During an April 16 seminar delivered to NPS’ Consortium for Robotics and Unmanned Systems Education and Research (CRUSER), Naval War College Associate Provost for Warfighting Research and Development Dr. William F. Bundy stressed the value to the Navy of building partnerships with industry in order to help meet Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) John Richardson’s recent charge to maintain naval superiority.
“We are in a different age that is being driven by technology — the more we use it, the more it is being produced,” he said.
With these words, Bundy called on the Navy to partner with industry and aggressively adopt new technology in order to meet the CNO’s mandate, especially in light of industry’s more accelerated adoption of technology.
“The CNO says that we ought to optimize our approach to this — to build relationships, partnerships — to reach out to those [in industry] that are moving at an accelerated speed,” he said.
After speaking with NPS faculty over the course of his visit, Bundy reported that NPS is doing “a very good job at integrating and partnering with industry,” and he encouraged researchers and students to cast an even wider net, leveraging technology, operational art, and the talent available to them in their quest to elevate naval warfighting capabilities.
In order to accomplish this, Bundy stressed the use of “innovation ecosystems” as a way to include the diverse and numerous resources and participants that are, or should be, involved in any plan for the rapid adoption of technological innovation by military forces. The point “is to reach out and bring in the entrepreneur that has the bright idea, to go to the financial arm that can fund it,” he said.
“We then need to think about how we govern that technology, and we need others to help us to develop the technology and transfer the technology, along with doctrine about how to use it, the operational concepts for employing [it], the training that is required [to ensure] that the Sailors and the officers that we hand this technology to can operate it,” he added. “And we need to get all of these entities into the discussion early, in the creation to concept delivery and capability delivery phase.”
One aspect of this process that Bundy called upon those in the room to pay special attention to is the inclusion of warfighters in the early technology development phase. His call to train and educate warfighters so that they can understand these new technologies, and are ready to utilize them at the time of their release, is a mandate that NPS is uniquely positioned to deliver, with its mix of cutting-edge research and future military leaders.
Closing with a discussion of the increased reliance on artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous systems in warfare, Bundy stressed the importance of having highly-trained human beings participating in such engagements.
“We need to do great diligence in putting these systems together,” he said. “We need to understand that we build our values into how they are programmed and how they will operate, and that, in the end, it is humans that deploy these systems in a warfighting environment.”
CRUSER Monthly Meetings are held on the NPS campus and broadcast remotely through a tool called Zoom Meeting when possible. The next meeting, to be held on Monday, May 13, will feature the communications research of two U.S. Marine Corps students. For more information, visit http://CRUSER.nps.edu.