It’s Time to Take a Technology Scout Tour

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June 27, 2016 | Originally published by Date Line: June 27 on

Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter is pushing hard for increased collaboration between private industry and the military as part of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Third Offset Strategy, which focuses heavily on technological superiority.

In August 2015, Carter opened the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental in Silicon Valley, which is meant to serve as a conduit for technology matching and information flow between the two communities, and pledged to establish a Defense Digital Service that would bring top talent from private firms into the DoD for a temporary stint to increase efficiency and agility. In February 2016, Carter established the Innovation Advisory Board, headed by 12 industry executives, to advise department leaders on organizational and technical challenges.

Carmela Keeney, executive director of Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SSC) Pacific, is taking the call for collaboration a step further. In addition to bringing smart people into the DoD to solve these problems, why not also send the laboratory’s smart people out to industry to gain insight into rapidly evolving technology areas, to identify defense uses for that technological capability and pinpoint research gaps on which neither DoD nor industry are concentrating?