US Army Strives for ‘Persistent Modernization’ to Reach Interoperability

Since he began at Army Futures Command in 2020, Lt. Gen Thomas Todd has focused on aligning the Department of Defense’s technology arsenal with its fast-moving targets and battle demands. As deputy commanding general for acquisition and systems management, Todd is in charge of envisioning and leading research on the next generation of warfighter tools.

Upon entering the position, Todd emphasized the importance of software in his organization’s modernization efforts. Initiatives such as the AFC Software Factory, established in 2021, were launched in order to work with the private sector to “iterate in real time.” Goals like these are in keeping with Todd’s overarching strategy of “persistent modernization.”

Lt. Gen. Thomas Todd

If you want to hear more about Lt. Gen. Todd’s objectives for shifting the way technology is acquired, developed and deployed in the DOD, join us for the Potomac Officers Club’s Securing Tomorrow’s Future: The Urgency of Persistent Modernization Forum. The event will take place on Feb. 23 at 2941 Restaurant and Todd will deliver the keynote address. Register here.

“We have a fairly complex battlefield calculus and simply because we’re on the move. We’re never permanent; we’re not in a fixed place,” Todd said, noting as well that the austerity of environments makes autonomy and artificial intelligence appealing tactics.

Todd believes now that the transition from analog systems has largely been successfully achieved throughout the service branches, it is time to concentrate on shifting the rhythm of the way the military updates its capabilities. Rather than an “episodic approach,” which entails the lurching, inconsistent incorporation of new ideas and could lead to a generation of soldiers at a plateau, Todd says an unyielding adoption of new ideas is key.

“We love to get after what’s next — constantly,” the AFC exec explained.

In the spirit of quick adoption, two AI systems that stood out during Project Convergence in 2021 will likely be officialized into programs of record, according to Todd via DefenseScoop. (Project Convergence is the Army’s Joint All Domain Command and Control offshoot.) The pair of AI algorithms will be utilized in the coming fiscal year and are “increment 1 sensor-to-shooter algorithms that will help the Army identify, target and engage enemy platforms.”

“[We’re] extremely interested in AI autonomy, some of these types of technologies that help us in decision-making so that we can make decisions quicker than our adversaries — the network, in particular, connectivity, transport-layer processing, data storage,” Todd remarked.

AFC is also currently doing work with robotics, synthetic biology, materials by design and additive manufacturing to answer the needs of tomorrow, the next decade and beyond. They are striving to ready these technologies for multi-domain interoperability.

To hear more about the Army’s forward-looking innovation activities, attend the Potomac Officers Club’s Feb. 23 Securing Tomorrow’s Future: The Urgency of Persistent Modernization Forum. Register here.

In addition to Lt. Gen. Todd’s remarks, the 7.a.m. – 10 a.m. event will feature a panel discussion that brings together Army engineer Matthew Sipe, Department of the Army Program Executive Officer BG Frank Lozano, Army project manager Col. Christopher Hill and the Australian Embassy’s Rosemary Gauci.

Video of the Day

GovCon Wire Logo

Sign Up Now! GovCon Wire provides you with Daily Updates and News Briefings about Events

Related Articles