Carter Seeks to Harness Practices of Innovative Technology Firms
Carter Seeks to Harness
Practices of Innovative Technology Firms
By Jim Garamone, DoD News,
Defense Media Activity.
Washington D.C. — (DoD
News) — May 12, 2016 — The Defense Department needs to harness the genius of
American technology if it is to successfully stand against all enemies, Defense
Secretary Ash Carter told the President’s National Security Telecommunications
Advisory Committee in Santa Clara, California, yesterday.
Much of new technology emanated from the government two
generations ago, said Carter, noting that much of technology today is developed
by the private sector. The secretary said he’s visiting Silicon Valley to
consult with DoD’s critical private-sector partners.
The security environment today is dramatically different from
the last 25 years, he said, requiring new ways of investing and operating.
“We face no fewer than five major, immediate, and evolving
challenges that our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines are engaging with
every day around the world,” Carter said in prepared remarks.
Countering Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and global
terrorism are the main missions for American service members, and they are
fighting the fight in new realms – space and cyber, the secretary said.
“In the Department of Defense, we don’t have the luxury of
choosing between these five challenges, or between acting in the present and
investing in the future,” Carter said. “We have to do it all. So to stay ahead
those challenges, and stay the best, I’ve been pushing the Pentagon to think
outside our five-sided box, and invest aggressively in innovation -- from
innovative people, to innovative technologies, to innovative practices.”
Attracting and retaining innovative people is the most
important part of this equation, the secretary said. He spoke of his Force of
the Future initiative that seeks to ensure “that amid changes in generations,
technology, and labor markets, we’re always postured to recruit, develop, and
retain the best young men and women that America has to offer for our
He specifically highlighted the new Defense Digital Service,
which brings in technologists from private industry into the department for a
short tour of duty. He also cited the Career Intermission Program, which lets
people take a sabbatical from military service to get a degree, learn a new
skill or just to start a family.
“We’re bringing in Entrepreneurs-in-Residence to work with
senior leaders on challenging projects for a year or two,” he said.
“One area that’s particularly important here is our Cyber
Mission Force,” Carter said. “These are talented people -- some active-duty, but
also reservists and National Guardsmen -- who hunt down intruders in our
networks, perform the forensics that helps keep our systems secure and combat
our adversaries in the cyber domain.”
Getting this talent is imperative, and Carter mentioned the
department is developing an excepted service civilian personnel system to
augment these military cyber forces. “That way, if cybersecurity experts in the
private sector, or even elsewhere in DoD want to come work at our Cyber Command,
the hiring process will be more competitive with the private sector and have a
lot less bureaucratic red tape,” he said.
The department is pushing the boundaries of technology, the
secretary said. DoD plans on investing $72 billion on research and development
in fiscal 2017 alone, he said, noting that’s double what Intel, Apple, and
Google spent on R&D last year combined. Defense scientists are developing and
advancing a wide range of disruptive technologies, he added, like undersea
systems, electronic warfare, big data analytics, energy and propulsion, robotics,
artificial intelligence, and advanced sensing and computing.
And, the department is partnering with private corporations,
universities and research labs to fund technologies like 3D-printing, advanced
materials, integrated photonics, and digital manufacturing and design, Carter
said. “We announced the newest one last month, focused on revolutionary textiles
that combine fibers with electronics to create fabrics that can sense,
communicate, store energy, monitor health, change color, and much more,” he said.
Also, DoD is defending the new high ground in warfare --
cyberspace, Carter said. The department must defend its own networks, help
defend partners across the government defend the nation against cyberattacks
from abroad, “and the third mission is to provide offensive cyber options that
can be used in a conflict, as we’re doing now against ISIL in Syria and Iraq,”
he said. This totals about $35 billion, he said, over the next five years.
Carter said he also wants to promote innovative practices.
“It’s no longer just a matter of what we buy,” he said. How the department buys
things and how fast it buys them, he said, will require new approaches to stay
ahead of threats.
“That’s one reason why I recently created a Defense
Innovation Board, to advise me and future defense secretaries on how to continue
building bridges to the technology community, and on how we can continue to
change to be more competitive,” Carter said. “I’m pleased that Alphabet’s Eric
Schmidt is serving as the board’s chair -- he’s doing a great job putting
together the rest of the board, and we’ll have our first working session next
week. So stay tuned for who else will be joining him.”
The United States has always been a leader in innovation and
the Defense Department has “always been able to out-innovate our enemies,”
“We have people -- men and women, military and civilian alike
-- who are innovative, who think creatively, who are flexible, and who’ve always
been able to adapt technology to solve the problem at hand,” the secretary said.
(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)
Related Biographies :
Related Links :
Special Report: Travels With Ash Carter
Special Report: Defense Department Science and Technologyhttp://www.defense.gov/News/Special-Reports/0715_science-tech