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Archive for the ‘Disruptive Tech’ Category

2023 Lightfighter Initiative Competition

Tuesday, March 21st, 2023

The Light Fighter Initiative aims to spur creativity and innovation within the community. Our initiative is to host a competition that will challenge participants to develop or design an item or program that can be open-sourced and built and adds value to the light fighter in actual field applications.

Our vision for this initiative is to create a platform for light fighters to share their expertise and ideas to improve their effectiveness. The competition will foster a sense of community and collaboration among light fighters as they work to develop innovative solutions to common challenges.

We will offer a total of $3,000 in prize money, with a first-place prize of $1,500, a second-place prize of $1,000, and a third-place prize of $500.

To ensure that the competition is fair and transparent, we will establish a panel of expert judges who will evaluate each entry based on its potential value to the light fighter in actual field applications, its feasibility and ease of implementation, and its potential impact on a battlefield.

We are excited to embark on this journey and look forward to seeing what innovations and ideas the community creates.

Learn more at lightfightermanifesto.org

Equipping The Corps – Advanced Manufacturing Operations Cell

Wednesday, March 15th, 2023

Did you know that the Marine Corps uses 3D printing technology to provide logistics, supply, and sustainment solutions to the Fleet?

This Thursday’s episode of the Equipping The Corps podcast features guest Maj Matthew Audette, Advanced Manufacturing Systems Team Lead for Marine Corps Systems Command’s Advanced Manufacturing Operations Cell (AMOC), to explore the exciting world of 3D printing technology.

Airborne Innovation Lab Presents Additive Manufacturing Course

Thursday, March 2nd, 2023

Last week, the AIL hosted a Basic Additive Manufacturing Course. This 40 hour course taught the basic concepts of Additive Manufacturing and how to efficiently implement it within the DoD.

Students came from various units across Fort Bragg including Division, 18th Fires, 3SFG, and 2SFAB. Students completed the course with a capstone project Highlighted here was a handcuff skeleton key which van be hidden in a boot lace.

AIL offers a variety of courses that can be found on our website:


Justice and Commerce Departments Announce Creation of Disruptive Technology Strike Force

Tuesday, February 21st, 2023

Joint Venture in More Than 10 Cities Will Enforce U.S. Laws Protecting U.S. Advanced Technologies from Illegal Acquisition and Use by Nation-State Adversaries

Today, the Department of Justice and the Department of Commerce are launching the Disruptive Technology Strike Force. Under the leadership of the Justice Department’s National Security Division and the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), the strike force will bring together experts throughout government – including the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and 14 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in 12 metropolitan regions across the country – to target illicit actors, strengthen supply chains and protect critical technological assets from being acquired or used by nation-state adversaries.

“Today, autocrats seek tactical advantage through the acquisition, use, and abuse of America’s most innovative technology. They use it to enhance their military capabilities, support mass surveillance programs that enable human rights abuses and all together undermine our values,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. “Using real-time intelligence and 21st century data analytics, the Disruptive Technology Strike Force will bring together the Justice and Commerce Departments’ expertise to strike back against adversaries trying to siphon off our most advanced technology, and to attack tomorrow’s national security threats today.”

“The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security remains steadfast in our coordination with our federal partners at the Department of Justice and vigilant in our enforcement of our export controls,” said U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves. “This interagency strike force will further strengthen this shared national security priority.”

“Illegally exporting sensitive technology is not an abstract economic concern — it is a crime with a direct impact on the safety of the American people,” said FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate. “To be clear, adversaries are directly threatening our national security. These crimes have the potential to de-stabilize American economic security, negatively impact American businesses, and affect employment. The FBI looks forward to amplifying our collective capability to combat the threat through the DIS-TECH Strike Force — a partnership that will serve as a force multiplier to the work involving each participating agency.”

The strike force will be co-led by Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division and Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement Matthew Axelrod of the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security.

When acquired by nation-state adversaries such as the People’s Republic of China, Iran, Russia, and North Korea, advanced technologies can be used in new or novel ways to enhance their military capabilities or support mass surveillance programs that enable human rights abuses. End users of national security concern seek technologies, including those related to supercomputing and exascale computing, artificial intelligence, advanced manufacturing equipment and materials, quantum computing, and biosciences. Although they have important commercial uses, technologies in these fields can threaten U.S. national security when used by adversaries for disruptive purposes, such as improving calculations in weapons design and testing; improving the speed and accuracy of military or intelligence decision-making; and breaking or developing unbreakable encryption algorithms that protect sensitive communications and classified information.

“The Disruptive Technology Strike Force takes aim at those who imperil our national security and the rule of law by illegally transferring sensitive technologies to foreign adversaries,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen. “We must remain vigilant in enforcing export control laws, which defend military readiness, preserve our technological superiority over our adversaries, and help to protect human rights and democratic values.” 

“Advances in technology have the potential to alter the world’s balance of power,” said Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement Matthew S. Axelrod. “This strike force is designed to protect U.S. national security by preventing those sensitive technologies from being used for malign purposes.”

The strike force’s work will focus on investigating and prosecuting criminal violations of export laws; enhancing administrative enforcement of U.S. export controls; fostering partnerships with the private sector; leveraging international partnerships to coordinate law enforcement actions and disruption strategies; utilizing advanced data analytics and all-source intelligence to develop and build investigations; conducting regular trainings for field offices; and strengthening connectivity between the strike force and the Intelligence Community.

In addition to the National Security Division and the Bureau of Industry and Security, this strike force will be comprised of officials from designated U.S. Attorneys’ Offices throughout the country, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

“HSI remains committed to our interagency partners and will continue to work tirelessly on behalf of the American people to ensure sensitive technologies and proprietary information do not fall into the hands of our adversaries,” said Acting Executive Associate Director Steve Francis of Homeland Security Investigations.

The strike force will operate in 12 metropolitan regions across the United States, with oversight and support from the local U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City (Southern and Eastern Districts of New York), San Jose, California, Phoenix, Portland, Oregon, and the Washington, D.C. region (District of Columbia and the Eastern District of Virginia).

MIT Develops Self-Replicating Hierarchical Modular Robotic Swarms

Saturday, December 3rd, 2022

According to an article in Nature, Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA) has developed self-replicating hierarchical modular robotic swarms. That sounds kind of ominous as so many of us are concerned with the use of robotic swarms to overwhelm defenses.

But there’s a word you need to add to your vocabulary and that’s “Voxel”. Some are familiar with the mathematical definition:

Voxel is an image of a three-dimensional space region limited by given sizes, which has its own nodal point coordinates in an accepted coordinate system, its own form, its own state parameter that indicates its belonging to some modeled object, and has properties of modeled region.

There’s another use of the term and that’s in regard to robotics. Voxels are also small robots, generally uniform in size and structure which can be used as components to build a larger robot: kind of like Lego or other construction sets you used as a kid. However, these voxels do so much more. They not only offer mechanical function but can now transit power and data to one another.

You can easily see how these robots can be used for assembly and that these structures will make us question what a robot is as its functionality becomes inherent in many new things which go beyond what we currently consider a robot.

The robots themselves consist of a string of several voxels joined end-to-end. These can grab another voxel using attachment points on one end, then move inchworm-like to the desired position, where the voxel can be attached to the growing structure and released there.

Assembler robots building bigger versions of themselves are just the beginning. Eventually, we will see systems which can reconfigure themselves, shapeshifters if you will, as their purpose changes.

What’s more, they could be capable of repairing themselves by replacing voxels as they are worn out or damaged. Let that sink in. The implications are enormous and may quite possibly change the order of things.

82nd Airborne Division’s Airborne Innovation Lab

Monday, November 21st, 2022

The 82nd Airborne Division has established an Airborne Innovation Lab as a no-reservation-required makerspace to learn, research, innovate, build, and explore new ideas to solve tactical problems. However, the AIL also offers classes on how to use its various equipment.

Located in Bldg. 3-2102 on Long Street, the lab boasts the following capabilities:

Digital Fabrication: 3D printers, 3D scanner, and workstations with Fusion360

Woodshop: CNC milling, laser cutting/etching, and other woodshop machinery/tools

Workshop: Robotics kits, soldering stations, electronics workstations with tools and components

Textile Station: Sewing machines, plotter cutter, heat-transfer vinyl, ironing station

Design Thinking and Collaboration: Space for facilitating design thinking workshops and project collaboration

The lab supports all of Fort Bragg, not just the All American Division. In fact, a Communications Sergeant from 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne) recently used the AIL to create new landing feet for a sUAS which interface with Weapon Holster adapters allowing Soldiers to easier access to the drone.

As projects are created by Soldiers in the AIL, the files are distributed to other Design, Innovation, Research, and Technology (DIRT) Labs across the Army and printed, providing the capability of these new prototypes to Soldiers across the country.

Other projects that have been shared across different DIRT Labs include breach-lane markers, chem light holsters, and Raven propellers.

In addition to visiting the lab you can submit your ideas here.

US, UK Explore Interoperable, Battlefield-Ready 3D Printing Capabilities

Saturday, November 12th, 2022

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — Warfighters from all branches of service and allied nations will need to work together closely on future battlefields to outwit and outperform adversaries. As the U.S. military and its partners take strategic steps to expand interoperability in theater, they are also evaluating how to maximize operational dexterity — including through the clever use of advanced manufacturing.

Encompassing everything from 3D printing to robotics, advanced manufacturing harnesses innovative technologies to improve traditional processes. The military’s application of advanced manufacturing in operational environments offers warfighters the ability to fix issues and make repairs on location and on demand, without needing to wait hours or days for key parts to arrive.

At Project Convergence 22, a U.S.-hosted all-service and multinational experiment designed to improve future force interoperability and readiness, U.S. and U.K. forces are assessing how they can strengthen interforce support through collaborative advanced manufacturing activities.

“It’s enjoyable, the integration,” said British Army officer Maj. Alex Shand of the experience.

As part of PC22 experimentation, Shand and his colleagues were able to successfully print — for the first time ever — U.S. Army materiel replacement parts using a British Army 3D printer.

This functionality is important because it shows how a multinational partner could potentially assist the U.S. military in making rapid equipment repairs on the battlefield, Shand explained. The increased flexibility could prove beneficial if a nearby unit lacked a 3D printer, for example, or if supply chain disruptions were preventing the timely delivery of missing parts.

Aiding the ability of warfighters to execute on-the-ground repairs is the British Army’s development of extended reality goggles. The high-tech goggles can be worn by an individual tasked with making repairs and synchronized virtually with relevant subject matter experts. These experts can then view what the individual on the ground sees and offer detailed instructions on how to tackle complex repairs, including by sending files, drawing overlay pictures, or rendering 3D models.

While the technology is still in initial phases of development and has yet to be ruggedized for field use, its pairing with 3D printing capabilities and evaluation at PC22 shows promise for the future, offering what Shand described as “an understanding of the right mix of technologies and skills to conduct repair by repair on the battlefield as a joint force.”

By Maureena Thompson, Army Futures Command

MWW 22 – Turbine One Frontline Perception System

Thursday, November 10th, 2022

Turbine One’s tagline is “AI/ML for the Comms-Contested Battlefield” and after learning about what they are doing, that sums it up quite nicely. For those of you unfamiliar with the terms, AI/ML means Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Those both sound like ominous futuristic concepts but Turbine One’s Frontline Perception System (FPS) makes it not only real, but user friendly.

Unlike current systems fielded with vendor-locked software which cannot move between sensors or devices, FPS combines open system architecture across any network, even in in comms-contested environments, and sensor data fusion.

FPS can be deployed on entire enterprise, desktops, laptops and End User Devices whether connected to a network or not. In fact, it’s optimized for use at the operator level.

It deploys algorithms at the tactical edge to characterize sensor data and provide relevant information to the user. The user can also interact with the system, introducing new items of interest without having to code using their AutoML.

Here you can see an example of the AI identifying a gun. Just prior to taking this photo the system was programmed using AutoML to characterize the pistol after identifying it in several images. It was just that simple.

Finally, TurbineOne routinely partners with third parties to deliver ML to the frontlines.