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

Drones May Be Here to Stay. Here’s What They Mean for Our Future

Drone technology has grown tremendously over the years. Here’s how the industry is growing in the D.C. area

By Michelai Graham

WASHINGTON—When I think of drones, I think about all the fun possibilities of playing with them. Could I just have a drone follow me around all day? Wouldn’t a drone race be cool? How fast can they really go?

But drone usage goes far beyond playtime. Technologically speaking, a drone is an unmanned aircraft that can be remotely controlled or fly autonomously via internal software-based sensors and GPS. Drones are transforming commercial industries, being used in military operations, helping first responders locate damage and people during disasters and becoming a fun hobby for people in general.

(AUVSI) reports there will be more than 100,000 jobs in unmanned aircraft and drone technology by 2025.

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) reported that there will be more than 100,000 jobs in unmanned aircraft and drone technology by 2025. The Arlington, Virginia-based association also reported that the drone industry will have an economic impact of more than $13.6 billion. Right now, Virginia is ranked in the top eight states predicted to see the most gains in terms of job creation and additional revenue form the drone technology industry, with California ranking as number one.

Drones and RoboticsGettyImages

Drone technology is being used all around the world in various industries from logistics to filmmaking, law enforcement, real estate and more. Here’s how the drone industry is growing in the D.C. area.

Drone Technology Advancements in DC

Last October, The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ruled that people can operate drones for commercial and government use if they weight 55 pounds or less. Some of the operating requirements include keeping your drone in sight, avoiding manned aircrafts, operating one drone at a time, and avoiding flying drones over people unless they are directly participating in an operation. Check out this fact sheet for FAA’s small unmanned aircraft systems regulations.

To even fly drones in the area, you must obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate from the FAA. Drone pilots must be 16 years old, be in good physical and mental health, be able to understand English, and above all, pass the aeronautical knowledge exam. Maryland also offers some other drone schooling programs.

One of the most successful uses of drone technology in D.C. is how the Environmental Protection Agency is using it to manage livestock and survey crops. In the future, the agency is hoping to help farmers use drones to spray crops.

If you’re looking to fly your drone commercially in the D.C. area, Virginia and Maryland have drone lawns, which are designated airspaces for drone activity. Make sure you know where you can and can’t fly in the D.C. area airspace.

Whether using drones for aerial photography, surveillance, or mapping, there is a plethora of companies in the D.C. area advancing drone technology. Here are 10 drone companies one may want to know about.

It’s important to note that drone flight across the National Capital Region (NCR) is governed by a Special Flight Rules Area, which prohibits unmanned aircrafts from operating within 15 miles of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport without FAA authorization.


Michelai Graham is the Washington, D.C. Bureau Senior Editor for bdpatoday.

Michelai Graham is the Washington, D.C. Bureau Senior Editor for bdpatoday.

General Brown formally installed as 22nd Air Force Chief of Staff

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. (AFNS)―proclaiming himself “proud, yet humbled,” General Charles Q. Brown, Jr. was officially installed August 6, 2020 as the Air Force’s 22nd Chief of Staff (CSAF), becoming the first African American in history to lead a military service as its highest ranking officer.

In remarks following the formal “Change of Responsibility” ceremony in which he took over from retiring General David L. Goldfein, the 21st Chief of Staff, Brown acknowledged an array of people who influenced his life. Among them were his wife, Sharene, and his parents, as well as a list of Air Force colleagues, including Goldfein and other “extraordinary leaders.”

Yet, cognizant of the moment in history, Brown also noted, “Today is possible due to the perseverance of those who went before me serving as an inspiration to me and many others.

tuskegee-bw_airmen2

“Those like the Tuskegee Airmen, Benjamin O. Davis Jr., Chappie James, African American leaders across our Air Force and military, past and present, to include today’s special guest, Ed Dwight, America’s first African American astronaut candidate,” he said.

“It is due to their trials and tribulations in breaking barriers that I can address you today as the Air Force Chief of Staff.”

Brown, who previously served as commander of Pacific Air Forces, was elevated to his new assignment during a solemn, socially distanced, 90-minute ceremony that focused on his achievements while also honoring Goldfein’s 37-year service in the Air Force and his four years as chief of staff.

Among those paying tribute were Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Department of the Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley. The ceremony also honored Goldfein as Esper presented him with the Defense Distinguished Service Medal.

Esper honored Dawn Goldfein as well, presenting her with the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Award.“Gen. Goldfein, Dave, our Airmen thrive in today’s environment because of your strong leadership and your steadfast commitment to upholding the core values of the Air Force – integrity, service, and excellence, each and every day,” Esper said. “The United States of America is safer because of you. Thank you for your lifetime of service to our great nation.”

Moments later in remarks to the new Chief of Staff, Esper said, “In returning to the Pentagon, General Brown brings with him more than 35 years of service distinguished by a depth of expertise and experience that makes him exceptionally qualified to be our nation’s next Air Force Chief of Staff.

“I am confident you will take the Air Force to greater heights and I’m excited to watch you lead.”

In her remarks, Barrett offered similar praise for Goldfein’s service and accomplishments. Like others she expressed confidence that Brown has the correct mix of experience and temperament to lead the Air Force to a bright and dominant future.

Brown, she said, “brings a wealth of joint leadership experiences and global perspectives to his new role as 22nd chief of staff of the Air Force. Embodying the Air Force core values of integrity, service before self, and excellence in all we do, General Brown has the right character, experience, and perspective to lead the United States Air Force.”

Like Goldfein and those who came before, Brown as chief of staff is responsible for ensuring the Air Force is trained, ready and equipped to accomplish any mission at any time.

thunderbirds-f35

Yet he’s also taking the reins of an Air Force in transition, one moving from a decades-long priority on combating and containing terrorism to a new era of Great Power Competition. As part of that new focus, the Air Force and entire U.S. military must be trained, ready and properly equipped to confront, deter and if necessary, defeat, challenges from Russia and China. It also comes at a time of heightened challenges from North Korea and other geopolitical shifts across Asia.

In his remarks, Brown said he would work to build on Goldfein’s accomplishments while also adding his own imprint to assure that the Air Force remains the most advanced, professional and lethal in the world.

“I am committed to addressing today’s challenges while preparing for the future so we can better compete, deter, and win,” he said, surrounded by an unmistakable lineage of historic aircraft, including a gleaming chrome-plated P-51 Mustang, a fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II and a HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter.

“To do so, we must no longer defer, but must accelerate the needed change and tough choices we’ve often discussed. We must develop and empower leaders and provide the quality service and quality of life where our Airmen and families can reach their full potential,” he said.

Adding a dose of realism, Brown said, “No doubt there are challenges ahead that will be difficult, but not impossible. I look forward to working with the Joint Chiefs, providing our best military advice to address challenges the joint force faces today and will face in the future.”

As he noted in March when he was nominated to be chief of staff, Brown said again that he will continue to be guided by what he described as his “four tenets” of leadership – execute at a high standard; be disciplined in execution; pay attention to the details; and have fun.

In his farewell remarks, Goldfein like Brown listed those who influenced and shaped his career. Among others, he singled out Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright, calling him his “wingman.”

“Of all the decisions I made as chief, the best by far was hiring Chief Wright,” he said.

Goldfein also thanked his wife, Dawn, saying it was a “blessing” to have her “side by side” with him for his entire Air Force journey.

“For the past 37 years, she adjusted her dreams so I could follow mine,” he said.

Then, to Brown, Goldfein said, “As I took the chiefs walk for the final time (on Aug. 5), I could not be prouder that a true warrior, leader and personal friend will be taking his first walk of the chief tomorrow as chief of staff of the Air Force.

“Congratulations to both of you,” Goldfein said. “The future of our Air Force has never looked brighter!”

― U.S. Air Force

A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Register here, today! Discover more about this year’s $97 million Air Force technology transfer programs for small businesses and research institutions.  Powered by BDPA during vBDPA2020, learn step-by-step approaches to capture start-up funding and defense contracts with HBCUs and start-ups.

Air Force Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) HBCU Collider. Select here to register today.

%d bloggers like this: