Basic research and science performed in the Defense Department
laboratory enterprise sustains the U.S. military technological
advantage and maintains long-term superiority in all warfighting
domains, defense officials said here today.
The Lab Day event
showcased more than 80 exhibits of technical innovations developed
by scientists and engineers who work in the defense laboratory
enterprise's nationwide network of 63 defense labs, warfare centers
and engineering centers.
Mary J. Miller, acting assistant
secretary of defense for research and engineering, hosted the second
biennial Defense Department Lab Day in the Pentagon Center
Courtyard. Joining her on stage were James MacStravic, performing
the duties of the undersecretary of defense for acquisition,
technology and logistics, and Dale A. Ormond, principal director for
research in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for
Research and Engineering.
"The defense laboratory
enterprise helps meet today's urgent operational needs while
ensuring decisive overmatch for the force of the future," Miller
said. "It provides foundational capabilities for the joint
warfighter across the entire spectrum of operations."
Researchers use high-speed motion sensor OptiTrack cameras mounted
around the test area to monitor the mechatronic arm exoskeleton's
effect on simulated shooting. (U.S. Army photo by Doug LaFon)
Lab-enabled capabilities include chemical biological defense;
combat fielding; space robotics; intelligence, surveillance and
reconnaissance capabilities; and ground and air active and passive
protection systems, among many others, she said.
Navy, Air Force and the joint and medical communities were
represented today, and Miller said that such widespread
representation demonstrates the complexity and diversity of the DoD
"As you walk the line, you will see some of the same technologies
being worked in each service -- things like autonomy and directed
energy, for example. These technologies show great promise for
incredible improvements to future military capability," Miller
The services have leveraged the knowledge gained in
their sister services and are applying that knowledge to evaluate
these technologies as they apply to specific service missions, she
To highlight a few of the innovations displayed today, Miller
described technology from each service.
The Army Research Lab
designed a soldier weapon exoskeleton to increase the lethality of
the future dismounted soldier. These wearable mobile machines
increase a soldier's strength and endurance, she said, and the
three-armed exoskeleton displayed today was designed to reduce arm
fatigue and improve marksmanship by steadying a soldier's weapon.
"This technology will potentially increase soldiers' lethality
by allowing them to easily and steadily wield more powerful weapons
by redistributing the weight and mitigating the recoil of the
weapon," Miller said.
From the Combatant Craft Division at
the Naval Surface Warfare Center comes the Stiletto, Miller said, an
experimental all-carbon fiber craft originally built to explore the
scalability of non-mechanical dynamic lift, composite-carbon-fiber
construction and high-speed performance for military operations.
"This ship has since become a test platform that allows industry,
government and academic organizations a realistic environment within
which they can demonstrate emerging capabilities and technologies as
the Navy pursues more unmanned surface and underwater capabilities,"
The U.S. Navy's high-speed experimental boat Stiletto pulls in to
refuel before heading back out for evening observations. (U.S. Navy
The Air Force Research Laboratory's low-cost attritable aircraft
technology aims to develop a family of low-cost expendable unmanned
air vehicles. The program now explores technologies for a new
category of UAV capable of delivering long-range responsive
capability in near-peer environments that limit or prohibit forward
basing, she said.
"Because these unmanned aircraft can fly
into highly contested areas ahead of a manned craft, this new UAV
will significantly improve engagement in contested areas," Miller
said, "and the target price is under $3 million."
Changing the Game
remarks, MacStravic said the basic research and science performed in
defense laboratories sustains the department's technological
advantage in maintaining long-term technological superiority in all
domains: land, sea, air, space and cyberspace.
and civilian scientists and engineers working in the DoD labs and
centers explore new scientific frontiers, advance military
capabilities and technologies and help to shape the battlefield. …
And our engineering centers help translate research into militarily
useful technologies and provide reachback capabilities and subject
matter expertise to solve problems and challenges within the
The technologies being worked on in the
defense labs offer leap-ahead capabilities and the potential for
what are considered game changing advancements across all domains of
warfare, he said. "We are changing games, we're changing games on
our terms," he added.
"Each of the products you will see is a
critical part of maintaining our technological superiority, yet
they're only a small part of the efforts taking place across the DoD
labs," MacStravic said.
The work being done in DoD labs and
centers not only contributes to the lethality of the warfighters,
but also helps them survive, he added.
work being done in our medical facilities has enabled the Department
of Defense to increase the survival rate of wounded warfighters in
Iraq and Afghanistan," MacStravic said.
Warfighting and Peacekeeping
Describing his tour of the service labs' displays, MacStravic
mentioned Army autonomy and artificial intelligence projects
involving autonomous systems and manned and unmanned combat teaming.
"For the Army, at the Army Research Laboratory, our scientists
and engineers are performing the underpinning science that will take
robots from tools to teammates," he said.
mentioned the Naval Medical Research Center's Biological Defense
Research Directorate Mobile Laboratory and the Air Force
Self-Protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator, called SHiELD.
"Our labs and centers are engaged not only in militarily related
innovation, but also in science and technology that's helped support
peacekeeping operations, mitigate global disasters and even improve
the effectiveness of NFL helmets," he said.
warfighters against traumatic brain injury to fighting viruses such
as Ebola and Zika, the incredible skills and work of DoD and
civilian scientists and engineers make them an extraordinary
resource to all acquisition professionals, MacStravic said.
Make no mistake, he added, "our DoD lab enterprise is world class
and the core technical engine of the Department of Defense is its
science and technology workforce."
By Cheryl Pellerin
Army Research Lab |
Naval Surface Warfare Center |
Naval Medical Research Center |
Air Force Research Laboratory
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