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The Pentagon’s Chief Technology Officer emphasizes people and teamwork as a means of maintaining America’s technological advantage.

Heidi Shu, Deputy Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering,’s priority is to become more focused on missions, she told the Defense Writers Group yesterday. “I want to leverage an incredible amount of innovation across the country to solve difficult operational challenges,” she said.

To do this, Shyu wants to lay the groundwork for the right people to work on these cutting-edge projects. “To build a future technical workforce, we need to attract talent… (science, technology, engineering, math),” she said. It’s not just about hiring people, it’s also about building the laboratories, test areas, facilities, and infrastructure needed to enable their work.

Finally, she said, “Teamwork is a very important part of us shaping the future.”

It’s more than just teamwork within a department — it’s important. Shyu wants to take advantage of a larger “innovation ecosystem”. This includes defense industry contractors, university-affiliated research centers, federal-funded research centers, and “of course, our allies and partners. I face the most difficult challenges of working together. I’m sure it can be solved, “she said.

Shyu is the latest DOD Technology Chief who wants to fill the “Valley of Death” of the department. This refers to the time from feature development to program integration. Too often, promising technologies are dropped during this period. Shu said the Valley of Death is still a problem. Outreach is one way she wants to bridge or fill a valley.

“I’ve been involved with a small company because they’re suffering from the Valley of Death,” she said. “I held a roundtable for a small company … talking about what the biggest obstacles they see when it comes to working with the Pentagon.”

Shu devised a strategy presented to Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III on “how to pave this valley of death, or at least to build a bridge.”

She said various payment strategies could be part of this strategy. “I’m going to understand the mechanism for leveraging venture capital funds and connecting them more closely at the Pentagon level,” she said.

Communication is the only way forward. At the end of the meeting, she said, “They actually made a request, that is, to maintain a relationship with me and ensure a monthly dialogue.”

Shu also met with allies and partners on the skills and capabilities needed. “We have been involved with quite a few allies and partners so far, and at each meeting we will discuss their areas of interest and our interests,” she said. “If there is a crossroads in an area of ​​interest and you go to the next layer of people who are basically working for me, they then form a working group to literally come up with the details of the exchange of information. “

Countries include Australia, United Kingdom, Singapore, Germany, Israel and many others.

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