DOD and DAF to create first HBCU led UARC to advance new Tactical Autonomy Research Partnerships

DAYTON, OH—The Department of the Air Force (DAF) is creating the first Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) led University Affiliated Research Center (UARC). This is also the first DAF UARC. The UARC’s core competencies will focus on advancing the deployment of tactical autonomy for DAF missions.  The success of this effort is built on a strong partnership between the DAF, USD(R&E), USD(A&S) and USD(P&R) under the overarching guidance of the Secretary of Defense.

BACKGROUND OF THE PROGRAM
HBCU Students

HBCUs graduate 30 percent of African American STEM professionals, but receive less than .05 percent of DOD research funding. HBCUs consistently produce high caliber STEM talent able to compete for advanced degrees at top academic programs. More than one third of African American STEM PhD holders earned a bachelor’s degree from an HBCU while 88 percent of these PhD holders receive PhDs from non HBCUs.

(Left) Courtesy photo: Department of Education

This is clear evidence that untapped potential to address National Security imperatives resides at HBCUs but it is unavailable to the DAF due to historical inequities.

INTENT OF THE PROGRAM

This initiative will enable the DAF to establish and maintain essential research and development capabilities to advance the field of Autonomy and deliver operationally relevant autonomy for national security requirements.  Desired outcomes are to:

  • Advance the field of Autonomy by focusing on key DAF operational imperatives.
  • Grow and diversify the available pool of Scientists and Engineers to support the DAF and grow organic technical excellence.
  • Increase capacity accessible to the DAF by fostering HBCU R1 Research Classification.
  • Seed a unique ecosystem of small and large businesses around the UARC to further the above outcomes.

The UARC will be competitively selected through a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) made available soon to industry and academia. It will be based on a consortium model with a Lead HBCU Institution and additional performer institutions, serving under a consortium framework. The DAF Chief Scientist (AF/ST) will be the UARC sponsor with a Management Office responsible for UARC implementation and oversite; and an Executive Steering Board (ESB) which will be populated with members from DoD community partners. The UARC award period will be 5 years with 5 option years at $12M per year. The DAF is leading the investment with $8M per year with additional annual contributions of $2M yearly each from USD(R&E) and USD(A&S).

Source and cover photo: Air Force Research Laboratory


A D V E R T I S E M E N T

Congress Hosts HBCU Leaders for Event on Education, R&D, and Prosperity

BDPA2020 | bdpa2020.com

WASHINGTON — Representative Mark Walker (R-N.C.) hosted the fourth annual Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Fly-In event with U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.)  This annual Fly-In represented nearly 40 HBCUs and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) across the country.

The Fly-In event featured two panels with members of Congress. One in the morning with Scott, Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.), and Senator Thom Tillis (R-N.C.). Walker hosted the second panel, which included guests U.S. Representative French Hill (R-A.R) and U.S. Representative Andy Barr (R-K.Y).

Among topics discussed were funding sources and the passage of the FUTURE Act, legislation Walker led to provide permanent resources for HBCUs and MSIs. Walker and Scott also led a robust session on the benefit of Opportunity Zones and economic policies to bridge economic and educational divides across minority communities.

Scott and Fly-In attendees honored Walker with a framed photo at the conclusion of the conference to thank him for his relentless dedication to HBCUs over the past six years. His district also includes the largest HBCU in the United States, North Carolina A&T State University.

Walker has been a champion of HBCUs and MSIs from the very beginning of his time in Congress, fighting for the funding and recognition they deserve. Walker also delivered welcoming remarks this week at the Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s (TMCF) Fly-In.

scott-hbcu_fly-in-2020b

U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) (above, center) moderates a panel with Senate colleagues (seated L-R) Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) and Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC). Senator Scott and Congressman Mark Walker (R-NC) co-hosted the Fourth Annual 2020 HBCU Fly-In in Washington, D.C. This annual event featured a bipartisan, bicameral coalition of Members of Congress to celebrate America’s more than 100 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

Related funding discussions with both chambers of Congress, both sides of the aisle, Professional Staff, and event follow-up requests for HBCU/MSI inclusion include, but are not limited to:

  • Increasing HBCU/MSI research and development (R&D) participation
  • Upgrading HBCU/MSI infrastructures
  • Developing and upgrading HBCU/MSI super-computing facilities, capabilities, training, and staffing
  • Increasing HBCU/MSI pipelines with robust High School and JROTC computer, cyber, robotics, and drone training with competitions from as early as 7th or 8th grades

Funding requests were submitted this quarter to the House and Senate’s respective professional staff  on Appropriations, Armed Services, or select Committees on Intelligence for the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to fund legislative incentives to broaden mission-partnerships and increase subcontracts for HBCU/MSIs with Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs) and University Affiliated Research Centers (UARCs).  FFRDCs and UARCs are not-for-profit entities sponsored and primarily funded by the U.S. government to address technical needs that cannot be met as effectively by existing government or contractor resources.

Select here to read or download this edition.Similar funding requests for HBCU/MSIs also apply to the Department of Transportation (DOT) which invests in the future of transportation and “SMART Cities” through its University Transportation Centers (UTC) Program. The UTC program awards and administers grants to consortia of colleges and universities across the United States.

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), including Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA), who chairs the CBC and serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Congressman Anthony Brown (D-MD), who serves as Vice Chair of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) and on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, also participated.

— Sources and photos courtesy BDPA-DC and the offices
of Senator Tim Scott and Congressman Mark Walker

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