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EDGE

FROM THE ARMY ACQUISITION EXECUTIVE

THE HONORABLE HEIDI SHYU

I often refer to science and technology (S&T) investment as the seed corn of our future. There is no doubt that an enduring pillar of our national security stems from the technological advantage that our world-class research institutions have engendered. Our Army remains the best-trained, best-equipped fighting force in the world—an accomplishment that is attributable, in part, to the cutting-edge technologies applied to Soldier weapons, equipment, infrastructure, and training.

As threats evolve and the pace of technological change accelerates, however, we must work to retain our leading advantage. The future suggests that disruptive technologies may proliferate, which could complicate our ability to conduct future operations against a variety of threats, to include asymmetric and nonstate actors. Unconventional threats, to include cyber attacks and electronic warfare, present unique dangers. We must also prepare for a future in which our ability to conduct command and control of operations is challenged by hostile actors using technologies that may become more accessible and advanced over time.

We must make the right investments in S&T to maintain this technological advantage. The Army is working to assess its longterm investment priorities—across a 30-year timeframe—as part of this effort. This calls for a sanguine evaluation of threats and emerging future gaps in capability, followed by a carefully planned road map for translating scientific research into future fielded equipment.

CHALLENGE AREAS

Looking ahead, our S&T priorities are likely to relate to several key challenges the Army must address with future capabilities. These challenge areas span a wide range of missions, while focusing on protecting and empowering our Soldiers.

The Force Protection challenge area relates to our overriding commitment to keep our Soldiers safe as they conduct a wide range of dangerous missions. This is reflected in our pursuit of the very best vehicle and Soldier equipment available in the world, to include ongoing upgrades to existing Soldier body armor and protective gear, blast-resistant armor in combat vehicles, and protection in forward operating bases.

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