BRAD CHAMBERS, INDIANA SECRETARY OF COMMERCE & CEO OF THE INDIANA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION (IEDC)
I begin each year with a sense of anticipation and a focus on the challenges, opportunities and goals for what may lie ahead for myself, my family, and for the business I founded decades ago. The best laid plans aside, life can come at you fast, and sometimes you just have to hang on.
In April, Governor Holcomb called. When the Governor calls, you answer. He made it clear at the outset that he was looking for someone to lead our State’s economy as its Secretary of Commerce.
Suffice to say, this wasn’t anything that I had anticipated, it wasn’t in my plan, and my initial reaction was, “No, I can’t do that, the timing just isn’t right.” I took time to consider the offer, and it became clear that a refusal to serve would be contradictory to my values. I believe in civic duty. I believe in servant leadership. I believe in giving back and paying it forward. This was an opportunity to live out those values, and so I said, “Yes.”
The first step was to learn as much as possible about the opportunities and challenges that faced our state and to formulate a strategy. That process was much like my yearly goal planning -- all organizations must continually ask themselves, “What can we do better? How high can we shoot? Who are our competitors?” While Indiana is winning in a number of ways, both small and large, winners never get complacent—they analyze their performance and strategize on how to improve. While remaining firmly committed to industries that have made Indiana a beacon of economic growth, there are additions to that list that will help empower the Hoosier economy of the 21st Century – our Economy of the Future. And within that, the defense sector is a particularly exciting opportunity for growth.
In the most recent report from the Department of Defense, Indiana ranked 36th for defense spending as a share of state GDP and 30th in total defense spending, yet we have some of the largest defense assets in the U.S. here in Indiana. We are home to NSWC Crane, the third largest Naval installation in the world, spread over 64,000 acres and employing 38,000 people. We are home to several prime contractors and hundreds of small and medium-sized companies producing cutting-edge technologies essential to our warfighters. Indiana is a proud state. We are proud of our veterans. We are proud of the numerous ways we support national defense and we are in a perfect position to both grow what already exists and to capitalize on regional capabilities to win in new areas of mission needs such as artificial intelligence, hypersonic, and cyber. Indiana must leverage these sectors to meet our goal of tripling defense spending in our state by 2025. It is a daunting task, but it can be met if we work hard and if we have a collective plan.
To focus the efforts of our team, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (“IEDC”), and our many economic development partners, we developed a strategy and mission we call our “Five E’s.” They are the Built Environment, Entrepreneurship, Economy of the Future, Energy Transition, and External Engagement. This mission is inextricably linked to our national security.
The Built Environment focuses on our communities and current assets, still we must continue to build to grow and attract industry and talent. Entrepreneurship and the capital to support that effort are critical to the startup community and its supporting ecosystem. The Economy of the Future is not at all an indictment of our proud manufacturing history; rather, it is an acknowledgment that we must work diligently to stay ahead of the technology curve to be prepared for the economy of 2031 so that Indiana remains at the forefront of the economic war. As the world transitions away from traditional sources of energy, we must build a comprehensive plan for the Energy Transition detailing how Indiana can be a leader in battery innovation, solar, wind, etc. None of those four E’s matters much without the fifth - external engagement. It is incumbent upon us to work with each of you, inform and engage you, and ask for your partnership to create the reality we envision.
Indiana is prospering: but we cannot rest on our laurels. We must continue to march onward into an ever-changing, dynamic 21st Century. If we stay focused, if we execute our 5E mission, if we work together, I’m convinced that we will lead nationally and our State’s economy will thrive well into the next century and beyond.
So, when your phones ring, be ready. I’ll be calling for you to help grow our State, and I hope, like me, you’ll answer the call.
Brad Chambers, Indiana Secretary of Commerce and CEO of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation
Bradley B. Chambers is the Secretary of Commerce for the state of Indiana and CEO of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), serving as a member of Governor Eric Holcomb’s cabinet and leading the state’s economic development efforts since his appointment in summer 2021.
For more than 37 years, Chambers has been a leader in the investment, development and management of high-quality multifamily and mixed-use properties across the nation. As founder, president and CEO of Indianapolis-based Buckingham Companies, Chambers has led the strategic direction of the company’s integrated divisions, including development, construction, property management and institutional asset management since he started the company as a student at Indiana University in 1984. With a focus on midwestern values, creativity and community involvement, Buckingham has grown from its first rental property purchase to the development and acquisition of its investments exceeding $3 billion.
In addition to his role at Buckingham Companies, Chambers also serves as a founder and board member of the Buckingham Foundation Inc., a philanthropic organization focused on making a positive impact on communities within the mission areas of affordable housing, community and economic development, arts and culture, and childhood hunger. To date, the foundation has awarded more than $2.5 million in grants and sponsorships to 600 nonprofits.
Chambers received his bachelor’s degree in finance from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. He and his wife, Carol, are parents to their son, Nick.
WESTGATE@CRANE Technology Park, (Odon) Indiana - The Crane Regional Defense Group (CRDG), hosted the inaugural Connect to Crane networking event October 12 at WestGate Academy to provide Hoosier small business owners the opportunity to connect with government and industry leaders supporting NSWC Crane.
The event was the first of its kind for Crane, creating a space for small businesses that are developing cutting-edge innovations to network with defense strategists, contracting officials, policymakers, and local defense and business leaders.
“We often hear requests from small businesses on how they can gain access and have face time with Crane engineers and large industry partners, especially given the challenges the pandemic has presented,” said Matt Burkett, Deputy Director of Small Business Programs at NSWC Crane. “This event provided an efficient avenue to make new connections and develop business relationships that, hopefully, turn into mutually beneficial partnerships.”
These new partnerships will assist Crane in its mission to solve some of the Military’s most difficult technical problems. Intimate, one-on-one sessions offered small business attendees the opportunity to network and learn best practices, showcase their products and services, and increase their understanding of the federal procurement process.
“It’s the first event where it felt possible for small businesses such as ours to break through the barriers we face when attempting to do business inside the gates,” said Peter Ariens, CEO of NuMA Group. “Crane and their larger industry partners are looking for assistance, and this was a unique opportunity to share how we can meet their needs.”
In addition to Crane representatives and engineers, WestGate Technology Park tenants and defense contractors Amentum, CACI International, General Dynamics IT, Indiana Innovation Institute, ManTech International, National Security Technology Accelerator and Science Application International Corporation were all in attendance as “Team Crane” mission partners to offer advice and share opportunities for collaboration.
“The format of the event allowed time to discover areas of mutual interest and benefit, kickstarting the next step of the business relationship,” said Chris Peterson, Director at ManTech. “It has been extremely beneficial to speak with companies we were familiar with but haven’t gotten the chance to fully connect. We look forward to participating in the future.”
The Crane Regional Defense Group plans to host additional Connect to Crane events as a pillar of the organization’s focus on leveraging Crane’s potential to bring economic growth to Southern Indiana. Small businesses and local industries are vital to mission success and CRDG has committed to providing opportunities for collaboration and partnership.
The mission of Crane Regional Defense Group is to preserve the strategic value of Crane by supporting local outreach and legislative initiatives that protect military installations in the region and state, and leverage the installation’s potential to bring economic growth to Southern Indiana.
DAVE TEMELES, PRESIDENT OF THIRD COAST FEDERAL, INC. AND A PARTNER WITH SOUTHBANK LEGAL
Five years ago, my wife and I moved with our 9 children to South Bend, Indiana. After spending nearly all of my trips around the sun in the DC area, I was happy to trade the frenetic pace of life inside the beltway for a family-friendly, community-focused life in Indiana. On the work front, I was fortunate to join SouthBank Legal, an entrepreneurial and altruistic law firm that was excited to help Indiana communities and businesses leverage Federal R&D and contracting awards to drive innovation and job and wage growth. We began meeting with businesses in the South Bend – Elkhart Region (SBE Region) about federal opportunities as soon as I arrived and quickly realized that convincing Midwestern small businesses to join the Federal marketplace was going to be a monumental lift.
It is no secret that doing business with the Department of Defense (DoD) is difficult. Over the past decade, the U.S. industrial supply base has shed 40% of its small business participants. Indiana has been no exception, shrinking from 1,100 defense contractors in FY 2010 to approximately 400 in FY 2020. As highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, a robust, redundant and agile industrial supply base is critical to national health and security. Congress and DoD are acutely aware of the problem but seemingly incapable of fixing it. DoD is saddled with budgeting, appropriations, procurement and contracting rules and procedures that make the process of becoming a defense contractor seem like alchemy to the uninitiated. DoD even has its own language comprised of an alphabet soup of acronyms and a taxonomy of terms that are foreign to the commercial sector. In order for DoD and Indiana to grow the industrial supply base, we need to find a way to bridge the widening gap between DoD and industry.
Many of the small businesses we met were understandably reluctant to pursue Federal contract work. They were inundated with commercial customers and they had neither the time nor the appetite to figure out how to navigate a completely foreign marketplace. We noticed, however, that many of these businesses were incredibly innovative and that they were receptive to the idea of pursuing Federal funding to accelerate their R&D efforts.
The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs provide $3.7B in non-dilutive R&D funding annually to businesses of 500 or fewer employees. SBIR|STTR proposals are generally easier to prepare than most FAR-based proposals. In addition to the funding, the programs provide awardees with access to world class R&D talent, IP ownership and Phase III contracting vehicles to facilitate the Government’s acquisition of products and services resulting from the R&D. DoD issues nearly half of the SBIR|STTR awards.
Based upon our interactions with business, we saw the opportunity to use the SBIR|STTR programs to bridge the DoD-industry gap. We launced an SBIR|STTR Accelerator to provide businesses with the support they need to identify suitable innovations and to craft and submit compelling proposals. At first, the Accelerator was largely informative, but it has matured to include a variety of hands on services. Participants typically progress through the Accelerator over several months, but we have been able to go from innovation conceptualization to submission in as little as five weeks. We have matched businesses with commercial experts, as well as faculty at Indiana University, Notre Dame, Purdue University and Tuskegee University. By all accounts, the Accelerator has been a success. In FY 2016, the SBE Region had $0 in SBIR|STTR awards. In FY 2020, the SBE Region had $6.5M in Phase I and II awards and a $9.5M Phase III award. In addition, participants were winning millions in DoD FAR based prime and subcontracts. FY 2021 appears to be equally successful. A nascent Federal ecosystem driving millions in new revenue and dozens of new high paying technical jobs is taking root.
Given the success in the SBE Region, we have partnered with IN3, The Dimension Mill, Radius, ROI and others to launch a second Accelerator in the Bloomington-Uplands Region. We also are meeting with AFWERX, AFRL and the Navy to explore how we can use the Accelerator to connect DoD programs with innovative teams of industry and academia that are currently out of DoD’s reach. We believe that the Accelerator model will play a critical role in supporting Governor Holcomb’s imperative to triple defense awards in the state by 2025 by drawing hundreds of Indiana small businesses into the DoD supply base. But as you know, Federal contracting is a team sport. In order for this to work, we need a robust team. Please reach out if you want to participate in or support the Accelerator effort as an innovator, service provider, LEDO or sponsor, or if you would like to share your insights and recommendations.
Dave Temeles, President of Third Coast Federal, Inc. and a partner with SouthBank Legal
Dave has been representing Federal Contractors and tech companies on a variety of legal and consulting matters for more than a quarter century. He consults with companies on a range of issues around research and development funding, contracting vehicles, contracting strategies, small business certifications and set-aside qualification, pricing and indirect rates calculations and methodologies, regulatory and compliance matters, and proposal development.
University of Notre Dame (BBS, Accounting)
Washington & Lee University Law School (JD, magna cum laude)
Building on its success in preparing professionals for careers in cybersecurity, Indiana University has been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation for a new project to train the next generation of the nation's crucial cybersecurity workforce to address vulnerabilities and identify threats using artificial intelligence.
The $242,863 award supplements a $2.25 million NSF grant last year that established IU as a participating institution in CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service. This national program trains information technology professionals and security managers to meet rapidly growing cybersecurity needs of federal, state, local and tribal governments.
The first group of IU's Scholarship for Service scholars began their studies this fall. They are pursuing master's degrees in cybersecurity risk management and secure computing and doctoral degrees in cybersecurity from the IU Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering.
Sagar Samtani, assistant professor of operations and decision technologies and a Grant Thornton Scholar at the IU Kelley School of Business, said that artificial intelligence is increasingly efficient and effective in improving cybersecurity protection, and that AI's role in cybersecurity has rapidly become a critical concern worldwide.
"AI's value for cybersecurity is in its ability to automatically sift through large quantities of data, including malware, log files and the Dark Web, and detect patterns missed by manual analysis," said Samtani, also a fellow at the IU Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research.
"In its simplest form, AI can help cybersecurity analysts better prioritize their assets, manage their vulnerabilities, detect threats and allocate controls," said Scott Shackelford, chair of the IU Cybersecurity Program, executive director of the Ostrom Workshop and an associate professor of business law and ethics at the Kelley School.
"Knowing how to effectively train the next generation of 'cyber-AI' professionals who are well-equipped with knowledge on how to deploy AI algorithms and systems for critical cybersecurity applications requires swift and decisive action, attention and investment from policymakers," added Shackelford, a principal investigator on the new grant supplement.
Other co-principal investigators are Samtani -- who will spearhead the new effort -- Von Welch, director of the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research, and Apu Kapadia, professor of computer science in the Luddy School.
The NSF-funded project will include three major initiatives to ascertain the current state of cyber-AI education and develop curricular recommendations for the more than 90 CyberCorps programs nationwide. The goal is to provide students with the understanding of AI that they need to be top-tier candidates for jobs and contributors to the nation's cybersecurity workforce.
The researchers' initial findings are expected to be presented in January at a national meeting of Scholarship for Service principal investigators. The event includes a job fair for students, where the researchers plan to receive feedback and recommendations and determine next steps. Included will be top employers in the cybersecurity industry, who will describe the cyber-AI needs for their organizations and job roles.
"We believe that our report, including its discoveries and recommendations, will provide clearer and more targeted strategies for successfully integrating cyber-AI concepts and materials into curricula," Samtani said.
IU is a global leader in applied, interdisciplinary cybersecurity training, which prepares graduates to tackle a wide range of emerging threats and electronic warfare. The university is also a growing national leader in AI research and education. Samtani, an alumnus of the NSF Scholarship for Service program at the University of Arizona, researches the use of AI in cybersecurity in Dark Web analytics, smart vulnerability assessment, open-source software security and the security of AI at scale. IU also is home to the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research, which has advanced executive applied and operational cybersecurity research for nearly two decades.
IU's leadership in AI research will be featured in the upcoming AI Week in Indiana, a week-long series of discussions among researchers, business and government leaders from across the state's AI ecosystem to share ideas and research and foster future collaborations.
NDIA Greater Indiana Chapter holds first in-person meeting at Terre Haute Regional Airport post COVID
In an effort to resume pre-COVID meetings, the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) Greater Indiana Chapter held its first in-person monthly chapter meeting in West Central Indiana.
Director of the Indiana Defense Network Jesse Carlton, Acting Chairman of the Indiana Defense Task Force Jim Tidd, and numerous state legislators from across the state were in attendance.
Guest speaker Major General Clif Tooley, President of Defense Development at the Indiana Economic Development Corporation discussed the state’s defense strategy.
Indiana has a goal to triple the state defense spend capture by the end of 2024. In order to do this, the number of vendors that do business with the government needs to increase. Since 2010, the number of businesses with Department of Defense contracts has dropped from 92,000 to 54,000, and small business contracts have decreased by 70%. NDIA Greater Indiana brings businesses, stakeholders, and defense professionals together to help positively change these statistics for the state of Indiana.
“It’s energizing to come together with various public and private defense leaders from across the state to discuss how we can collectively work to advance the state’s agenda in defense development,” states Rachel Leslie, President of the NDIA Greater Indiana Chapter. “Indiana’s best in the industry are here today and our Chapter members are ready to be at the table for dialogues in moving these strategies forward.”
The Terre Haute Regional Airport hosted the meeting to showcase some of the assets the facility offers to West Central Indiana and the state’s defense industry. Leslie also holds the role of President of the Terre Haute Regional Airport Board and encouraged NDIA members to connect with the airport for future opportunities.
The Chapter looks forward to hosting future meetings across other areas of the state to further showcase Indiana’s defense assets.
Bloomington, Ind. – IN3 has added I-Light, Indiana’s high-speed fiber optic research and education network, to its WestGate@Crane Technology Park facilities to connect to university research computing resources and facilitate high-speed data transfers via a dedicated and secure network.
“I-Light will improve our capability to help foster innovative collaboration among our partners. It’s also a powerful addition to the NavalX Midwest Tech Bridge environment, led by NSWC Crane,” said Stephen E. Kelly, IN3’s president and CEO. “We greatly appreciate the support of Indiana University in enabling this connectivity that is crucial to those organizations developing, testing and prototyping the new technologies that will solve critical defense priorities.”
I-Light is a collaboration among Indiana colleges and universities, state government, and private sector broadband providers to create a network that connects members to state, national and international research and education communities. I-Light member site users have enhanced capabilities such as high-quality video connections, the ability to exchange large data files, and access to supercomputers and scientific data storage facilities.
Kelly said those capabilities are critical pieces in IN3’s current work as well as to further expand capabilities to create deployed solutions for defense, national intelligence, and broader U.S. government and commercial sectors.
“I-Light is excited to be part of this initiative to develop technologies that will serve and protect our nation and support the growth of our state’s technology sector,” said Marianne Chitwood, director of I-Light. “Researchers at colleges and universities throughout Indiana will be able to do high-performance data transfers with those who are developing new technologies that expand and solve problems for critical defense projects all because I-Light was built with the research community and its requirements in mind.”
The I-Light network will make it possible to connect to Indiana University’s Big Red 200 supercomputer, as well as to other high-speed research networks and high-performance computers. NSWC Crane and the NavalX Midwest Tech Bridge, both located in Crane, Indiana, will be among those to see dramatic benefits from those capabilities.
The network connection will flow through the WestGate Academy building at WestGate@Crane Technology Park. IU occupies the location in support of its partnership agreement with NSWC Crane.
“This is a project that has been years in the making, and is a major step forward in our ability to connect to and support NSWC Crane’s national security missions,” said Kirk White, assistant vice president for strategic partnerships at Indiana University. “We are pleased IU’s strengths in supercomputing and high-speed networks will play a role in advancing research and development within the Crane ecosystem.”
“The I-Light network promises to provide a tangible network to link together our ecosystem partners across the state of Indiana,” said Dr. Jon Dilger, NSWC Crane director of research. “Such a capability will enrich our existing strategic regional partnerships, while also enabling the creation of new communities of innovators to contribute, collaborate and accelerate technology developments to solve national defense problems.”
NSWC Crane is a Navy federal laboratory with a reputation for national technical leadership in the areas of expeditionary warfare, strategic missions, and electronic warfare. NSWC Crane works directly with warfighters to create comprehensive, innovative solutions at the speed of relevance. The Midwest Tech Bridge encompasses an innovation ecosystem closely aligned to Navy and Marine Corps interests and facilitates broad, collaborative partnerships to accelerate the development and transition of technology to Department of Defense end users.
IN3 (Indiana Innovation Institute) works with academia, industry, and government to create a hub of national security innovation that helps solve critical defense priorities. IN3 connects regional, state, and national partners through a variety of means including convening research and business teams to solve emerging technical challenges for the Department of Defense. IN3 is focused on hypersonics, cyber-physical systems, trusted microelectronics and artificial intelligence. Learn more at www.in3indiana.com and follow us on Twitter @IN3indiana and LinkedIn.
For 20 years, I-Light has been Indiana’s high-speed fiber optic research and education network. Today, through operations managed at Indiana University, I-Light provides reliable connectivity to nearly every college and university campus in the state. The I-Light network connects its 40-plus member institutions seamlessly to each other as well as to the Indiana GigaPOP, which gives them access to national and international R&E networks and enables collaborative research with partners across the country and around the world. Learn more about I-Light at https://ilight.net.
NICK DARRAH, DIRECTOR OF STAKEHOLDER DEVELOPMENT AT THE NORTHEAST INDIANA REGIONAL PARTNERSHIP
For me, it’s personal. As a combat veteran of the United States Marine Corps, I know firsthand the importance of having the best gear and equipment when you’re in a fight. Make no mistake, in war there is no such thing as a fair fight. You either have an advantage, or you are likely to get killed. It’s the U.S. defense industry’s job to make sure our warfighters have every possible advantage when it’s time to fight.
Fortunately for our military and allies, Indiana is home to some of the world’s greatest innovators and engineers with production capabilities dedicated to providing the equipment and services needed to keep the warfighting advantage on the side of freedom and democracy. In my corner of the state –Northeast Indiana – we’re home to many of the names you’re familiar with: Raytheon Technologies, BAE Systems, General Dynamics, Ultra Electronics, L3 Harris, etc. We also have hundreds of small- and medium-sized defense companies, as well as non-traditional defense firms with technological and manufacturing capabilities to serve the industry and support the warfighter.
It’s not luck or happenstance that these companies have all clustered here. We make things in Indiana. We are one of the most manufacturing intensive states in the country, and my 11-county region has the highest concentration of manufacturing in the state. We also have some of the best engineering and business schools in the world, stocking the pond every year with new highly talented graduates for companies to recruit. We’re geographically well-positioned to get goods to market. We have the infrastructure, specialized supply chains and deep labor pools already in place to make our state well-suited for developing, testing, commercializing, manufacturing and distributing the assets our military needs to maintain it’s globally dominant status.
And sure, we have a low tax, low cost of living, pro-business environment (all of which we are proud of), but so do many other Midwest and Southern states. What makes us different? What sets Indiana apart from those other areas?
In a word, it’s collaboration. We have cultivated and developed collaborative relationships among the various regional economic ecosystems throughout the state to support and advance the competitiveness of defense and aerospace in Indiana.
By working together with our statewide partners in government, academia, economic development and private sector business (large and small), we can leverage our regional manufacturing mastery in the northeast with the IT capabilities of central Indiana and the R&D power of our research universities, then connect those with our various military installations such as NSWC Crane, Grissom Joint Air Reserve Base and Atterbury-Muscatatuck Training Center for testing and proving. Through the power of collaboration, we increase efficiencies, eliminate redundancies and produce the highest quality product for the warfighter at the best cost for the taxpayer.
As a country we find ourselves at a time of concurrent inflection points:
The first inflection point we saw coming, and as a state we’ve been preparing our stakeholders for success by rewriting the book on procurement in our own image and building the collaborative ecosystem referenced earlier.
While we didn’t have time to prepare for the second inflection point, its reality and the need to adapt to that is just as stark – beyond just defense and aerospace. Policymakers and business leaders have to reimagine and reinvent how we will do business in the future. Supply chains need to be diversified and regionalized. Investments need to be made in people and technology to increase productivity and protect against future shocks and interruptions.
The silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic is that it impacted every state and region across the country and around the world. However, Hoosier businesses and institutions weathered this storm relatively well. Because we have already laid the groundwork for regional collaboration across the state, we are well-positioned to accelerate out of this pandemic and capture opportunities created by the new ways of doing business that COVID forced upon the world. Coupled with the opportunities to serve the business needs of the DoD, we as a state have the potential for significant growth in the short term, generating positive impacts that will last for decades.
We owe it to those who protect the freedoms that we are blessed with to provide them with sustainable, high-quality resources to carry out their missions. Hoosiers are uniquely capable of doing that in the most efficient way. If you want to get plugged into the defense industry ecosystems we have created in this state and join us in our mission to support the warfighter, reach out to any of the organizations below.
Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership
Indiana Innovation Institute (IN3)
National Defense Industry Association - Greater Indiana Chapter
Northeast Indiana Defense Industry Association
Procurement Technical Assistance Center (Indiana PTAC)
Grissom Area Defense Alliance
Indiana Economic Development Corporation – Defense Development
Nick Darrah, Director of Stakeholder Development at the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership
DR. MARK A. TSCHOPP, REGIONAL LEAD OF ARL CENTRAL
TRACIE R. DEAN, PUBLIC AFFAIRS SPECIALIST OF ARL CENTRAL
Wait, what?!? The US Army has a research laboratory in the Midwest called ARL Central? Where is it? What are you doing there? What kind of programs do you have? How come I’ve never heard of DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory? Well, sit back, grab your popcorn, and I’ll tell you a little bit about us.
First, let’s start with the US Army. Four years ago, new leadership recognized the Army needed to modernize its’ systems and capabilities for the Soldier of today. First came the announcement of the Army Modernization Priorities that include: Long Range Precision Fire, Next Generation Combat Vehicles; Future Vertical Lift; Network/C3I; Air & Missile Defense and Soldier Lethality. In order to deliver a suite of capabilities to the Soldier, the Army needs to be hyper-focused on bringing together the S&T enterprise, the requirements writers, the test and evaluation community, and acquisition (by law, a dotted line, but suffice it to say that the ASAALT Director and AFC Commander know each other). Wow! That’s a lot of organizations and a lot of people involved! So, the U.S. Army Futures Command—a new 4-star command headquartered in Austin, TX in the most significant Army reorganization effort since 1973—was created in July 2018 to deliver these near term capabilities to our Soldiers. In the first year, Army Futures Command grew from 12 to 24,000 personnel almost overnight as organizations from different commands were shifted to pursue this massive undertaking. Also notable is that Cross-Functional Teams, or CFTs, were formed with military leaders to oversee the various Lines of Effort for each of the Modernization Priorities listed, plus Assured Positioning, Navigation, & Timing and Synthetic Training Environment.
One of those organizations that moved to the newly formed Army Futures Command was a small command called RDECOM—with only 14,000 military, civilian, and contractor personnel (i.e., the majority of S&Es within the Army)—which now became the US Army Combat Capability Development Command or DEVCOM, a major subordinate command of the Army Futures Command. DEVCOM leads in the discovery, development and delivery of the technology-based capabilities required to make Soldiers more successful at winning the nation’s wars and come home safely. Within DEVCOM lies the DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory and six DEVCOM (Research Development and Engineering) Centers, which were renamed to align with their role in the Army’s Modernization Priorities: Armaments, Aviation & Missile, C5ISR, Ground Vehicle Systems, Chemical and Biological, Soldier—all Centers.
One might ask “So what is the difference between the Army Research Laboratory and these Centers?” First, the Centers are largely focused on these near-term systems, working with industry and academia to bring these to fruition. Meanwhile, as the Army’s corporate research laboratory, ARL has a mission to operationalizing science to achieve transformational overmatch. That mission stems from, “who is looking out for the future?” The future technologies and capabilities and concepts, which turn into the future systems that the future Soldier uses in the future operational environment.
Our mission to operationalize science for transformational overmatch includes providing the underpinning scientific knowledge that enable transforming capabilities within and across the six Army Modernization Priorities—meaning that scientific discoveries in spaces like Artificial Intelligence, for instance, may impact more than one system or Modernization Priority. This mission is embodied within three primary thrusts:
So, what does the Army Research Laboratory do? At its core, it’s simple, ARL enables future capabilities for the Soldier to shoot, move, and communicate. Across the laboratory, ARL executes this research in 11 competencies—Energy Sciences; Science of Extreme Materials; Weapons Sciences; Terminal Effects; Electromagnetic Spectrum Sciences; Military Information Sciences; Network, Cyber, and Computational Sciences; to name a few—that provide the Army foundational expertise and specialized capabilities, which is grounded in scientific excellence and driven by unique Army challenges. The scientific knowledge created and exploited in the competencies is leveraged to develop new opportunities, to build programs, to align people and dollars, and to advise on future operational concepts. This includes ten flagship programs—Essential Research Programs (ERPs)—as well as both internal and external programs in the basic and applied R&D domain (6.1/6.2), all hypothesized to yield game-changing opportunities.
To win in this mission, ARL realized that we must take full advantage of partnerships across a global network—not just partnerships for partnerships’ sake, but strategically partner to bring complementary talent & expertise, innovative ideas/concepts, and unique facilities to the Army’s mission programs. This new business model for ARL, and now for the Army, was termed “Open Campus”. The idea was simple—ARL needs to bring government laboratories, academic institutions, small businesses, and industry into a global collaborative network that will engage the “best and brightest” through open campuses, shared facilities, and innovative practices. For those win-win scenarios, Open Campus would enable partners to collaboratively access our facilities and our S&Es. There is no DoD “User Facility” model, though—rather this is a twist on this model; a model where partnerships can provide access but only when it makes strategic sense for all parties.
Phew! So that brings us to the part that describes “Why ARL in the Midwest?” While ARL’s Army Research Office (ARO) has Program Managers that fund basic research around the country (and world with ARO’s international offices) and the Open Campus business model was meant to open up our laboratories to external partnerships, Open Campus could also be viewed in a different way—what if ARL stationed S&Es with our partners, at their facilities, working hand-in-hand with them on a daily basis? What would that look like? Would that enable a more innovative and entrepreneurial collaboration? Would that further strengthen our partnerships?
So, ARL opened multiple Regional Sites to strategically leverage the expertise and capabilities in local ecosystems around the country to get the best people working on Army challenges. It started with ARL West in Playa Vista, California; then ARL South opened in Austin, TX (just prior to AFC being established); and soon thereafter, ARL Central in Chicago, Illinois and ARL Northeast in Boston, Massachusetts. Each ARL Regional Site tasked with engaging within the local ecosystems, like the Midwest, to provide that voice in the conversation and that connection to ARL’s national S&T enterprise. Over the course of the last three years, ARL Central has grown the footprint of ARL within the Midwest: expanding the number of (funded and unfunded) research agreements, hiring ARL researchers at various partner locations, spawning an ARL Center for UAS Propulsion with partners across the nation, awarding a collaborative research alliance in Internet of Battlefield Things, building strategic partnerships in disruptive energetics and energetic materials, connecting multiple “spokes” with government staff for next generation polymers for protection, strengthening the connection between intramural and extramural programs, utilizing unique facilities to discover and operationalize the science, all while expanding the engagement of a network of partners. Even with all that, ARL Central is not a giant laboratory in the Midwest, there aren’t hundreds of scientists stationed here, there isn’t necessarily funding set aside for only those in the Midwest, and it’s not a separate entity from our larger ARL laboratories—think of it more as a small expeditionary S&T force for Army innovation. It is a lot of work for a 1-person operation on the south side of Chicago at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center, but the reality is that it works because of the great partnerships being forged.It works because of our great scientists and engineers, and it works because ARL’s culture is not that of 1 person on an island, but rather a connected “Team of Teams” approach where the cumulative sum of our partnerships can be focused and converged on outcomes that are important for the Army.
Now, think of another 1-person operation—the Soldier of the future, in a future multi-domain operating environment where their new teammates may not even be Soldiers, but rather autonomous robots, sensors, technology, AI/ML, and information. How do WE provide that Soldier with the capabilities and technologies to complete their mission safely and bring them home? The Army Research Laboratory has been hyper-focused on that future environment, but it’s not something that we can do alone either—we need strategic partnerships that can help us in that mission.
So, if you are serious about helping the Army mission, if you have an innovative concept/idea for future operating environments, ARL and the Army wants to engage and build a partnership that provides that future capability to the Soldier of the future.
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Dr. Mark A. Tschopp, Regional Lead, ARL Central
I am the Regional Lead for ARL Central at the US Army Research Laboratory, the corporate R&D laboratory for the Army. I have previously held positions as a materials engineer, team leader, and branch chief in the Weapons and Materials Research Directorate, discovering and operationalizing science for materials in soldier, vehicle, and weapon applications. In my current role, my mission is to accelerate discovery, innovation, and transition of science and technology to the Army through forging strategic partnerships.
Education. I received my B.S. and M.S. degrees in Metallurgical Engineering from the Missouri University of Science and Technology. My DoE-funded manufacturing research uncovered the mechanisms of defect formation in the lost foam casting process, garnering the Best Paper Award at the American Foundry Society conference. I later received my Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. My NSF-funded research shed light on atomic-scale mechanisms and solid mechanics related to grain boundary-dislocation interactions in nanocrystalline/polycrystalline materials, recognized with the Sigma Xi Best PhD dissertation award and the top Engineering Mechanics student at Georgia Tech.
Prior Roles. Before joining ARL in 2012, I spent 4 years in manufacturing R&D at GM Powertrain, 2 years in high temperature material sustainability and mechanics at the Air Force Research Laboratory, and over 4 years as faculty in the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems at Mississippi State University, where I received the Mississippi StatePride Faculty Award for excellence in research, teaching, and service.
Tracie R. Dean, Public Relations Specialist, ARL Central
Ms. Tracie R. Dean is a Public Affairs Specialist for the Office of Public & Congressional Affairs at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, now referred to as DEVCOM, Army Research Laboratory, the Army’s corporate research laboratory. In this role, she is responsible for providing timely and accurate communication of ARL’s capabilities, achievements, programs and initiatives to both the internal and external community. Through comprehensive public affairs support, she develops, coordinates and implements public information materials that communicate the organization’s policies, programs, services and activities to inform and educate military members, veterans, media, academia, public and private partnerships.
Ms. Dean manages several key programs as part of the organization’s strategic engagement efforts to include the strategic outreach conference and technical exhibit program where she serves as the public affairs representative and lead coordinator for all technical exhibit support; she runs the organization’s speaker’s bureau to include facilitating and executing the participation of ARL subject matter experts for a variety of defense and national security-focused engagements; she is the lead coordinator for the laboratory’s social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc., and ensures strategic communication efforts to maximize engagement with diverse audiences; she is the hosts of ‘What We Learned Today,’ the lab’s exploratory podcast about science and technology for the future Army.
Ms. Dean began her Public Affairs career in 2014. She holds a Master of Science in Management, with a specialization in Public Relations/ Public Affairs and a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature/ Letters from the University of Maryland University College.
February 16, 2021, Indianapolis, IN — Pierce Aerospace announced that it has become a member of the Esri Partner Network, the global leader in location intelligence with powerful mapping and spatial analytics tools designed to serve public and private sector organizations of all sizes.
“We’re excited to work with Esri,” exclaimed Aaron Pierce, CEO of Pierce Aerospace. “For the drone industry to flourish it is imperative that we make Remote ID accessible to as many users as we can. By working with Esri, whose geographic and mapping tools are used by 350,000 worldwide customers, we plan to provide Esri users with access to Flight Portal ID information. Our intent is to work with technology enablers, like Esri, to expand access to Remote ID information while maintaining UAS operator privacy.”
Pierce Aerospace’s partnership with Esri not only aligns the companies for strategic technology integrations, it also provides Pierce Aerospace with access to Esri’s GIS tools for optimization of planning and implementation of Flight Portal ID products, like Flight Portal ID Local Broadcast Ground Receivers.
“I look forward to seeing what Pierce Aerospace brings to market by integrating our technology with Flight Portal ID. The Esri Startup Program partnership and benefits will provide them with plenty of technical options and opportunities” said Jeff Wilson, Esri’s Emerging Business manager.
“With this partnership we have set the stage to align our work in Remote ID with Esri’s mission as a leader in real time Internet of Things geospatial information” said Pierce. “Integration of unmanned systems identification and location information into Esri’s tools will be crucial to opening next generation opportunities in mobility, commerce, and public services.”
Flight Portal ID is a leading Remote ID technology suite designed for integration into commercial and defense technologies such as Unmanned Traffic Management, Counter UAS, UAS OEM, and Command and Control systems. Flight Portal ID has previously provided initial integrations of Remote ID / Combat ID data into Northrop Grumman and US Army command and control systems in dense urban airspace as well as in live-fire engagements.
The Esri Partner Network is a rich ecosystem of organizations that work together to deliver solutions, content, and services. Partner allies are industry leaders aligned with Esri’s high level goals, joining forces to advance shared initiatives. Complementary Technology partners offer solutions compatible with the ArcGIS system, and Hardware partners offer packaged solutions, bundled offers, and devices for use with Esri technology.
About Pierce Aerospace:
Pierce Aerospace is a Remote ID service provider focused on practical and robust integration of Remote ID services into the unmanned systems ecosystem. As an industry leader, Pierce Aerospace serves on the Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team, ASTM F38 UAS Remote ID Committee, and the FAA’s Remote ID Cohort. Funds from the US Air Force and the State of Indiana have supported Pierce Aerospace’s Flight Portal ID suite of Remote ID technologies. Flight Portal ID was nominated as Indiana’s Innovation of the Year by Techpoint and was awarded first place in Remote ID technology by AUVSI’s Xcellence Awards. Pierce Aerospace is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, The Racing Capital of the World. Visit www.pierceaerospace.net.
Esri, the global market leader in geographic information system (GIS) software, location intelligence, and mapping, helps customers unlock the full potential of data to improve operational and business results. Founded in 1969 in Redlands, California, USA, Esri software is deployed in more than 350,000 organizations globally and in over 200,000 institutions in the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, including Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, nonprofits, and universities. Esri has regional offices, international distributors, and partners providing local support in over 100 countries on six continents. With its pioneering commitment to geospatial information technology, Esri engineers the most innovative solutions for digital transformation, the Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced analytics. Visit us at esri.com.
BROOKE PYNE, NSTXL, S2MARTS DIRECTOR
Let’s take a journey! One that looks at the Other Transaction Authority (OTA) environment but then morphs into a revolutionary OTA philosophy. We start by looking at the foundational elements of Other Transactions before navigating through some game-changing philosophy and tools that are impacting the OTA world.
Other Transaction Authority (OTA) is commonly used to refer to the 10 U.S.C. 2371b authority of the Department of Defense (DoD) to execute prototyping, research, and production projects. OTAs were established to provide flexibility to address rapid and emerging defense needs and requirements. The purpose of the OTA is to enhance or improve mission effectiveness of the federal government and the supporting platforms, systems, components, and/or materials to be acquired or developed by the DoD while identifying and engaging non-traditional defense entities.
As we all know, OTAs are on the forefront of defense acquisition change and are providing rapid technology advancements. The OTA accelerates industries ability for quick prototype development funding by DoD. These rapid prototype projects have been responding to warfighter needs and requirements and are quickly becoming a common “go-to” as a Research and Development/Prototyping acquisition vehicle for many defense agencies.
We at National Security Technology Accelerator (NSTXL) are changing the game when it comes to OTAs by institutionalizing a revolutionary platform that provides end-to-end acquisition services to support the defense industry ecosystem while building a “government ready” innovation community. This fully invested approach embeds NSTXL in the process that results in a specific, defined prototyping opportunity that aligns directly to an active DoD need. This approach has proven to increase the volume of solutions proposed and increases likelihood of success and reduces our client’s risk. Our ultimate metric for success is getting the right tools and tech to the Warfighter at the speed of mission.
The NSTXL model provides an active and healthy engagement community, rooted in non-traditionals, that span all OTAs under NSTXL’s management. So, what does this mean? It means that NSTXL membership provides access to each individual OTA for a single overarching fee. This provides a much higher return on investment (ROI) for the defense industry member, but the biggest value is in the cross pollination of the innovation community for teaming, partnering and pursuit of government funding.
So, what ties all this innovation together? It’s the individual OTA vehicles, the enablers. NSTXL currently has two active OTAs, TReX and S2MARTS. Each have technology domains and focus areas that support many end-users across the DoD. TReX, an OTA created by the Army and facilitated out of the Orlando, Florida, area, expedites development, demonstration, and delivery of prototypes to increase Warfighter readiness, with a focus on modeling, simulation, and training. By actively incorporating structured operational user feedback, TReX will identify and develop innovative solutions to inform material procurement requirements and acquisition.
Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Crane Division has created a vehicle for the Strategic and Spectrum Missions Advanced Resilient Trusted Systems (S2MARTS) OTA. The S2MARTS OTA (pronounced “SMARTS”) provides refined strategies, management planning activities, and has implemented complementary solutions that enable broader DoD access to commercial state-of-the-art technologies. S2MARTS is one of the newest 2371b OTAs within the country and within the first 18 months, S2MARTS has become a major innovation player within the Industry and Defense Sectors awarding close to $252 million.
United States leadership in Strategic Missions, Electronic Warfare and assured, advanced microelectronics is critical to military dominance and economic sovereignty and loss of this leadership threatens our warfighters ability to deter adversaries. There are also additional potential impacts to economic/industrial base equities extending beyond national security. The DoD requires innovative technological solutions to address current and future security threats in the technology domain areas and technical focus areas that are aligned to the S2MARTS scope. To engage the broadest set of innovators, the NSTXL innovation model provides an instant infrastructure to pull together game-changing industry solutions.
S2MARTS is generating new prototypes within the areas of Hypersonics, Additive Manufacturing (AM) and Technology Protection (TP), Microelectronics, Electronic Warfare, and State-of-the-art Heterogenous Packaging Prototyping (SHIP), just to name a few. The NSTXL model, enabled by TReX and S2MARTS, is providing the warfighter with state-of-the-art technology advancements at a rapid pace. And when I say rapid, S2MARTS is seeing award, and funding to the performers within 70 to 80 days of the Request for Solution (RFS) closing. With a timeframe like that, you can understand how the TREX and S2MARTS vehicles are rapidly addressing warfighter needs and requirements.
To find out more, please reach out to S2MARTS Director, Brooke Pyne at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.s2marts.org.
Brooke Pyne, NSTXL, S2MARTS Director