ADMIRAL MICHAEL M. GILDAY: Sally and Tony, thanks for hosting tonight, and for bringing together a group of technologists, aspiring technologists, and military officers to get to know each other a little bit better and to talk about some of the challenges that we’re facing. On behalf of senior military leaders here tonight, thank you. Thanks for having us.
And I wanted to – I was thinking about, you know, when we first joined years ago. The paradigm then with respect to research and development in this country was that most of it was either done by the government or subsidized heavily by the U.S. government. And now that paradigm doesn’t – (inaudible). And what that’s meant for us is that it’s meant opportunity for us to really leverage some of the innovation and great ideas that you have. In a – in a military system which things are typically driven by requirements, what we see these days is you’re opening our eyes to solutions to problems that we haven’t even considered yet.
And so I’d just like to briefly talk about three vignettes, things that have happened over the past year. Some of you have been directly involved in this work, others I’m sure are going to help us in the future solve some of these problems.
But in one case, we recently held the largest unmanned exercise in the world in the Middle East. And we had about a hundred different unmanned platforms, we had 10 different countries participating, and dozens of companies – many of them small startups – that came together. And the problem to solve was how to provide maritime domain awareness or how to provide sensing across the Red Sea for our regional partners in that area, who maybe have on a – on a regular basis five or six ships today in a battlespace that’s about the size of the state of California. So a parallel would be think about patrolling the state of California with five or six police cars.
And so the solution set, obviously, is unmanned, but it’s tied together – if I could just divert for a second and talk about Tesla as the digital native, and the – and their company in the automobile industry is the one to catch. And how there are many different companies that, obviously, have a ton of different platforms – Volkswagen, Ford, et cetera – that they can – that they want to operate autonomously, but the real magic sauce, obviously, is the AI software integration, right, they can plug into any one of those platforms.
And so with this exercise, bringing together dozens of companies with hundreds of platforms, along with AI developers – they were from different companies. And we bring them together to create solution sets on how we can not only better sense the environment, but also make sense of the environment and push that data back to regional operations centers where they’re much better off than they were a few months ago in terms of understanding illegal fishing or the illicit transfer of weapons and people. So one example.
Another would be the network required to connect all of that stuff together, not only now but in the future when unmanned systems are going to proliferate. And how do we connect manned and unmanned systems together in a way where we can move data – any data over any system in a software-defined, resilient architecture that allows us, at speed, to use that data in way to have decision superiority over an opponent? So it’s leveraging networks that we have now. It’s leveraging them in a way we never had. It’s packaging data in a way that we’re leveraging the best ideas out there from companies like yours. And it’s making a real difference for us and I think will make a real difference for us in the future.
And the last example I’d give you is on some of the live virtual constructive training that we’re doing, where we’re actually leveraging the gaming community, principally out of Orlando, Florida. And they’re helping us take hundreds of ships and aircraft, ground elements, whether they’re special operators or whether they’re Marine elements ashore in Camp Lejeune or whether they’re Army tanks, and tying them all together in a virtual environment.
To give you an example, in a recent exercise taking the geography off of Norway and superimposing that off the coastlines of Virginia and North Carolina. And then you have ships and aircraft that are actually – and submarines – that are operating in that battlespace, but you’re virtually tying in ships that are tied to a pier, or Marines that are ashore, or Army operators that are ashore. Or, instructively, you’re taking ships that are in the Indian Ocean and you’re transporting them into that battlespace. And so you can operate as a fleet, as a joint force at a scale that we never had before.
And so there’s no way that we could afford to get all of that stuff underway in the air, on the sea, under the sea at any given time. And so to leverage the technology that you’re bringing to bear, and to do this in a very powerful way that’s changing how we think about – how we think about deterring and fighting in the future, has been enormously helpful. So, as we serve the first course here, I just want to say thanks for what you’re doing and what you continue to do.
And just a real quick shameless plug for our entry – our entry points into how we’re trying to make this easier for your companies and others to plug into us. And so for the Air Force, it’s AFWERX. For the Navy and the Marine Corps, it’s Naval X. And for the Army, I believe, it would be Army Futures Command. So those are the tech bridges that allow you to more easily connect with our operators, and do quick-turn stuff in a dev ops environment that, again, makes a difference. So, Sally, Tony, thanks again.
Adm. Mike Gilday
19 April 2022
22 April 2022
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