Mr Jyuji Hewitt, Deputy Director, to the 14,000 employee US Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command, shared his insights (presentation at bottom of page) into the Army’s direction and how critical it will be, for the yet to be developed technology, to support fewer yet more powerful, resourceful future warfighters.
Some take aways, by the NMTC team, were:
- Future force requirement is now the direction, as the urgency to quickly respond to a war’s needs has diminished (Future has always been the direction for an R&D effort, anyway).
- Zero maintenance and repair, as our forces become focused more as the ‘tip of spear’, with less support, and the logistics supply chain becomes longer.
- More integration of forces across the DoD, meaning technology will be looked to for answers to accomplish this.
- Planning is always about the “Probable, Possible and Unthinkable, and technology, is again, looked to for the defense of our nation.
- For the Navy & Airforce, the platforms are ships and planes; for the Army it will always be the soldier. This will drive investment making the soldier smarter, and a better decision maker with the ability to master more complex technology and direct a wideing array of distant resources
- Army Total obligation authority (TOA) declines 22.4%, whereas Army Research, Development & Acquisitions (RDA) declined 38.7% – FY 12 to FY 15. Again, more emphasis on technology to do more.
- Future R&D is looking at material sciences – materials to actually become better sensors, or, if they are explosives, creating more energy per unit volume.
- Intelligent, autonomous transport auto systems (read, fewer soldiers and fewer in harm’s way delivering supplies, patrolling, etc). Here, the Army is ahead of Google’s driverless car research. The Army has tested, successfully, a convoy of 7 driverless trucks.
- Cybernetics – improved decision-making at the soldier level, to allow a squad to handle what a company used to handle. One possibility; a 10 to 1 reduction in force with the same lethality, again, putting fewer soldiers in harm’s way with less demand on the supplu chain.
- Quantum physics used for information encryption; for example, using the spin of electrons, or what Einstein as ‘spooky action at a distance’, as a form of cyber security
In a way, NMTC members, in particular, are well-positioned . They can discuss how best to use new technologies to meet national security needs and how best to create ways to integrate new technologies into existing infrastructure.
Other ways are to help the Army better use defense industry critical thinking and where possible, suggest/modify off-the-shelf products and other techniques that offer increased buying power of the defense dollar.
Mr Hewitt also identified the strong community relationship with APG for supporting STEM programs, many of which are NMTC initiated and funded.
Mr Hewitt’s presentation is available for downloading: NMTC-Mr.-Hewitt-RDECOM-Final.pdf