Secretary of Defense Ash Carter talks about innovation and the rapid acquisition of technology to support DoD, at the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental in Boston, July 27, 2016.
The U.S. government has helped fuel innovation in a range of industries and technologies for generations. Yet government leaders today increasingly talk about innovation in a different construct: Rather than moonshot technological achievements - massively ambitious, expensive and long term - they’re looking for better or more efficient ways to do manage government resources.
The Pentagon's increasingly eclectic Defense Innovation Advisory Board has reached full strength, with celebrity astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and Amazon.com founder Jeffrey P. Bezos among the latest named to a group that includes some of the private sector’s most successful leaders. Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter established the board in March with Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt as its head.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter today (7/26) rolled out the department's second innovation hub, a new office in Boston that joins the technology outpost that he opened last year in Silicon Valley, California. The secretary has championed Defense Innovation Unit Experimental, or DIUx, as one of the ways the Pentagon is investing in innovation and a model for outreach to the United States’ innovative technology communities.
The suit against the U.S. Government, filed by Bitmanagement Software, alleges that the Navy copied and installed the company’s virtual reality software on hundreds of thousands of computers for which it does not have a license. In 2011 and 2012 Bitmanagement agreed to license its BS Contact Geo software to the Navy on “a limited and experimental” basis, according to court documents. The Navy was authorized to install the software on just 38 computers for testing, trial runs and integration with other Navy systems, the documents say.
The Russian military has been in the process of designing a next-generation stealth bomber for several years, which is no surprise. Governments with large militaries are always developing a few new weapons of war. However, recent announcements about the PAK-DA strategic bomber’s capabilities will probably raise some eyebrows.
The United States military is at a crisis point in terms of readiness against high-end threats such as Russia or China -- at least that’s the view of the House and Senate Armed Services Committee majority staffs. While part of the cause stems from the counter-insurgency wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, much of the blame can be attributed to a moribund acquisition system that chokes the life out of innovation.
The US Navy is building its new Virginia-class attack submarine the USS South Dakota (SSN-790), claiming that the warship will boast cutting-edge acoustic superiority features that will make it second to none. "The Emerging Era in Undersea Warfare" report released by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments back in January 2015 argued that the technological gap between the US and its competitors is narrowing.
Carter told the Defense One Tech Summit at the Newseum June 10th that he is looking at the intersection between technology and defense as the logical place for this emphasis as he continues to put in place programs and organizations to meet the needs of warfighters faster and more efficiently in an increasingly competitive world.
It is said that leaders aren't born, they're made -- and Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski embodies the notion. Motivated early on by her strong and determined mother, and then tested in her pursuit to prevail at a male-dominated career in a male-dominated world, she inspires today’s young women seeking to become the next generation of scientists, technology experts, engineers and mathematicians.