Va. – Army Staff Sgt. Joshua Burnett envisioned his career after retiring from
the U.S. Army last year – start up a company to rapidly deploy life-saving
ideas, solutions and technologies to warfighters.
small business owners and entrepreneurs, however, he encountered a daunting
Department of Defense acquisition process that could delay or prevent his
vision from becoming reality.
Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Commander Rear Adm. Lorin Selby listened to
Burnett, who was among DoD technologists, business executives, and educators
who came to share their ideas, technology solutions, and concerns at NSWC
Dahlgren Division’s second annual Unmanned Systems Integration Workshop and
Technical Exchange Meeting, Aug. 19.
“What is the
best way to get the technologies that are ready to go into the hands of the
warfighter,” Burnett asked the admiral. “We have game changing technology now
and I’ll do it at cost to get the technology into the hands of the warfighter.
I’ve been in their shoes and know what they’re going through. We have toolsets
that can help them win.”
keynote speech, Selby inspired 160 scientists, engineers and technologists in
DoD, industry, and academia to overcome the challenges they face – including certification,
accreditation and acquisition processes – to obtain funding for new
technologies that can quickly become a program of record and deployed to the
“The idea of
coming up with ideas and then transferring those ideas is a huge part of the
future, and as a nation, I think we can do it faster and better than anyone
else,” said Selby. “We need to establish more collaborative partnerships. We
will never solve these problems in stovepipes, so we’ve got to be more
collaborative and more team oriented. Collaboration
is what it’s all about.”
technical exchange, which included panel discussions, harnessed the power of
intensive collaboration among the joint services, industry and academia.
is very open and sharing,” said Selby. “We’re very willing in our society to
put ideas out there and that’s very powerful. Some are going to shoot holes in them
while others will say, ‘that’s a good idea, I will use it’. That’s powerful.”
In all, 25
unmanned systems experts from the public and private sector presented 20 briefs
and two panel discussions. Robotics teams from two local high schools also
demonstrated their science, technology, engineering and mathematics projects.
of unmanned systems continues to be a challenge for the Navy, and judging by
the cross-organizational participation at this workshop, it seems to be a
challenge for everyone else as well," said Ajoy 'AJ' Muralidhar, NSWCDD
Human Systems Integration engineer and the event's lead organizer. "New
technology and capabilities are introduced every day and we constantly have to
evolve and adapt our approaches in order to ensure that we are able to provide
the best options for the warfighting community."
titles – speaking volumes about new approaches and options – included:
Autonomous Weapons and Proportionality; Perception for Unmanned Systems;
Multinational Capability Development Campaign; Situation Awareness and Decision
Support within Unmanned Systems; Simulation Methods for Unmanned Surface
Vehicles for Software Development and Sensor Simulation; Marine Corps Ground
Unmanned Support Surrogate; and Mechanisms for Lifelong Learning in Autonomous
Systems: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
workshop was a unique collaboration for unmanned and autonomous technology
development,” said Harry Dreany, technical direction agent for the U.S. Marine
Corps Maneuver Science and Technology Program, sponsored by the Office of Naval
Research. “Nowhere else in the Navy are these types of discussions being held
with as much depth and breadth across the DoD, industry and academia. The large
number of Ph.D.s and experts in attendance made a considerable contribution to
technical interchange that occurred with the presenters and panel members
during and after the presentations. This allowed researchers like myself to see
other possible approaches to technical problems that we might not have thought
of within our own organizations."
joined four unmanned systems experts from the Navy and the Army to discuss, “Weaponization
of Tactical Unmanned Surface and Ground Platforms - an Integration Perspective”.
presenter, the NSWCDD scientist briefed his research findings on, "Safety
Engineering of Computational Cognitive Architecture within Unmanned
objective of his research is to build a dynamic changing model to evaluate a
cognitive architecture’s ability to ensure safe performance of an autonomous
safety-critical system. Results will provide cognitive science researchers with
a comparison of safety engineering among multiple cognitive research paradigms.
workshop was a great opportunity for me to share and discuss my research with
experts in the field of autonomy and unmanned technology,” said Dreany. “Cognitive
development within artificial intelligence is a difficult and complex problem.
Safety engineering is a large part of my research and I had directional
changing discussions with other engineers on the development of safety
measurements, mechanisms and methodologies for cognitive development. These conversations would not have happened
without this workshop."
systems integration workshop – one of several ongoing NSWCDD initiatives to
foster collaboration and cooperation between government, industry and academia
– was sponsored by NSWCDD Chief Technology Office and the Office of the Under
Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (Tactical
Warfare Systems, Land Warfare and Munitions, Joint Ground Robotics Enterprise).
a true workforce development opportunity," said Muralidhar. "The
volunteers, session chairs and coordinators, as well as the organizing
committee were all junior engineers who impacted the event with fresh ideas and
perspectives on unmanned systems integration".
Naval Sea Systems Command warfare center division, is a premier research and
development center that serves as a specialty site for weapon system
integration. The command's unique ability to rapidly introduce new technology
into complex warfighting systems is based on its longstanding competencies in
science and technology, research and development, and test and evaluation.