Watch, Read: Future ISR Will Include AI for Faster Decision-Making

Maj. Gen. Leah G. Lauderback hosts Brad Reeves, director, C4ISR, Elbit Systems of America; JR Reid, vice president of strategic development, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems; and Luke Savoie, president, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, L3Harris Technologies, to discuss “ISR / Remote Sensing” at the AFA Warfare Symposium on March 4, 2022. This transcript is made possible through the sponsorship of JobsOhio.

Maj. Gen. Leah G. Lauderback: All right. Well, good morning, everyone. I hope you had a little bit of coffee in between the break there and are ready to get started talking about a topic of course that is near and dear to my heart. I’m the senior intelligence officer for the Space Force, Major General Leah Lauderback, if I have not met you yet, and we have a really great panel today to talk about ISR and remote sensing, both from an air and a space domain. I am hopeful that we’ll be able to talk a little bit about that as well. So the lineup of specialists that we’ve got today, I think they’re going to be able to talk to really maximizing and enhancing the capabilities that we look for in in those two domains. And then of course, how that helps to help the joint warfighter in all domains. So let me just do some introductions real quick. So Brad Reeves here, director of C4ISR at Elbit Systems of America. Brad is a retired Air Force colonel and fighter pilot who served as a director of the NATO Deployable Air Operations Center while in uniform. Mike Shortsleeve, who you do not see on the stage, who is the sector vice president of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems. He was unable to join us here at the very last minute. So JR Reid, thank you very much for being here. Vice President of Strategic Development, doing the pinch hitting for Mike today. Thank you, JR. And then finally, we have Luke Savoie in the middle here, president of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance at L3Harris technologies. In his role, he oversees a leading aerospace mission and modernization prime integrator to U.S. and international militaries for ISR, strike, and strategic command and control platforms. So first, what I’d like to ask you all to do is just take a minute or so to introduce yourselves, and kind of what you want to, if there are any thoughts immediate off the top of the head, off the top as to this topic for ISR and remote sensing. So Brad, I’ll start with you.

Brad Reeves: Thank you so much, General Lauderback. Well, first, if I can, I just want to admit how envious I am of our Airmen and Guardians in the room. And here’s why. Because you are going to make history. You get to do what only happens about once every quarter of a century. And that is rewrite completely the doctrine, TTPs of how our Air and Space Forces are going to fight a peer threat going forward. And so to me, that’s very exciting. Naturally, ISR is going to be a huge part of that, even more so important in that type of environment. And so here’s what I want for your future. In simple words, to be able to think faster, and break things faster. I think we all want that. But what that looks like is, it’s ISR that can leverage the capabilities of autonomy in AI to be able to increase the speed of decision making, and also to be able to decrease the kill web timeline. Right. And so what does that look like? Well, quickly, we go from how it was, to how it is, to how it can be, right? And so how it was, that’s kind of my generation. That’s the old guys in the room. And oh, by the way, you know who you are. If you flew airplanes, and everyday you took off, it was a GPS denied environment, then I’m talking to you. But in that time, just to share a quick story, what that was like for the ISR and getting information. I was sitting on the ramp, engines running, about to taxi, it was a combat mission. I get a call from ops and they say hold taxi, intel update en route. And so, sure enough, a young intel superstar Airman comes running down the ramp towards the jet, pop the canopy, he hands me physical, you know target paper pieces of paper with targets on it. We didn’t have the Link 16 and FMV, and all these great cool things right? And we take off, of course, there’s no more updates after that because he there’s no way to do that. And so that that’s not the future I want for you. Right, that’s certainly not enough. We have … especially thanks to General Atomics and L3Harris, you know we’ve got some really cool stuff going today on aircraft, there’s a lot of sensors integrated, you can correlate and fuse that stuff in a helmet that’s displayed to the pilot, gives a whole new meaning to the term death stare, right? So that’s pretty cool. But it’s still not enough for the future. So that’s not what I want for your future. But what it looks like, is very similar to your everyday life. When you walk out and you now have, you have activity and proliferated sensors everywhere and access to that, you can almost know everything. It’ll tell you what movie to watch, where you should shop. If you get lonely, Alexa and Siri are always there for you and they’re always listening. They’re always listening. So this is kind of you know, so now if you take that image, transplant that into on the military side and you imagine proliferated remote sensors, right? You have autonomous capability that can operate those at the edge, you have AI built in that can make sense of what they’re seeing and can then push recommended actions to the warfighters. And the warfighter could be a pilot, a console operator, could be someone in the SPOC, could be someone in a DCGS, could be ISR-D, CRCs, ASOCs, all that information is now available. So that’s what I want for your future. It’s ISR capability that leverages autonomy and AI capability to increase decision-making speed, decrease kill web timeline, think faster, break things faster. That’s what I hope for your future and I look forward to the conversation today.

Lauderback: Thank you, Brad. I like that future very much. How about you, Luke?

Luke Savoie: Yeah, sure. I’ll sum it up in one word, when we look at it. The one word is trust, right. We’ve done over the last, it’s hard to say 20 years, over 20 years in the War on Terror. The unconventional fight, we brought an enormous amount of tools to bear to build up information. And that has created an enormous amount of trust in every action that we do. Whether a decision-maker has confidence in what they’re doing. A person who is watching a target, which I spent an enormous amount of time doing in U-28s and gunships, understanding the atmospherics of what’s going on before they strike, or put boots on the ground to do direct action. And as we transition now, and geopolitical events are a pacing item that do that, right, we don’t have the luxury of 2035 roadmaps. You know, roadmaps are great on PowerPoint, but the adversary does what they do, and we have to, you know, outpace that as a pacing item on how we transition. But how do you model trust so that when you look at disaggregated systems, or you look how you work in contested environments, between, whether that is, how you bring the space layer into it, and people talk about, hey, how do I get, you know, dots out of a space layer onto an ATAC on a guy’s arm, and in when you talk to that guy about his ATAC on his arm, he’s like, I don’t want dots on it. I just want to trust the information. I’d rather have someone tell me something in the air. And just I have confidence that they know what they’re saying. And so how do we do that. And every tool that we bring to bear, whether it is you know, AI/ML, or the next buzzword that’s out there, it has to drive trust. And that’s what our future will be. So that when we are working in these very highly maneuvered elements, with very contested comms and our sensors completely disaggregated around the battlefield, the sensor, the shooter, and the decision maker all have high confidence in what they’re doing.

Lauderback: Thank you, Luke. That’s great. Thank you. How about yourself, JR?

JR Reid: Good morning. Thank you, Ma’am. Thanks for letting me sit on the panel, replace Mike. I was not the better looking guy in the middle there. So I’m retired Air Force as well, was a Herc driver, C-17 driver, and then have been in the unmanned business for about nine years, kind of looking at all of the DOD. I like the, kind of the one-word summation that you provided. My one word is going to be risk. And so I’m taking my perspective, both as a former uniformed officer in our service, and now as a businessman. And I think our unmanned … your perspective is from where you come, right, and nine years in this business. I’m going to give you an unmanned perspective. And we’re not bold enough. There is there we are tepid when it comes to taking risk. It’s unmanned. Yeah, an MQ-9. It’s not like it’s free. Yes, it costs something. But where are we really pushing boundaries when it comes to risk? And to quote, our chief of staff, right, accelerating change, we’re crawling through change, we’ve got to be more bold. I mean, if the current environment tells us anything, we’ve got to be bold, we’ve got to take risks, we’ve got to explore all the opportunities. So that, because trust is there. In industry, trust is, you can have it now with data, you really can implement that trust, take a little more risk. And you’ll be amazed at what we have the capabilities to provide all the warfighters out there. So I’ll be kind of centering on some of those discussions today.

Lauderback: Okay, excellent. Thank you very much for those one word, and more than multiple word, opening pitches. Let me ask, I mean, this is a topic we could talk about, I’m sure, for the entire rest of the time that we have. But the next conflict, what does that look like? We know that that’s going to be contested, denied areas where we might not be able to get manned into. It’s going to require much more, I think from a space capability looking down. We also need to be looking up, as I like to say, in the Space Force to be able to characterize what’s on orbit as well. But across all of those domains, what do you think our ISR architecture needs to look like in order to be successful in a contested and denied near peer contest? In the future? Brad, I’ll start with you and then just open it up.

Reeves: Yeah, sure. So I love the question, because it helps us think through what the problem sets are. Right? And so I’ll start by saying, I don’t have all the answers clearly. So hopefully, I don’t portray that I do. But I’ll just will offer some thoughts that I have on this. And those are that we will, it will require some resiliency, right. So the kind of the future I was painting, one of the challenges of that, or the risk there, is that things have to be networked. So it’s pretty easy to do in the US with all this all the data and bandwidth we have. But in a contested graded environment, certainly anti-access area denial environment, it’s going to be a lot more difficult, because we’re now not as far forward. And so part of that is, we won’t have the luxury we’ve had over the last two decades where we have boots on the ground right in the middle of the conflict. We will have limited systems. So there’ll be exquisite systems that can get forward. And we’ll have to rely on those. There’ll be many unmanned systems, as you know, we’ll have to rely on those a bit. It will take resiliency and networks to make sure that we can actually connect that stuff and get the data back to the warfighter. It’s going to be critical, as General Lauderback mentioned, that we have all available assets, this is almost redundancy, or it’s an all-in type of fight where the space layer is, is connected to the terrestrial layer, which is connected to the platforms. And so we will have to leverage everything. And we’ll have to be able to leverage the goodness of space. And for the times where maybe a satellite is, let’s just say blinded, for example, in one spot, and maybe there’s a terrestrial layer that picks that up, and maybe it’s degraded, but you can still fill in that gap. Maybe on the ground, you can’t get as close. So you’re not able to actually put eyes on from the ground, from a ground sensor or an airborne sensor. But possibly you can do that from a space sensor. And so, you know, we have some, we call them stovepipes of excellence. Right. You know, we have some of those in our military today, and we’re making great progress to break those down. And that’s, you know, this is the whole this is what JADC2 is all about, you know, just to throw another buzzword in. While that buzz word is, is kind of the latest and greatest, I’m sure there’ll be another label for it in the future. But the meaning behind it is still relevant. And the meaning is that we do have to leverage the resources that all the services bring, whether it’s space, air, land, sea, subsurface, you know, depending on whether we’re talking Pacific fight, there’s a, you know, we at least think of subsurface as another domain. That’s the way we think of that, because we have to have awareness below the surface of the sea. So naturally, we haven’t talked cyber, and I know we’re not going to go there today. But clearly, that’s a domain that we’ll have to battle in. So for me, so connecting all those together, and having a network that’s resilient to be able to do that. So you can leverage all of those capabilities, I think, to a point of convergence, is going to be where we need to go in the future to overwhelm the enemy. Which is really ultimately what we want to do to create that asymmetric advantage that we all enjoy.

Savoie: When it comes down to space and we have to look at it, One, it’s a domain and it’s a maneuver domain now, right? So it’s an operable maneuver domain, along the entirety of the scheme of maneuver of any conflict. When we look at it, we really need to be thinking about three things. One’s agility, one is affordability, and then one is multimodality. We’re not going to be afforded for like one trick ponies, though, size and scale do drive that, but the micronization of things in terms of how we’ve gotten things down the capabilities of cubesats are enormously powerful, where we are capable of doing you know, Midway EO or GMTI types of things, even in small packages, that addresses multi-modality and it also addresses affordability and the micronization in the size. The agility piece is one we don’t talk a lot, right? We have fixed infrastructure for how to inject things into that domain. And then Newtonian physics takes over and it becomes a very predictable, you know, maneuver, right. I mean, it’s up there. It does what it does, and the laws of physics kind of take over and fuel and stuff like that, you know, prevents you from making significant maneuver. So we know talk a lot about, hey, how do we, on demand in an agile environment, create constellations. We don’t talk about a lot, hey, what happens if our fixed infrastructure, Vandenberg, the Cape, right? I mean, we’re literally to hypersonics and now we have no way of doing combat loss replacement, or adding capability to that, and denied, right. So, you know, I personally, I do a lot of work with Virgin Orbit, we’ve actually helped build that current aircraft, but you look at that type of capability, how does that play into the agility side of it, both the ability to create very interesting orbit geometries in LEO, the ability to combat loss replacement, the ability to on demand, you know, I’m a SOF guy by trade. So I started now looking at what is SOF’s role, you know, in space, right? And is that, hey, how do you deploy four satellites for a four-hour window when we talk about n minus one to create an effect or capability. And space plays, and will it will play a role, you know, in that n minus one to the left of bang type of opportunity.

Reid: So, I’m going to take a little different tack to the question. The question focused on, you know, how does, how does space act in the next fight, a contested fight? I’ll contend that the contested fight is started, right? The competition environment is well underway. And it’s been well underway. It’s geopolitics. And I think when it comes to space, we’ve shown a dependency. And it has provided great agility for our force in order to maneuver, in order to pass data. And I think the redundancy that is being put in place in the space layer, so that it’s, it’s not Ku you it’s not Ka, it’s not just GEO, it’s not just MEO. It’s not just LEO, it’s all of it. And the tight pairing of it, though, with your air layer, and then your ground layer to offer the redundancy. So that as you are operating over the spectrum of conflict, that will be for decades, and I contend in a competition environment, may be for days, weeks, or, or months in a contested environment, and back to a competition environment, you got to be able to jump from the layers, you got to be able to use space, when it’s there. When I can’t get to exactly what I want, I go to my alternate, when I can’t get to that, I maybe move to my space, moved to my air layer, and be able to move seamlessly through all of those places in order to deliver the effects that airpower brings throughout the spectrum of conflict.

Lauderback: Okay, thank you. How about with the amount of or the proliferation of ISR capabilities that are, you know, coming online or in the future? I mean, with the commercialization of space as an example, that we can, I mean, there’s only going to be more sensors to gather more data. So the question is really, how do you specifically see getting that data to the right folks. You talked a bit about sensing, of course. And so now that it’s a capability of, like, sifting through all of that data, turning that into intelligence or turning that into something actionable for, for somebody that’s going to put lead on target, if you will, thoughts.

Savoie: And I think, you know, we use big data’s, these buzzwords that are kind of out there, right. So I mean, the good thing is, and space has kind of led this, I think in the video world, we’ve adopted extra standards that the national technical means and what has been done in the past on stills, and when we go back to it, I mean, they really were actually, space was the leader in creating open standards for things like metadata tagging, how you do rectification of things, etc. So it brings that commonality to it, right. It doesn’t matter if it’s a, you know, a Maxar open satellite, or if I’m, you know, sitting on the high side, you know, looking at something [inaudible] type of thing, which is great. So applying, you know, the big data analytics that we have out there, which is honestly our space problem, is an easy problem, right? I mean, how does Facebook listen to every microphone and every camera on every phone on the planet Earth, and sift through that and figure out that, you know, I like venti chai lattes, right? I mean, how does it figure that out? When I said it three minutes ago, and, you know, gives me an advertisement queued up for that. It really does come down, though, to a lot of metadata tagging, and it comes down to how do you get things down to that piece? Cloud is, you know, how we scale processing is—We are very tactile people in terms of the government likes to buy things they’d like to see what they buy. It’s very good to see now what we’re doing in the Gov cloud and the secure side, because that’s really where we have to scale processing. Because that’s exactly what the commercial side does. They don’t have, you know, server farms where it’s a one to one ratio, they really scale from, you know, burying in the in the ocean floor server farms everywhere that were with the distributed processing, etc. So, and we need to follow suit on that to manage the data.

Watch, Read: Future ISR Will Include AI for Faster Decision-Making

Reid: I just have a just a quick comment. Just to kind of tag on to that. It’s when I said, my opening comments are taking risk. Moving quick, you know, you just talked about best in breed applications that are here today. You can use them right now. You know, I don’t care if it’s Google or Microsoft, if it’s Facebook, they’re there. They’re sifting through, I can’t even describe the amounts of data that they’re sifting through and applying it as needed. Let’s move quickly in that arena. I compliment what JAIC is doing right now. Because they’re trying to run fast with scissors. They are really taking some bold steps and some bold moves. But the amount of information, and I think we also got to be careful when I say this, I don’t want to be to questioning you. You can look at all the data and just be drowned in it. Right, you got to look at the right data. That’s got to be looking in the right spaces. We can use some best in breed practices that are available in the commercial space to help us sift through it quicker, you know, get the information out of the data to the warfighter. But that’s those are the kind of applications that you can do right now.

Savoie: And I will say that just add on to this. Those best of breed systems we talk about are not a pull, you do not ask Facebook for ads, it gives it to you, it’s a push. And so when we talk about how it feeds data to the consumer, the consumer does very little asking, it gets told a lot of things. And so and that’s, that’s a difference of paradigm for how a lot of our systems are, query and ask for X, Y, and Z over this area. No, the system should be predictive in nature, right. We should have saw early last week, Wow, why is the system giving me a bunch of metadata or is bringing a lot of focus to Eastern Europe? I mean, that’s kind of weird, right? I mean, that’s what, but honestly, had we been oriented the same way, it would have naturally have done that those tools exist today. That’s not science fiction. I mean, if we would have applied the same principles, the same really … the same AI’s that they had in a slightly different way? I mean, honestly, that’s what the system would have told us is, I think you really want to talk about this. This is what this is what you want to really pay attention to.

Reeves: No, I think I think those are really good thoughts. And that, you know, the question is, how do you get all that data that’s available out there, all the sensors we have? And how do you get that to the people that need it? And, it’s the, you know, part of that future state is the, you can just sum it up as AI enabled decision making, right? So that’s how the commercial world is doing all this and how exactly what Luke was referring to. When you just you have a conversation with your spouse, you’re talking about that you like the Corvette that just drove by. And next thing you know that you’re flooded with Corvette advertisements, right from Chevrolet. That technology exists. Now militarizing it is a whole other step, right? Again, there’s, there are privileges that the commercial world has. And the biggest one is they operate in a completely permissive environment where no one is trying to attack them and stop them. We have the exact opposite problem. So how do you now handle that? How do you bring something to bear to solve that problem? Well, it’s really good, I believe, at least the way we see it, as we see that you’re going to have to have AI processing at the edge. So the sensors are going to have to do a lot of that work for you. The if you have the modern model, the commercial model, which is, you know, huge centralized data lakes. I mean, these buildings, you know, that are using nuclear power plants just to keep on going because there’s all this compute power in there. You know, for the military, that’s just an easy target, right? So you take that out and now you’ve just taken our advantage away. So we will have to leverage the technology, to have edge processing, to have that AI and the algorithms there that can help us make those decisions. So again, they see something, they make sense of it, they push a recommendation, recommended action to us. And oh by the way, we have to have that technology to help us connect all these sensors because we have a space ops center that’s going to be monitored, you know, that may be monitoring space. You may have a DCGS, it’s maybe it’s monitoring, you know, RQ-4s and U-2s, etc., you know, you have, you have an Army intel section, you know, and they’re there with their, their systems and what they’re monitoring. And all that stuff again, today is almost swivel chair tactics, right? So you’re in Jchat and you see that satellite found something, maybe that makes it a Jchat window, you swivel over this computer and now you transcribe from one to the next to let someone know that and it’s almost this telephone game, right? Very manual, very human in the loop driven, you know, to get that overwhelming advantage to it to think faster and break things faster. It will require that AI processing at the edge to do that work for us.

Lauderback: So let me get back to some of your opening comments about risk and then trust. And I’ll ask, do we have, do you think there’s trust built up between industry and then the Department of Defense to be able to capitalize or to be successful in this next JADC2, or whatever it is that we you know, in the contested environment that we want to be successful in passing all of the data in, you know, all of the sensors that are sucking up information? I mean, do you think that, One, we’re taking enough risk? I think I know the answer to that. Second question is do we have the trust between our industries, if you will, to be successful? What do you think, JR?

Reid: Sure, I’ll take a take a stab since I use the word first. I think they’re stressed. I know they’re stressed. I mean, so many of us that do our job right now, as I said in my opening comments, we wore the uniform and we do our job, because all we see is, you know, we want to make our nation stronger, more secure. And so I think there’s trust, almost kind of bringing in this last conversation, talking to Amazon or Facebook, you got data. The thing that I see not happening, is doing something in and trying not to speak from a position of ignorance on the many activities that we have going out with JADC2 and ABMS. And the demos we did before and the and the ways we’re moving out, we’re trying to connect stuff. But I’ll tell you, from my industry’s perspective, I would like to see us talking to Amazon. Let’s put an Alexa on the table. Let’s mention Corvette as it drives by. I want to run that through a cubesat over to a rivet joint, pat on existing data links that he makes, that can pass through an MQ-9, then link it through Link 16. And then have a F-35 target a Corvette. We can do it. I don’t see it happening. I don’t see the scale. I’m a crawl, walk run kind of guy, you know, let’s take bites at this elephant. Because the the amount of data that we talked about is it’s a mess. But let’s take some bites of this elephant, deliberate bites, let’s take some risk and go and let’s fail 1,000 times in order to get one right. But let’s do it again and again and again. So that we can we can get to the point where I really didn’t want a Corvette, I wanted a Porsche. And I can figure it out. Because of the interactions that can occur right now, with ensuring that we get the right data passing over existing data links with existing platforms to have decision advantage.

Savoie: It’s ironic, because I actually, we’ve actually talked about taking Alexas and just putting them at every one of the operating stations in the RJ and putting the headset on it and going. If we wanted tech, the methods are there for how to like get the stuff in there. If you really want to do an interesting demonstration of what does the system kind of come up with? That’s this is something you can do for about $1,500. But I would say that to continue kind of the conversation to trust as their expectations and understanding the business models is tough, right? We use these best of breed examples. And then but the expectation is, well, hey, I mean, Android is free. Well, sort of, right? I mean, it is but they get to listen to everything you do, and they monetize you, right? So we look at these environments, the commercial business model does not translate over to the defense side. So when you’re building an infrastructure from scratch, without billions of dollars of venture capital behind you, and by the way, business models where your margins are, you know, 70%, they’re not 10%. Right? Those things and how they translate over is always kind of where we always get our wires crossed. Right. No pun intended. And that’s not a trust problem. That’s just an expectations and understanding thing, business acumen, understanding the models behind all of that. Overcomable things. But we all we all run into software things and people are like, why software so expensive? You’re like, because those other things are free, but they make it up on the back end, and you just don’t understand how the how they monetize it.

Reeves: Oh, it’s good. You know, one, I see a very positive trend. And so Joe [Inaudible], I think he started this. I’m not I’ll give him credit, at least. He’s at ACC, and, and he started a classified briefing that he’s sharing with industry. And that is gold for us. Because we understand what’s, you know, for a lot of folks in industry, there’s folks issues have been in the Air Force or, Space Force is a little harder to sell to. But understand, right. But where you’re going, a lot of the information, especially when we’re now starting to get into A2AD, peer threat we’re getting in, you’re starting to get behind some doors, there’s barriers. And industry has to be pulled along in that conversation. And so I just want to say that was a huge step, because it’s sharing information, because there’s a partnership in the military industrial complex that has to occur. And that partnership goes like this. The Airmen and Guardians know the requirements that you are the experts in how to fight a future battle, right? Like that is your expertise. What you may not know is what the realm of the possible is from a technological standpoint. And so that’s where industry’s expertise is, now we know what the realm of the possible is. And so if you can marry those two together, which is what the US has done so marvelously through history, that’s where you get, the great power happens. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s a little late, because it may take a big conflict to really get all those dialogues going and get those the things moving. And as you know, technology takes time to develop and to get fielded and to get it to the point—And oh, by the way, which is extremely important to us is that it has to work, right? You know, there’s a different, you know, if you’re driving down the car, and you ask Siri for something, and she doesn’t know the answer, OK, it’s not the end of the world, you know. But if you’re in an aircraft, you know, it has to work, whatever industry’s providing for you, it has to work, we don’t have the option of failing. And so that is a whole other layer that, again, the commercial world, generally speaking, doesn’t have to worry about. So, so that dialogue, I just want to encourage, I mean, I think there’s absolutely trust, I think the relationships are great, but I would just encourage more and more of that type of dialogue. And also understand, you know, when I was, you know, when you’re an Active duty, you got SIPRnet are JWICS, or whatever, it’s like at your fingertips 24 hours a day, you know, seven days a week. That’s not the case in industry. It doesn’t matter who you are, it’s very compartmentalized. And so we don’t have that same level of SA that you have, and it takes effort, obviously, for on your part to, you know, to try to share that with us. But that dialogue is absolutely critical.

LauderbackYeah, thank you. I asked that question because I wanted to, you know, I think there’s about 50, or maybe 70% of the audience in here are our Airmen and Guardians who are probably asking, like, you know, yes, I want to get better at this. How do I, and then how do I partner with, with industry to make it happen?

Reid: Can I just add one, one, comment back to your point, just there. If you’re in a position, and when you’re trying to make an acquisition decision, or a test decision or something, just make a decision, you’re not going to hurt our feelings. You like his stuff better, it’s better, you think it’s better go with it, go with it. Test it, fail, and then come to me. Or, or it works and you keep moving, right? Because industry needs that feedback. So I can look and go, you know, his stuff is better. How come? All right, back to the drawing board. Industry has internal research and defense dollars, right, that we’d love to sink into making something better, but we don’t know unless we’re it we’re allowed to partner. And even if it’s not a contract, right, it’s look for ways to just go, hey, I want to do a cooperative research agreement with you. Let’s just let’s do let’s again, run fast with scissors and take the risk and fail and go do it. But don’t be afraid to pick a vendor. Don’t be afraid to pick just, pick one. Pick one, go succeed. If you hit a brick wall, right, in pilot training, they said, hey, I’m coming to the edge of the my operating area. Alright, student, you got to turn left? Right, up, down? What are you gonna do? I don’t know, I don’t know, I’m coming to the edge of the operating area. What should I do? What should I do? Pick one. Because it’s going to put you in a new direction, it’s gonna lead to new opportunities, and you’re going to, there’s new pathways to find success.

Savoie: I would say also just don’t be, we’re all adults, right? I mean, there seems to be this mentality. And when I was in a service, I just, I got embedded with the contractor, right? We were building airplanes really, really quick. When we were doing the U-28. We had two weeks to deploy with it the moment we got it. So I mean, there was no time, right? So we embedded ourselves with the contractor. You know, I lived in the plants and then trained people then and then took the plane downrange myself, but had to be part of that process. And that set a tone and our end user’s right there. We, people talk about the customer. And we talk about like the contracts folks and the PMOs as the customer just because they’re the ones write the checks. But you know, someone gave them money, and someone uses the stuff. And it’s a customer mindset across the board. But it’s really a team, right? And so people, we’re not scared to have people in the buildings and collaborating and part of the process constantly. Specs are specs, right? They were written by someone and headquarters, they’ve been staffed and looked at. But there’s a lot of white space between each one of those lines in terms of the context of the whys. And we’re always looking for the whys, right? And making sure that everything meets its intent, along with the letter of the spec. And so be involved. And you’ll find very industry very, very receptive to having people involved and we know what’s in scope, we know how to take contractual direction and all those things. We know how to do that. And that does not that does not preclude people from being involved, so be involved.

Lauderback: Thank you. Thanks, really, for those techniques, and some tactics there. Brad, you had talked about classified briefings that are happening. I know that in the Space Force specifically, we’ve started to do that as we’re trying to develop the force design for what is it that we need on orbit for a resilient architecture and for getting, right, making, making everyone successful from a warfighting perspective? So thank you for that. Okay, I think we’ve only got a couple of more minutes. So the only last thing, and you may or may not have expertise in this area, but I do. And so I’m asking a question about, as the senior intelligence officer for the Space Force, there are capabilities on orbit today that we can and cannot characterize, just like we need to be able to characterize on the ground or in any other domain. I guess the question is, are you thinking, or your company’s thinking at all about that about looking up and helping us to gain that persistence that we might need as well as the high fidelity of a sensor to be able to truly characterize out to 47,000 kilometers what it is that an adversary might be doing? Any thoughts?

Reeves: Well, so certainly, we are. Now another way, we’re approaching largely as obvious as you know, AMTI, GMTI is a big is a big, important, right, and we need to be able to leverage those assets for that. So there’s two parts because I think we don’t have much time. One is, is making sure we can connect and correlate and fuse the AMTI GMTI of space terrestrial layer, point one. Two, we also need to make sure that we can get that data. That’s all the cool stuff from satellites, it’s generally reserved for the privileged few. We need to democratize that and get it to everyone.

Lauderback: Thanks, Brad.

Savoie: But, you know, most certainly, I mean, I would say especially, you know, at my company, we’re, significant investment on the sensor side, you know, larger and larger apertures, lighter weight, less power. A lot of the connectivity pieces. You know, I’ve been directly involved a lot the space avionics piece, the entirety of that business was the connectivity. How do you get data from GEO or LEO contested etc., but we’re only, I mean, we’re primarily looking up from a business perspective. Even in you know, the air breather side that I manage, where we’re trying to get as high up in the air as we can, but I will say a predominance of the focus is in that arena, both on the sensing side, like you said, GMTI, etc. How do you have collaborative radar you know, in that layer with also air breathers etc. But there’s a lot of looking up and I know we look to partner both in the classified side in the unclass side and you know, whole vehicle architectures etc. for that.

Reid: Just come back to my comments previously, obviously, you know, we have beyond line of sight operations, you know, globally with unmanned airplanes. So our dependency on the capabilities that space brings is, is an absolute, but we need redundancy. Right. And that comes back to this, you know, I got to use it. But I’ve also got to have, you know, kind of, I’ve got to degrade gracefully, you know, in those environments, until I can go in and get back up into that, you know, the the gold standard, which is what space provides me. And so I think we got to make sure that, you know, we’re investing appropriately in space. Ensuring that we can, we can degrade gracefully, when, when the situation and the conditions require it, and then move back up into it.

Lauderback: Excellent. Thank you. Thanks very much. I love the idea of looking up and being able to characterize things on orbit as we will absolutely need to. So can I get a round of applause for our panelists? Thank you. And it’s, just so you know, in lieu of the speaker gifts this year, AFA made a donation to enable our airmen and guardians to participate in the poolside barbecue last night. So thank you very much. So right before I leave, and I know we’re already over, but I really thank you for the risk, the trust, right, those one-words that you used in the beginning, and then the ability to be able to write our own doctrine. Right, to be able to be successful in a in a peer conflict that probably is coming. And we can, we’ve got a lot of work to do in order to get there. So thanks very much to you all. Alright, hey, next up, we’ve got a 30 minute coffee break in the Exposition Hall. So please take some time to check out the exhibits, build the trust, communicate with the industry, and if you haven’t had a if you haven’t been able to do that yet. Next session starts back up at 9:45. So thank you so much.

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