August 20, 2010

Defense Research Chief Underscores Need for ‘Game Changing’ Technology

The Pentagon's Director of Defense Research and Engineering (DDR&E) emphasized the importance of developing new technology in order to make military spending more efficient, according to Reuters reports published on Thursday.

During comments he made to reporters during a briefing in Washington, Zachary Lemnios, the top technology officer in the Defense Department said that an ongoing cost-cutting movement is intended to modernize the military, not lower the overall budget of U.S. troops.

According to Reuters, "The Pentagon's annual spending of about $2 billion on basic research should remain steady in coming years, Lemnios said. The challenge, he said, was to find 'bright ideas' and 'game-changing' technologies, especially in the areas of cybersecurity and computational science involving algorithms and more predictive analysis."

"The efficiencies initiative is an important thing to do. I see technology as a leverage for that," Leminos said during the briefing, according the comments published by the news agency. Reuters also reported that Leminos "said his office was already working hard to get new technologies to troops on the battlefield more quickly and respond to hundreds of 'joint urgent operational needs' requests from military commanders, while trying to ensure continued investment in longer-term pure research."

The Defense Department tech chief also outlined one such project--the adaptation of a system used on military Humvees that would help protect helicopters from gunfire by detecting the sound of bullets being fires and using triangulation to determine their source. Lemnios told reporters that four helicopters had already been outfitted with the device, and that they would enter active service in Afghanistan sometime in October.

"The focus now, he said, was clearly on innovation, speed and agility," Reuters reported on Thursday. "He said the department was trying to respond to urgent military needs in a matter of 'days and weeks' rather than the years and decades spent on programs in the past"¦ His office was also studying new weapons programs closely and trying to identify risks earlier, a move that could generate enormous savings compared with the cost of making changes after programs were in work for years."

Lemnios is a former Chief Technology Officer of the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, and previously also serves as the Assistant Division Head of that facility's Solid State Division. He is also a former employee of Hughes Aircraft Company, Westinghouse Electric Corporation and Ford Microelectronics, and worked with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) from 2002 through 2005.


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