DOD Has Promising Tech. Now It’s Time to Scale It Up, Officials Say

In August, Michèle Flournoy, widely believed to be President-elect Joe Biden’s top pick to lead the Defense Department, put the spotlight on emerging technology when she told the Aspen Security Forum she believes future Defense Department budgets are likely to flatline, necessitating “big bets” on innovative technologies.  

Regardless of whether Flournoy’s budget prediction comes true, Defense officials and experts say moving technology development beyond incubation to adoption at scale should be a priority over the next several years. 

Diem Salmon, an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for New American Security, former Senate Armed Services Committee budget director and current defense contractor, told Nextgov DOD should start taking larger bets to scale up a handful of specific capabilities. 

“There’s been enough work done over the past couple of years that there are certain things that are ready to scale or ready to get pulled into that program of record status,

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Led by former DoD digital chief and backed by ex-Google CEO, Rebellion Defense opens Seattle hub

Matt Shobe. (Rebellion Defense Photos)

Seattle is not exactly known as a hotspot for national security software startups. But Matt Shobe hopes to carry forward the region’s history of defense-related work with Rebellion Defense, a year-old Washington D.C.-based startup that recently opened a new office in Seattle.

Shobe, a veteran Seattle-area entrepreneur, joined Rebellion Defense last year and is heading up the company’s Seattle engineering hub.

Rebellion Defense is led by co-founder and CEO Chris Lynch, another longtime Seattle tech leader who moved to D.C. in 2015 to launch the Pentagon’s Defense Digital Service (DDS).

As director of the DDS, Lynch worked under three defense secretaries and helped lead the $10 billion JEDI cloud contract procurement process, along with the Hack the Pentagon bug bounty program. He departed in 2019 to launch Rebellion Defense.

The startup has attracted investors including former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who was chairman of the

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AI, ML Tech ‘Needed Today’ to Enhance Decision-Making Process at the Edge, DOD Officials Say

Pentagon officials this week highlighted the potential of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning for automating the decision-making process at the tactical edge. 

The Defense Department’s digital modernization strategy, released in 2019, pinpointed artificial intelligence and machine learning in its four main goals as essential for enabling information sharing across the enterprise. A year and change after the strategy’s release, several Pentagon officials say they are seeing real applications for edge technologies powered by AI and ML.

“The ability to take something on the very far edge where it needs natural language processing, or some forms of I say situational awareness of intent of beyond what’s in front of them and have an ML trying to provide a better decision-making process on the edge of the battlespace to inform, I think those things are needed today,” Alan Hansen, chief of intelligence systems and processing at the U.S. Army’s

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Tech Moves: UW announces director for new DoD program; Microsoft vet joins EQT; and more

Justin Dunnicliff. (UW Photo)

— The University of Washington announced a new partnership with the National Security Innovation Network (NSIN), a program within the Department of Defense, that will spur students and researchers to come up with solutions for communications, data management, artificial intelligence, logistics, disaster relief, healthcare, and other areas related to national security.

NSIN tapped Justin Dunnicliff as its university program director at the UW. He’ll be based at the CoMotion, the university’s innovation hub, and will run programs including Hacking for Defense and Starts. Dunnicliff graduated from the UW in 2006 and joined the DoD in 2013.

“The University of Washington is unquestionably one of the premier research institutions in the world and I see many opportunities for collaboration,” Dunnicliff said in a statement. “As a UW alumnus, I am particularly excited to bring the full spectrum of NSIN programming to the University and to work

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DIU Selects Summit2Sea Consulting to Develop Artificial Intelligence Technology for the DoD

ARLINGTON, Va., Oct. 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Summit2Sea Consulting, has been selected by the Department of Defense (DoD) to prototype the Humanless Unmatched Transaction (HUnT) solution for the DoD.

“The solution builds data pipelines to financial transactions to train a Machine Learning model that directs corrective actions to robot workers,” said Bryan Eckle, Partner at Summit2Sea Consulting. “We are partnering with the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) to provide our data expertise, AI / ML technology and deep knowledge of DoD systems to transform financial management in the DoD.”

Summit2Sea will aid in financial management transformation by combining an ideal mix of bots and humans working in tandem to significantly improve process efficiency at much lower costs.  Summit2Sea will leverage AWS Sagemaker, a fully managed service that provides every developer and data scientist with the ability to build, train, and deploy machine learning (ML) models quickly, along with

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Trump Wants the DoD to Give 5G Spectrum Away for Free

Illustration for article titled Trump Is Reportedly Pressuring the Pentagon to Give Away 5G Spectrum to a Shady Company for Free

Photo: Tom Pennington (Getty Images)

According to a CNN report, President Trump is allegedly pressuring the Department of Defense to give Rivada Networks, a company with several well-known Republican investors, what is basically a no-bid contract for extremely valuable mid-band 5G spectrum.

That’s a mouthful, but here’s the gist: Rivada currently has a “request for proposal” (RFP) that would bypass a competitive bidding process for the DoD’s 350 megahertz spectrum. The White House, CNN reports, has purportedly been working to fast-track that RFP.

What’s troubling about this is it appears that Trump is likely helping Rivada because he’s been encouraged to pressure the DoD into sharing its 5G network for commercial use by prominent Republicans, including Newt Gingrich. Karl Rove also reportedly told Trump to help Rivada out, according to CNN. Rove also happens to be an investor and lobbyist for Rivada. Peter Thiel—noted vampire

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