A&M System Hosts Symposium, Offers Research and Testing Help
BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Texas A&M University System is wrapping up a symposium of vital national importance here today with 300 military and defense industry leaders.
The three-day symposium, comprised mostly of classified, closed-door briefings, is focused on the challenging goal of modernizing battlefield communications in case the U.S. has to go to war against a high-tech adversary, such as Russia or China.
The goal is that every military branch can communicate instantly and effectively if fighting breaks out the ground, in the air, at sea, in space and in cyberspace — all simultaneously.
“How do you command and control those forces in a way that allows them to accomplish their mission and protect the country?” said Stephen Cambone, Associate Vice Chancellor for Cybersecurity Initiatives at the Texas A&M System and a former U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence. “That’s what the conference is about.”
The event was co-hosted by the A&M System and National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA), a 100-year-old group of defense industry executives and military officers.
The battlefield communications challenge is a great example of why the Texas A&M System is building the George H.W. Bush Combat Development Complex (BCDC) on the RELLIS Campus.
Among the BCDC features will be the Innovation Proving Ground (IPG), a highly-instrumented outdoor testing range that will serve as an ideal location for experimentation on such a communication system.
Upon completion next year, the IPG will be available to researchers from all across the United States. They can come from the defense industry, or from any U.S. university or from a military laboratory to test parts or all of such a system, which the military calls “Joint All Domain Command and Control” or “JADC2.”
Texas A&M researchers from multiple disciplines are contributing research that could help JADC2 through an agreement with Army Futures Command.
The aim is to sync up autonomous air and ground vehicles and other battlefield assets through a secure, resilient software-based communication network that can interpret situational awareness data and direct or recommend battlefield actions.
“This is mostly about deterrence” said Ross Guieb, Executive Director of the BCDC. Guieb was a U.S. Army Colonel working on military modernization before retiring in 2020. “If you are clearly ahead of your adversaries, hopefully you won’t have to fight the next war. But you’ll have decisive victory if called upon.”
Nearly a third of the symposium participants toured RELLIS on Monday to learn about the BCDC and other innovative A&M System projects with government and industry.
Hawk Carlisle, NDIA President and CEO, is a retired U.S. Air Force General. He said symposiums like this can pay big dividends because they bring together industry, government and academia.
“We want to solve the most challenging problems that our young men and women in uniform face,” Carlisle said. “We want to give them the best technology.”