Army hosts DOD, Indian delegation to discuss future R&D collaboration

FORT MONMOUTH, N.J. — The U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force met with an Indi­an del­e­ga­tion here to dis­cuss poten­tial col­lab­o­ra­tion efforts in emerg­ing infor­ma­tion and com­mand and con­trol tech­nolo­gies, Aug 31 — Sept. 3.

Gov­ern­ment, indus­try and acad­e­mia rep­re­sen­ta­tives from both coun­tries pre­sent­ed research and dis­cussed projects in the areas of ser­vice-ori­ent­ed archi­tec­ture, intel­li­gent agents, lan­guage trans­la­tion and arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence technologies. 

Host­ed by the U.S. Army Research, Devel­op­ment and Engi­neer­ing Command’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions-elec­tron­ics cen­ter, or CERDEC, the work­shop was a result of meet­ings held in India last Feb­ru­ary when a CERDEC del­e­ga­tion, at the request of the Deputy Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of the Army for Defense Exports and Coop­er­a­tion, met with senior-lev­el offi­cials from the India Defense Research and Devel­op­ment Orga­ni­za­tion to final­ize an infor­ma­tion exchange agree­ment and to expand col­lab­o­ra­tion in com­mand and con­trol technologies. 

“We see India as a key, strate­gic ally that has grow­ing influ­ence in the region, as well as world­wide. We’re get­ting a lot of guid­ance from admin­is­tra­tion and from our senior offi­cials in DoD to build this rela­tion­ship and to look at oppor­tu­ni­ties where we can coop­er­ate. This work­shop cre­ates the right venue to do so by bring­ing the right peo­ple togeth­er to have those dis­cus­sions,” said Matthew War­ren, direc­tor for the Pacif­ic Arma­ments Coop­er­a­tion Office of the Under Sec­re­tary of Defense Acqui­si­tion, Tech­nol­o­gy and Logistics. 

Coali­tion part­ner­ships pro­vide an effi­cient, cohe­sive approach to prob­lem solv­ing, said Lt. Col John Dai­ley, com­man­der for the RDECOM Inter­na­tion­al Tech­nol­o­gy Cen­ter Pacific. 

“We’re firm believ­ers that there are smart peo­ple all over the world, and we need to get them togeth­er so they can share infor­ma­tion, approach­es and per­spec­tives. We want to lever­age each oth­er so we don’t re-invent the wheel. If a solu­tion has been devel­oped, we can adapt it. This saves time and resources that could be devot­ed to some­thing else,” Dai­ley said. 

As part of the work­shop, CERDEC host­ed a tech­ni­cal inter­change meet­ing and pan­el dis­cus­sion with indus­try rep­re­sen­ta­tives from both coun­tries. The dis­cus­sion focused on trends in infor­ma­tion tech­nol­o­gy research to enhance coali­tion operations. 

Facil­i­tat­ed by Gart­ner, Inc., pan­elists from Google, Microsoft, IBM, Infos­ys and Tata addressed inter­na­tion­al tech­nol­o­gy alliances and emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies such as ser­vice ori­ent­ed archi­tec­ture, ana­lyt­ics and cloud com­put­ing, hand-held and mobile sys­tems, col­lab­o­ra­tion plat­forms and mobile Smart­phone applications. 

“If we look back at the com­mer­cial world, they’re invest­ing a lot of mon­ey in R&D, tak­ing end-user input and feed­ing it back into their R&D cycles to fig­ure out what they want to do next. And they real­ly take that feed­back in rapid­ly to get to the next tar­get area. We need to smart­ly invest our R&D dol­lars and try to pair that with where indus­try trends are going,” said Trey Oats, an engi­neer with the Office of Naval Research. 

Research and devel­op­ment plays a “cru­cial role” in equip­ping the Sol­dier — not because it brings sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy to bat­tle­field, but because it devel­ops and adapts tech­nolo­gies to best fit the Warfighter’s needs, said Dr. V.S. Mahalingam, direc­tor for the Cen­tre for Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence and Robot­ics, Ban­ga­lore India. 

“Yes, there are avail­able tech­nolo­gies being churned out by aca­d­e­m­ic insti­tu­tions and indus­try, but there still needs to be a process of trans­la­tion because you can­not always take the exist­ing form to the user; he would­n’t be able to use it because his envi­ron­ment and domain is dif­fer­ent and has very strict require­ments. Every­thing has to be shaped into a solu­tion that is accept­able to the user. That’s where the R&D com­mu­ni­ty real­ly plays a role, whether it’s in India, the U.S. or any­where else. We pro­vide a strong bridge,” Mahalingam said. 

Work­shop par­tic­i­pants also vis­it­ed CERDEC labs and trav­eled to Ft. Dix, N.J. to attend a coali­tion part­ners’ ses­sion at the Com­mand, Con­trol, Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Com­put­ers, Intel­li­gence, Sur­veil­lance and Recon­nais­sance On-The-Move Event 2010 — or C4ISR OTM E10 — to learn more about CERDEC efforts to sup­port sys­tems-of-sys­tems integration. 

The work­shop con­clud­ed with par­tic­i­pants agree­ing to pur­sue a project arrange­ment with CERDEC in com­mand and con­trol technologies. 

“We’re def­i­nite­ly look­ing to main­tain this open dia­logue and con­tin­ue to look for oppor­tu­ni­ties in our mutu­al inter­est that could fall under the new infor­ma­tion exchange agree­ment. I believe this will pave the way for a strong rela­tion­ship and many future activ­i­ties. How­ev­er, this was­n’t just about devel­op­ing tech­nolo­gies; it was about devel­op­ing rela­tion­ships with key part­ners in a glob­al com­mu­ni­ty,” said Pete Glik­er­das, act­ing direc­tor, CERDEC Com­mand and Con­trol Directorate. 

Par­tic­i­pants left, opti­mistic and sat­is­fied with the over­all struc­ture, con­tent and results of the work­shop, said U.S. Air Force Major Jonathan Webb, direc­tor for Defense Coop­er­a­tion and Arma­ments, U.S. Embassy, New Deli, India. 

“Every­one came in excit­ed about what they might learn from each oth­er, and there were a lot of great dis­cus­sions with some very point­ed ques­tions. It sparked excite­ment for how we might move ahead,” Webb said. 

“The lev­el of inter­ac­tion, trans­paren­cy and par­tic­i­pa­tion from gov­ern­ment, indus­try and acad­e­mia, was indica­tive that we live in a new day in regards to our rela­tion­ship. This is some­thing that would­n’t have hap­pened just a few years ago, and that’s very encour­ag­ing. We need to stress patience as we move ahead, but we’re going to see a lot of good things come out of this,” Webb said. 

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