypersonic weapons developments including “Starry Sky-2” (a maneuverable hypersonic aircraft capable of carrying nuclear weapons), Michael Griffin, the Pentagon’s research and development head, said hypersonic weapons development is the Defense Department’s “highest technical priority” at a House Armed Services Committee hearing the following month. The speed of and range of hypersonic weapons and their ability to maneuver could make them nearly impossible to counter with existing air defense systems. Griffin added that in his opinion, Chinese development of a “pretty mature system for conventional strike” at multi-thousand-kilometer ranges is the “most significant advance by our adversaries.”






The U.S Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin contracts for two hypersonic weapons last year, including a contract for the Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon (HCSW) worth up to $928 million over its life cycle, and up to $480 million for the AGM-183 Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW). The boost-glide ARRW prototype flew on the wing of a B-52 in June of this year, with the first operational flight test of the weapon to occur by the end of 2020. The air-launched HCSW is scheduled to fly before 2021. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is working with the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Army on two hypersonic weapons programs. The air-launched Hypersonic AirBreathing Weapon Concept and the air-, land-, or sea-launched Tactical Boost Glide program are scheduled to deliver flying prototypes by the


Top: A MiG-31 carries the hypersonic Russian Kh-47M2 Kinzhal missile. Above: A B-52 carries an AGM-183 ARRW for its first captive carry flight over Edwards Air Force Base. Opposite page: The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command conducted the first flight of the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW) concept in November 2011. AHW is a boost-glide weapon that is launched to a high altitude, curves back to the Earth’s surface, and then glides or skips along the atmosphere, without power, for the remainder of its flight.


In response, the Defense Department has pushed forward coordinated research and development of several hypersonic weapons that fit into two categories. Boost-glide missiles use rocket propulsion to boost them to hypersonic speed up to the edge of outer space, at which point they glide at hypersonic speed to a target. They can be launched from mobile ground-based vehicles, surface or undersea vessels, or aircraft. Hypersonic air-breathing weapons would likely be launched from aircraft, employ a rocket booster to accelerate to Mach 5 or faster, and then use a hydrocarbon scramjet engine to sustain hypersonic cruise.


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Dr. Shouhuai Xu, director of the Laboratory for Cybersecurity Dynamics at the University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA) and one of the collaborators who developed the Cyber Agility Framework.

“Over time, that allowed us to see whether a new update caught [intrusions] that weren’t there before,” Mireles said. “We were able to determine which [Snort] versions were good for static attack analysis.” The researchers then applied the framework to several years of DEFCON Snort data sets. The CAF allowed them to see changes in Snort alerts/detection and the changes in cyberattacks in response. CAF researchers also used a “honeypot” – a computer system that lures real cyberattacks – to attract and analyze malicious traffic. As both attackers and defenders created new techniques, the researchers used the framework to better understand how a series of engagements transformed into a new adaptive pattern. For example, an attacker launches a new exploit. How long does it take a defender to respond to the new tactic? Once the defender rolls out a countermeasure, how long does it take the attacker to defeat or work around it? CAF researchers call this “evolution generation.”

The CAF’s capacity to illustrate evolution generation graphically shows promise for helping users change their cyber defenses quickly. As a potential tool for crafting future defense and response strategies, it’s of particular interest to the Army. “The Army is most interested in this technology as a predictive tool for cyber countermeasures,” Dr. Purush Iyer, division chief of Network Sciences at the Army Research Office (an element of ARL), affirmed. “During a mission, the Army depends on network platforms to provide soldiers with vital information that must be protected. It’s no longer enough to just have passive cybersecurity measures that look for malicious activity. An agile framework that keeps changing and thus keeps the adversary from making assumptions about a system is a key step in improving cybersecurity.” The predictive potential of the CAF isn’t yet fully understood, Mireles acknowledged. Exhaustive peer review has helped refine the framework and suggested it works best as a visualization tool, he said. “If you’re an enterprise and you’ve got people looking at [attacks], you could almost say it’s like alert correlation. It helps you put what you’re looking at in perspective. You could have 15,000 to 20,000 alerts. What does that mean? The framework tries to give meaning to what may be a whole bunch of noise and data.” But it does have predictive qualities. Xu uses a chess analogy to explain: “For example, you could have a situation like a Level 2 [chess player] playing against a Grand Master. If I know [my opponent], I can have a guiding principle to prioritize my defense ... I can proactively allocate my resources to better defend. I could even strategically use a deception mechanism to help figure out what the attacker is going to do in the future.” Large-scale deployment of the CAF is still in the future, Iyer confirmed. It will undergo further refinement at ARL and the CCDC C5ISR (command, control, computers, communications, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) Center before eventually rolling out to the Army’s combatant commands (COCOMs). It will also potentially find its way into the DOD’s chief cyber technology integrator.

DISA: Research Meets Integration The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) bills itself as a combat support agency of the DOD – the “trusted provider to connect and protect the warfighter in cyberspace.” Practically, that means DISA’s 8,000 military and civilian employees operate and assure command and control and information-sharing capabilities within a global enterprise information infrastructure. It’s a task that requires uninterrupted vigilance and operational acumen. It also means the agency is continually in search of and incorporating new technologies and processes.






In that sense, DISA is a technology integrator, said Stephen Wallace, systems innovation scientist for the agency’s Emerging Technologies Directorate. “My group’s responsibility is to understand the [cybersecurity] challenges that the agency and the Defense Department face and then look for emerging technologies – things that aren’t [mature] yet but may be within the next couple years – that we can bring in and apply.” DISA’s priorities affect the work of research organizations from the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) to AFRL. They’re largely driven by evolving cyber threats to military and government systems, raised by the users. “We get things directly from the COCOMs,” Wallace said, “and we have a great working relationship with the intel community – there’s a lot of information-sharing that occurs there. We [identify threats] via a variety of methods. The growth of sharing information in the last few years has become significantly better.” That sharing of threat information has led to four primary areas of cybersecurity technology development of greatest interest to DISA: network defense, cloud security, identity assurance, and artificial intelligence security. Other areas include embedded systems and supply chain security. Examples of DISA projects in these areas include browser isolation and continuous multifactor identity authentication. Given that approximately 30 to 70 percent of cyberattacks come through internet browsers, DISA was looking for a way to keep its computers from being conduits for DOD network intrusions. Industry suggested one way to approach browser insecurity: Simply disconnect the browser from the network. Working with private-sector firms, the Emerging Technologies Directorate is adopting a strategy wherein browsing takes place on a commercial cloud that is not connected to DOD servers. The end user still interacts with the internet, but merely sees an image of the browsing session on a remote server rather than receiving/sending data directly via his/ her own browser. Potentially malicious code or content doesn’t touch the DOD network; it is contained in the commercial data center, inspected there when a threat is detected, and removed. “Browser isolation is a great example of us taking a different approach to [vulnerability],” Wallace said, “stepping back and asking, ‘Can we approach the problem differently than we have traditionally?’” DISA is exploring a nontraditional approach to identity verification as well. The problem of identity assurance has grown exponentially with the use of mobile devices (phones, tablets, etc.) by military/government personnel. Assuring that only authorized individuals have access to DOD information networks via such devices and that identity cannot easily be contravened by merely handing the device to another individual or having it stolen is a major challenge

Opposite page: Stephen Wallace, a systems innovation scientist at the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), reviews a slide on his computer detailing a cloud based internet isolation (CBII) strategy. CBII transfers Internet browsing sessions from traditional desktop browsers to a secure, isolated cloud-platform. The service isolates potential malicious code and content within the cloud-platform, separating the threat from direct connections to DOD networks. Above: The Department of Defense has explored alternatives for authenticating and verifying user access to its information systems for several years. To improve the validation process, DISA will implement hardware attestation on its future devices and use continuous multifactor authentication (CMFA) – the concept of establishing and continuously validating a user’s digital identity – to achieve assured identity.

– a problem that the agency’s “shared identity” projects look to counter. “That came from us looking at the way we’ve traditionally done authentication and how authentication is done commercially, realizing that it’s typically point-in-time,” Wallace explained. “I authenticate to a system and my authentication lasts for a period of time – one hour, eight hours. Typically the user isn’t challenged again after that initial authentication. “We wanted to continuously authenticate the user in the background using device sensors or contextually based factors [location, Wi-Fi network connection, device peripheral connections] to generate a dynamic risk score. If the score stays above a certain level, the user is allowed to continue functioning. If it falls below a level, we can issue other challenges, lock them out of the device, etc.” Assured identity is broader than the project mentioned above and is a topic on which DISA works closely with its research partners. Other cybersecurity risks are brought to the agency’s attention by outsiders, occasionally centered on vulnerabilities that don’t make sufficient noise to overcome the current buzz. “For instance, we’re looking at where we need to go from a next-generation cryptography perspective,” Wallace said. Finding the technologies or processes to advance network cryptography is one thing. Finding a way to deploy them quickly is another. Like its counterparts in DOD, DISA is making use of alternate means of acquisition, including Other Transaction Authorities (OTAs), to get warfighters the secure infrastructure they need. Given the rate at which cyber challenges change, increasing the speed of integration is important and an ingredient in the trust that DOD networks still inspire, Wallace said. “The one thing I think we’ve all learned in this space is that you never speak in absolutes. But I’m very confident in our team’s ability to defend and protect the networks. The folks we have in DISA do a fantastic job ensuring that we’re able to deliver on our mission every day.”

DoDCAR: Framing Godzilla Drives Research One of the most vexing cybersecurity problems is where to allocate research resources. As we connect more things


and more information across DOD information networks, we keep increasing the attack surface and the number of potential threat vectors. Figuring out and articulating which threats need most attention can help direct research to address them. The Department of Defense Cybersecurity Analysis and Review (DODCAR) seeks to characterize and quantify cyber threats to help DOD and wider government target investments in cyber countermeasures and cybersecurity research. At a defensive cyber operations symposium in 2018, Patrick Arvidson, special assistant to the Office of the National Manager for National Security Systems, National Security Agency, described the overall cyber threat as “Godzilla” and DODCAR as a framework that defines the monster from multiple perspectives and measures its punch. In doing so, it facilitates decision-making “on where the application of resources would make the biggest difference in thwarting the action and intent of the adversaries, not necessarily every tactic [they] use,” Arvidson said. DOD and NSA describe DODCAR as a threat-based, analysis-driven, repeatable process to synchronize and balance cybersecurity investments, minimize redundancies, eliminate inefficiencies, and improve all-around mission performance.


Characterizing and quantifying cyber threats will help the Department of Defense and government make prudent decisions about how to best allocate funds for cybersecurity research and cyber countermeasures.

DODCAR is basically a multi-layer threat framework with cyber competency scoring and analysis. The top threat layer addresses the strategic objective of the adversary, which is to get in, stay in, and act. The operational layer assesses an adversary’s aim to be persistent and move laterally. A third layer focuses on the intent of the attacks, such as targeting applications, portable drive exploits, or information exfiltration. Perhaps most important, DODCAR creates a common way to talk about and assess threats across agencies and programs. It provides what Arvidson called a “heat map” and a capability list along with an assessment of how well the capabilities perform. The scoring creates an implementation roadmap for the DOD information networks. Cybersecurity managers can tell where there is investment against the threat, where there is no investment, and define the gaps. Having both threat prioritization and gap identification allows researchers to narrow in on the most fertile areas for cyber defense development. If, using DODCAR, you can figure out what Godzilla is doing instead of trying to guess, you can more effectively target research investment. You can apply existing cyber countermeasures more successfully and likely anticipate your adversary’s next move.







ne of the most tumultuous years in U.S. history was 1968 – war, assassinations, riots, the lunar landing program, a bitterly fought presidential election. It also was the year the U.S. Coast Guard, the smallest of the uniformed services, then part of the Department of Transportation (DOT), sought to close a perceived gap between existing Coast Guard capabilities and the technological needs of the service: The Coast Guard Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) program was created to identify fairly high-use technologies used by the four Department of Defense (DOD) services or part of the growing commercial technology world, and apply them to Coast Guard requirements. Unlike some of the DOD labs, it was not designed to do basic research. “We were established on 1 November 1968. Four years later, the Research and Development Center [RDC] was established with 160 people, the first time we had our own lab. In 1968, we had a fire safety research facility, which today is called the Joint Maritime Test Facility and linked to NRL [U.S. Naval Research Laboratory],” said Wendy Chaves, chief of RDT&E under the Coast Guard Acquisition Directorate. “In November 1981, they decided to close the center, and we lost about 34 personnel before they changed their minds in September 1982. We never fully shut down, but once the decision was reversed, we had to hire new people to replace those we lost in those 10 months.” In 2003, the Coast Guard was moved from DOT to the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS), where the RDC has formed a close relationship with DHS’ Science and Technology Directorate (S&T). Throughout its history, the center has focused on a number of broad areas, with those adjusted periodically depending on the needs of the service. Today, they are working on six such categories: 1. Unmanned systems 2. Arctic operations

The RDT&E program is exploring the potential operational use of small form factor satellite technology, known as CubeSats, to improve communications and increase maritime domain awareness. As part of this research, the program collaborated with the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate to design, assemble, launch, and deploy two CubeSats for on-orbit testing. For this project, the program deployed ground stations in Fairbanks, Alaska, (pictured) and New London, Connecticut, using a standard architecture and network.

3. Intelligence and cyber 4. Waterways management and environmental response 5. Sensor optimization, automation, and visualization 6. Operational performance improvements and modeling Each of those also is broken down into general categories of work. The office also works on some non-R&D efforts. “The program now includes three sets of people: R&D, innovation, and acquisition test and development. As a part of those three functions, there are technical and support elements, the latter including financial, human resources, office management, etc.,” Chaves said. “In 2016, the innovation program was reorganized to fall within the office of RDT&E; prior to that, it was in a separate


office that no longer exists. Since that happened, we’ve found a lot to leverage between innovation and R&D. “One thing that has evolved in recent years is [that] emerging technology has become more fast-paced. In our partnership with DHS S&T, we stood up the Science and Technology Innovation Center [STIC] to bring things to the Coast Guard faster. It is jointly funded with DHS S&T. We work on things that have rapid transition, such as doing a limited user evaluation on existing technologies, both military and commercial.” Those changes also have led to new methods to build the RDT&E portfolio for each budget year. “Each year, we ask the whole Coast Guard to send us any challenges they want RDT&E to help them with. We then bring in stakeholders from across the service to vote on a prioritization list. We take the highest ranking of those and send them to a flag panel, which helps us ensure our portfolio is linked to the needs of the service,” Chaves explained.


The RDT&E program conducted an in situ test burn of diesel fuel at the Joint Maritime Test Facility in Mobile, Alabama, in September 2018. In situ burning is an effective method of removing large-scale spilled oil from the ocean. The facility, which uses waves to simulate at-sea conditions, is a fundamental part of advancing the science of in situ burning, including equipment testing and smoke reduction.

“Once something is in the portfolio, we work on all of them – the process ensures those are priorities to the Coast Guard before we start working on them. We don’t have a lot of resources, so we have to make sure what we do will have the most impact for the Coast Guard.” The portfolio prioritization process also is needed to help RDT&E deal with the massive explosion in technological change and development in recent years, which could easily overwhelm the limited resources available to the program. Even so, the office continues to expand its boundaries, from unmanned systems to outer space. “Unmanned systems have enormous potential,” she said. “We’re already trying those in different Coast Guard operations, figuring out which systems to use on which missions. And [in November 2018 we launched] our first CubeSat. … There are areas of the globe where we don’t have much infrastructure or connectivity, such as the Arctic. But all different kinds of payloads are possible in the future.


“But the real area of focus in the future will be data analytics, artificial intelligence [AI], and machine learning. We want to continue to grow our expertise in those areas. You can have a lot of different systems gathering a lot of data, but the long pole in the tent is how to analyze that data so you can make informed decisions. We have a number of projects in those areas.” Change also is evolving the Coast Guard’s relationship with industry, the source of most of the fast-paced technological developments. “We want to leverage innovative processes and authorities to engage industry, so we can have more rapid technology insertion and assessment. We’ve been asked to set up what they are calling a Blue Technology Center of Expertise, looking at innovative ways to engage with industry and capitalize on the pace of technology development and more rapid technology evaluations,” Chaves explained. “For example, DHS and the other services are looking at what they call Other Transaction Authority [OTA], which allows the government to do R&D with nontraditional partners without going through the traditional contracting process. We don’t have Coast Guard OTA yet, so we go through DHS to exercise it, but we are hoping to have our own in the future.” Among the evolving technologies the center of expertise will be working on are: Miniaturization. “That is very important, especially with respect to sensors. The Coast Guard is trying to move to

During Arctic Technology Evaluation 2018, the AeroVironment Puma unmanned aircraft system (UAS) and a Coast Guard unmanned surface vessel were deployed together to test the feasibility of using multiple unmanned systems as a communications link over larger areas. Here, Patrick Ryan, a researcher in the Systems Branch at the Coast Guard Research and Development Center, readies the UAS before launch.

more mobility, and miniaturization plays a major role in that,” she said. Increasingly fast computing speeds. “That gets back to data analytics, AI, and machine learning. At those greater speeds, we can do more predictive decision-making, enabling us to do a lot of work with on-scene handhelds.” High-speed wireless networking. “That is something we look forward to. Our boarding teams don’t really have that at this time, so it’s the people on scene we want to get that to, along with the command centers.” Potential cyber and electronic warfare attacks, both on the Coast Guard and against Coast Guardprotected assets. “Cyber is definitely an area we are involved in, supporting our Cyber Command with different projects. It applies everywhere – surface and sea and air assets, C4 [command, control, communications, and computers], etc.” The RDC also has to keep a close eye on what the Coast Guard is likely to encounter from adversaries, such as terrorist groups and drug cartels, who are equally involved with acquiring and employing new technologies, from unmanned aerial vehicles [UAVs] to semi-submersibles – and are far better funded. “We are involved in counter-UAV technology, for example, although it’s mostly the go-fast boats and small submarines they are using quite a bit today. Depending on what happens with the land border, there is a potential they could increase operations from a maritime perspective,” she acknowledged.



The U.S. Coast Guard has 11 congressionally mandated missions, ranging from maritime safety and aids to navigation to ice breaking and law enforcement. All look to the RDC to improve their operations. “We like to support all the Coast Guard’s missions, but our portfolio evolves based on the strategic priorities of the service as a whole. Our process ensures we put the most effort where it is needed for that particular year. Right now, that includes Arctic-related projects, such as communications, operations, and testing technologies up there,” Chaves said. “DHS has an Office of University Programs and has basically set up and funded centers of expertise to do work on behalf of DHS components. We work with a number of those, including the Arctic Domain Awareness Center [ADAC], where we are involved in development of the work plans. Since ADAC was established, we’ve increased our Arctic-related efforts. We also work with the military labs


An unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) being tested. Unmanned systems are one area of research for the Coast Guard RDT&E program.

and other government agencies on a lot of our projects. As a result, the R&D program is greater than what the R&D Center alone is doing.” The Coast Guard also often piggybacks on what the Navy is doing, expanding the RDT&E effect on the service without significant new spending from its core annual funding. “We’ve been fairly flatlined with our budget and definitely are not growing. As costs increase, the discretionary funding we have to spend on projects is decreasing. The Coast Guard has to stay within a top line on funding requests and has to prioritize how those funds are dispersed,” Chaves said. “Our funding has been stable, but for the future, with the pace of technology, I think there should be a greater emphasis on science and technology because of the potential it has to make us more efficient and effective. “We do a lot of good things for the Coast Guard, but there is a potential for a greater impact.”

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