Since the onset of COVID-19, the government and industry have expedited the development process of new technologies and offerings to remain competitive in the evolving landscape. Innovation units across the nation have focused on artificial intelligence, autonomy and robotics, to support data and networks.
During Potomac Officers Club’s 7th Annual Defense Research and Development (R&D) Summit, notable federal and industry leaders will meet to discuss the latest priorities across the R&D landscape.
Featuring U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Lorin Selby, chief of naval research, as keynote speaker, the summit will also address advancements and challenges within the development and delivery of innovative solutions.
Selby, former chief engineer and deputy commander for ship design, integration and naval engineering at the Naval Sea Systems Command, succeeded RADM David Hahn as chief of the Office of Naval Research in June 2020. He also assumed the role of director for innovation, technology, requirements, test and evaluation.
In his role, Selby manages the Department of the Navy's $2 billion budget for naval science and technology efforts. Since assuming his current position, Selby has driven research and innovation across the U.S. Navy.
Selby recently discussed how the U.S. Navy will integrate artificial intelligence (AI) into their fleets to enhance effectiveness.
“The one thing that I think is really going to be transformative here is … artificial intelligence,” said Selby. “I really, truly believe that if we can master this, if we can bring this to all of our capabilities whether it’s your iPhone, or your combat system on your ship, this is going to take us to the next level.”
The service branch will also work to automate repetitive processes to allow operators time to complete more complex tasks. To develop these technologies, the Navy is holding the AVENGER Naval AI Grand Challenge between the service, naval laboratories and the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center. The effort is intended to develop new technologies and capabilities within 18 months.
The U.S. Navy has also partnered with the Royal Navy to accelerate the adoption of novel ideas and technologies, under the newly established London Tech Bridge.
“The Tech Bridge name denotes technology, but there’s a huge human element to this,” said James Geurts, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition and 2020 Wash100 Award recipient. “One of the competitive advantages of a democratic society is its ability to bring people together in a collaborative, not coercive fashion. In fact, the more diverse ideas, the better.”
The Naval Agility Office (NavalX) has successfully leveraged Tech Bridges as innovation centers, where military, industry and academia collaborate to produce solutions that benefit the general public and defense. Initial focus areas will be Unmanned and Autonomy, Artificial Intelligence, Biotechnology, Space and Directed Energy and Lasers.
“The Tech Bridge concept is flourishing and showing serious promise,” said Selby. “These are places where great minds can come together in a unique atmosphere, share ideas and technologies, and say ‘what if.’”
Join Potomac Officers Club to learn about research and development within the defense sector as competition rises across emerging technologies. As new capabilities continue to influence every aspect of the GovCon and industry, top executives must stay ahead of the curve to defeat adversaries.