The Pentagon's chief technology officer is planning to hold a three-day event in the coming months to give industry "visibility" on military spending in artificial intelligence and autonomy as part of an effort to widen communications channels in "areas that have investment across the services."
First mentioned by Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Heidi Shyu during an online Acquisition Next forum earlier this month, the forthcoming gathering is slated for spring 2023, a DOD spokesman said, and is set to feature “a broad swath of potential industry partners” as part of a bigger effort to bolster engagement.
“I wanted to create a day in which each of the labs will come in and talk about, ‘This is what we're investing in, from the lab’s perspective,’ and have it in unclassified form, so the information can be shared with industry,” Shyu said in her Nov. 4 appearance. “And then have the PMs come in, the program managers come in, and say, ‘this is what we're planning as a part of our acquisition,’ to have that as a kickoff point. When I've mentioned this to companies, they love that idea.”
While Pentagon spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Tim Gorman wrote in an email to Inside Defense Tuesday that the current focus of the event is on AI and autonomy “because we know each of the services are doing important work in that space,” he cautioned the topics could be expanded, adding officials “haven’t yet fully scoped” it out.
Following the initial briefings, Shyu said companies could have the opportunity to participate in one-on-one discussions “if you have some great secret sauce that you're investing in and that you want to share with us.”
Gorman didn’t disclose further details about current plans, but he noted that Shyu remains “focused on making it easier for industry to partner with the department’s modernization stakeholder organizations.”