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25 Aug 22. Biden signs order on $52bn chips law implementation. President Joe Biden on Thursday signed an executive order on implementation of the $52.7bn semiconductor chips manufacturing subsidy and research law, the White House said.
Earlier this month, Biden signed the bill to boost efforts to make the United States more competitive with China’s science and technology efforts. By subsidizing U.S. chip manufacturing and expanding research funding, the law aims to alleviate a persistent shortage that has affected everything from cars and weapons to washing machines and video games.
The “Chips and Science” law also includes an investment tax credit for chip plants estimated to be worth $24bn.
The White House said the Commerce Department launched CHIPS.gov. The department will make funding awards for chips production.
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said the department has been preparing for months for the program.
“We are committed to a process that is transparent and fair,” Raimondo said. “We will move as swiftly as possible to deploy these funds, while also ensuring the time needed to perform due diligence.”
Biden’s order sets six primary priorities to guide implementation and establishes a 16-member interagency CHIPS implementation council to be co-chaired by National Economic Director Brian Deese, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, and Acting Office of Science and Technology Policy Director Alondra Nelson. The council will include the secretaries of Defense, State, Commerce, Treasury, Labor and Energy.
It is still not clear when Commerce will formally make available semiconductor chips funding for prospective applications or how long it will take to make awards.
The White House said the chips program “will include rigorous review of applications along with robust compliance and accountability requirements to ensure taxpayer funds are protected and spent wisely.”
Progressives argued the bill is a giveaway to profitable chips companies that previously closed U.S. plants, but Biden argued earlier “this law is not handing out blank checks to companies.” (Source: Reuters)
25 Aug 22. U.S. Should Not Surrender Clean Energy Technology to China, DOD Official Says. China has made it very clear that clean energy technology also results in geostrategic power, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for environment and energy resilience said.
Richard Kidd spoke today at the virtual GovExec 2022 Climate Summit.
China has invested in a whole range of clean energy technologies, he said. “The United States cannot surrender that lead to any other country and expect to remain a preeminent global power.”
The Defense Department is investing in a range of technologies that will help keep pace with or stay out in front of China, technologies that will assist troops in contested operations, and technologies that will also mitigate or reduce greenhouse gas emissions, he said.
The department only invests in clean energy technologies that will also have mission benefits, Kidd said.
Microgrids, solar power and batteries have dramatically helped reduce fuel deliveries in remote combat sites
Making aircraft more efficient through things like blended wing design to increase lift
Small nuclear power reactors might be used in the future for installation power
Research is being conducted in DOD on the use of lasers or directed-energy weapons systems
Longer term aspirations include power beaming, space-based power and robotic delivery of stored energy on the battlefield
“There’s still a gap between where we want to be and the technology that we currently have. So there’s going to have to be tremendous additional investment in technology,” Kidd said, mentioning that DOD investments for mission success would likely have benefits to the U.S. commercial sector.
For example, DOD has about 30% of the microgrid market and that can have positive spillover effects for industry and consumers, he said.
In addition to new technologies, Kidd mentioned the adverse effects of climate change on troops, equipment and installations, whether from droughts, flooding or heatwaves.
“We’re playing a range of war games now where energy and climate are factored into the war games. The climate helps set the scenario and energy is contested,” Kidd said, meaning under enemy attack.
“We recognize that we will not be able to move energy in an unconstrained manner around the battlefield the way we’ve been able to do in the past,” he added. (Source: US DoD)
25 Aug 22. Civilian Harm Mitigation and Response Action Plan Fact Sheet.
On August 25, 2022, the Department of Defense (DoD) released its Civilian Harm Mitigation and Response Action Plan (CHMR-AP), which lays out a series of major actions DoD will implement to mitigate and respond to civilian harm.
The plan, directed by the Secretary of Defense, creates new institutions and processes that will improve strategic outcomes, optimize military operations, and strengthen DoD’s ability to mitigate civilian harm during operations through a reinforcing framework. It will facilitate continued learning throughout DoD, enhance DoD’s approach to assessments and investigations, and improve DoD’s ability to effectively respond when civilian harm occurs. The actions set forth in the CHMR-AP build upon each other to improve accountability and transparency regarding civilian harm resulting from U.S. military operations. DoD will begin implementing the CHMR-AP immediately. Certain actions set forth in the plan can be taken now, while others will require additional time to properly implement.
Under the Civilian Harm Mitigation and Response-Action Plan, DoD will:
- Establish a civilian protection center of excellence to serve as the hub and facilitator for DoD-wide analysis, learning, and training related to civilian harm mitigation and response (CHMR);
- Provide commanders and operators with more information to better understand the civilian environment; Incorporate guidance for addressing civilian harm across the full spectrum of armed conflict into doctrine and operation plans so that we are prepared to mitigate and respond to civilian harm in any future fight;
- Develop standardized civilian harm operational reporting and data management processes, including the development of a centralized, enterprise-wide data management platform, which will improve how DoD collects, shares, and learns from data related to civilian harm;
- Improve our ability to assess and respond to civilian harm resulting from our operations;
- Incorporate CHMR into exercises, training, and professional military education across the Joint force;
- Incorporate CHMR into security cooperation and operations with allies and partners;
- Establish a CHMR Steering Committee, which will be co-chaired by senior DoD leadership and which will convene regularly to provide executive leadership, oversight, and guidance during all phases of the action plan to facilitate its timely and effective implementation; and
- Designate the Secretary of the Army as DoD’s joint proponent for CHMR.
As directed by the CHMR-AP, and under the leadership and oversight of the Secretary of Defense, DoD leadership, and the CHMR Steering Committee, the Department will continue to improve its approach to mitigating and responding to civilian harm.
Protecting civilians from harm in connection with military operations is not only a moral imperative, it is also critical to achieving long-term success on the battlefield. Hard-earned tactical and operational successes may ultimately end in strategic failure if care is not taken to protect the civilian environment as much as the situation allows — including the civilian population and the personnel, organizations, resources, infrastructure, essential services, and systems on which civilian life depends.
The entire Action Plan can be found here: https://media.defense.gov/2022/Aug/25/2003064740/-1/-1/1/CIVILIAN-HARM-MITIGATION-AND-RESPONSE-ACTION-PLAN.PDF (Source: US DoD)
25 Aug 22. Deputy Secretary Discusses Roles for Universities in Nation’s Defense. Last week Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Kathleen Hicks toured the Midwest, visiting U.S. Transportation Command in Illinois, the Air Force Research Laboratory in Ohio and Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. As part of the trip, the deputy secretary also stopped by Purdue University in Indiana to meet with ROTC cadets there, to look at research facilities at the school, and to talk about how universities such as Purdue can best contribute to the nation’s defense.
At a gathering of students, faculty and guests at Purdue, Hicks noted that the school had recently been selected as the lead academic partner and headquarters for the Air Force Research Laboratory Regional Research Hub – Midwest.
” to create a collaborative science and technology ecosystem, bringing together government, academia and the private sector that will accelerate the collision of ideas and talent to produce solutions for both DOD and commercial use,” Hicks said.
While at Purdue, Hicks visited the school’s Zucrow Lab and Hypersonics and Applied Research Facility — both responsible for development of hypersonics capabilities the department has prioritized.
“The research here will not only help develop the capabilities we need to defend the nation, but it will drive progress beyond DOD for the aerospace sector and other industries, shaping the next generation of commercial air travel, space exploration and beyond,” Hicks said.
Also a part of the tour was a visit to Birck Nanotechnology Center that, among other things, focuses on development of microelectronics and semiconductors — another critical priority for the Defense Department.
Purdue University is developing technology that benefits the Defense Department in areas like hypersonics and microelectronics, Hicks acknowledged. But she also said an area where Purdue is doing well, and where other universities like Purdue might follow, is in the creation of environments where research that benefits the department is able to flourish.
“It’s really about creating the kind of ecosystem that you’ve done so well here,” Hicks said. “That is bringing together innovators in the commercial sector alongside world-class research capabilities, investing as you are doing here in the facilities that make that possible and that attract talent, and then bringing government dollars, research and development dollars and talent as you’re seeing around this room with your ROTC and your graduate student population from the U.S. military together. That’s what you can keep doing so, I appreciate it.”
This type of environment, Hicks said, was also evident at both Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Air Force Research Lab.
When it comes to microelectronics, Hicks said what’s needed at universities is the ability to take an idea for a microelectronics component all the way from a concept in a laboratory to manufacturing in a fabrication facility.
“What we need here is that lab-to-fab capability and so that means having the whole development cycle … right here accessible to a community, so that development cycle from the innovator on the outside — the basic research, the innovator on the outside — connecting, and then the fabrication capability for microelectronics here on shore, which we do not have today,” Hicks said. “That’s really vital to us.”
Another priority for the Defense Department and other federal agencies, Hicks said, is in radiation-hardened microelectronics, and that is something she recognizes is a research priority at Purdue.
“Those are the areas to keep going after, those kinds of capabilities that we are specifically reliant upon and really help us in the national security community and throughout the U.S. economy by putting that whole development cycle here, together, to get the most innovation as quickly as possible,” she said.
When it comes to hypersonics, Hicks pointed out how a new facility being built at Purdue will ultimately help the Defense Department achieve it’s goals. The school is underway now in constructing the Hypersonics and Applied Research Facility, which will be host to two new wind tunnels. The new facility will include both a Mach 8 “quiet wind tunnel” — which will be the only one of its kind in the world — and the hypersonic pulse, or HYPULSE, shock tunnel.
“Just having that quality facility attracts the world-class talent to advance the research,” Hicks said. “One area we’re also very focused on at the Defense Department is counter-hypersonics. To the extent that that’s a research priority here at Purdue, and you can bring your scientists and engineers to bear on that, we certainly would welcome more collaboration in that area. But by and large, we’re down a very strong pathway right now in hypersonics. And I think the quality of what you all are bringing is a big piece of why.” (Source: US DoD)
22 Aug 22. DOD Concludes Industry Engagement Day for the Rapid Defense Experimentation Reserve (RDER). The Department of Defense concluded an Industry Engagement Day on July 26 for the Rapid Defense Experimentation Reserve (RDER) at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU-APL). More than 470 attendees and over 190 private sector companies participated in the full-day event. These companies represented small technology companies to major defense partners.
Industry learned about opportunities to achieve the RDER vision, proposal cycle, technical priorities, capability, and challenges. The private sector learned first-hand how RDER is enabling capabilities development for the joint warfighter. These efforts will culminate with multi-component experiments that combine multiple prototypes and capabilities, expeditiously exploring joint concepts and speeding evaluation and funding of new capabilities.
“The Industry Engagement Day was a tremendous success in support of the Deputy Secretary of Defense’s initiative to instill a multi-component campaign of learning through rapid experimentation of mission relevant capabilities,” said Bruce Juselis, Division Chief for RDER Technical Accession and Proposal Development. “RDER is part of a Defense-wide effort to engage our innovative industry partners to rapidly develop and field capabilities needed to build an enduring advantage, and support campaigning as well as the Joint fight.”
RDER facilitates the Department’s efforts to introduce capabilities matched to joint warfighting concepts, transitioning these systems and approaches more quickly. The Industry Engagement Day included several classified briefings, key joint concepts, proposal criteria, and technology capability requirements. The breakout sessions facilitated discussion on potential industry proposals with RDER program specialists. The Department recognizes industry’s ability to produce transformative technology, and is using the RDER initiative to leverage that innovation to advance joint concepts and associated capabilities.
The Secretary of Defense established the Rapid Defense Experimentation Reserve (RDER) initiative to expand multi-DoD component experimentation in a structured, multi-year campaign of learning to accelerate new capabilities to fill critical joint warfighting capability gaps. RDER will accelerate Joint innovation and provide feedback to future Warfighting concept development. Read more about RDER at: https://ac.cto.mil/pe/rder/.
The Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (USD(R&E) is the Chief Technology Officer of the Department of Defense. The USD(R&E) champions research, science, technology, engineering, and innovation to maintain the United States military’s technological advantage. Learn more at www.cto.mil, follow us on Twitter @DoDCTO, or visit us on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/ousdre (Source: US DoD)
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