JED - February 2016 - (Page 12)

message f rom the pre side nt BALANCING EW INNOVATION W The Journal of Electronic Defense | February 2016 12 hat does EW innovation mean, and how might it be fostered and endure? Historically, the Electronic Warfare (EW) Science and Technology (S&T) community has been fairly good at balancing its investments between long-term research into the "state of the possible" and nearer-term tech applications to existing EW systems or on-going programs of record. With the pressures on EW S&T funding over the past several years, however, the pendulum remains stuck towards nearer-term solutions at the expense of long-term vision. So how do we spark EW innovation that can re-establish this balance? Certainly many look to DARPA and its remarkably successful partnership with the Service labs. In fact, many of the advanced concepts we routinely hear about today, such as "cognitive," "distributed," "pre-emptive/proactive," etc., were founded in the Service S&T laboratories about 10 years ago. Today, these concepts are being pursued across the US EW community, as well its global partners. But all of this still happens under the shadow of that stuck pendulum. I offer a couple of "back to the future" observations - and maybe a pathway back to what I'll call "full spectrum innovation" that balances near-term S&T initiatives with longer-term "state of the possible" research. First, a mentor of mine some 25-plus years ago in OSD, who was our tri-service EW S&T "watch dog," would often strongly critique our collective EW S&T strategy for not taking enough risk. I remember him saying to us that we were not pushing the EW state of the art if we didn't fail 20 percent of the time. It's difficult for a Pentagon leader or a congressman to imagine the concept of "failing" as an essential key performance parameter (KPP) when hundreds of millions of dollars are being requested for EW S&T programs, but ask the CTO of any commercial tech company and they will tell you that true innovation requires true risk. The other observation is a concept receiving mention (although somewhat buried) in the more recent EW Technology Task Force study report completed in about 2010. One of its recommendations focused on the notion of "parallel experimentation." This is rooted in the fairly common practice - 25 years ago - wherein the Services could award two, or even three, competing EW S&T contracts to identify the best solution to a problem. Today, the Services typically can only back one horse - but what if it's the wrong one? Hence conservatism and risk aversion tend to set in, which stifle the high degree of innovation we need to pursue. If EW revitalization is to succeed and reverse the erosion of EW superiority (one of the principal observations in the 2013 Defense Science Board Summer Study on EMS operations), innovation needs to be fostered at the S&T level by robustly nurturing a long-term, competitive, "parallel" research environment (requiring an increase in EW S&T funding in the Services), and by realizing that innovation pathways may sometimes yield failures. Yet those failures, in their counterintuitive way, can help ensure operational success in the battlespace. - Dave Hime Association of Old Crows 1000 North Payne Street, Suite 200 Alexandria, VA 22314-1652 Phone: (703) 549-1600 Fax: (703) 549-2589 PRESIDENT Dave Hime VICE PRESIDENT Lisa Fruge-Cirilli SECRETARY Powder Carlson TREASURER Joe Koesters PAST PRESIDENT Ken Israel AT-LARGE DIRECTORS Jesse Bourque Todd Caruso Vickie Greenier Craig Harm Brian Hinkley Amanda Kammier Mark Schallheim Muddy Watters APPOINTED DIRECTORS Robert Elder Anthony Lisuzzo Dr. Richard Wittstruck REGIONAL DIRECTORS Southern: Lisa Fruge-Cirilli Central: Joe Koesters Northeastern: Nino Amoroso Mountain-Western: Sam Roberts Mid-Atlantic: Jim Pryor Pacific: Darin Nielsen International I: Robert Andrews International II: Jeff Walsh IO: Al Bynum AOC CONTACTS Mike Dolim Executive Director Shelley Frost Director, Logistics Glorianne O'Neilin Director, Member Services Brock Sheets Director, Marketing Stew Taylor Exhibits Manager Tim Hutchison Marketing & Communications Coordinator Ken Miller Director, Advocacy Programs John Clifford Director, Global Conferences Philip DuPree Director, US Operations

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - February 2016

The View From Here
Conferences Calendar
Courses Calendar
From the President
The Monitor
World Report
Alternatives to Positioning, Navigation and Timing
Future Operating Environment 2035
Technology Survey: FPGA Boards
The Heat is On
EW 101
AOC News
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look

JED - February 2016