U.S. Military, Industry Discuss Improving High-Tech Battlefield Communication

The Texas A&M University System News Release

Texas A&M System Hosts Talks, Offers Research and Testing Help

BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas — More than 400 defense industry executives, military commanders and other national security experts came together virtually this week to discuss an innovative plan for U.S. military communication and decision-making.

The Texas A&M University System hosted the virtual meeting sponsored by the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA), a group promoting dialogue on the shared goals of the military and industry.

In a series of lectures, question-and-answer sessions and panel discussions, the military and industry leaders explored the challenges associated with an ongoing Department of Defense initiative called “Joint All Domain Command and Control” or “JADC2.” Its goal is to connect information systems among all of the service branches in a single network.

Speakers on Tuesday and Wednesday included Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown and about two dozen other high-ranking officers and retired officers from every service branch.

Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp and M. Katherine Banks, Texas A&M Vice Chancellor and Dean of Engineering, also addressed the gathering. They offered the services of the Texas A&M System in helping with JADC2 and other NDIA initiatives.

“When you are looking for an innovation partner, think of us,” Sharp said. “We’ll make it easy for you.”

Proponents of JADC2 say a modern, joint network is needed to handle the speed, complexity and lethality of future warfare, which could include hypersonic and laser weaponry.

Participants discussed how the network will have to be fast, reliable and flexible for users with various levels of security clearance and for changing situations. It also must be resilient against cyberattacks from high-tech adversaries such as China and Russia.

“To confront our competitors, we have to focus on innovation,” said Air Force General Glen VanHerck, commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command.  “We have to have the same sense of urgency we had during the Cold War.”

JADC2 is envisioned as a cloud-like environment for service branches to share intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data from sources across the globe. The network will analyze the data instantly using artificial intelligence and machine learning. That will help commanders make quicker, smarter decisions and to get critical information and orders to warfighters.

“Warfighters deserve every single advantage we can give them,” said David Spirk, a former Marine and chief data officer for the Defense Department.

Sharp and Banks explained some of the capabilities of the Texas A&M System that could help with JADC2 and other national defense initiatives.

Sharp presented a video on the RELLIS Campus:  RELLIS Building A Better Tomorrow.

Banks shared a video on the new George H.W. Bush Combat Development Complex (BCDC):

BCDC: America’s Warfare Innovation Nexus

The BCDC is being built at RELLIS as part of a Texas A&M System partnership with Army Futures Command (AFC), which is the Army’s representative in developing JACD2.

“In a nutshell,” Banks said, “the BCDC will serve as the central hub for testing and demonstrating the newest and most innovative ideas related to the Army’s modernization mission.”

The BCDC will feature the biggest enclosed hypersonic testing range in the nation, the Ballistic Aero-Optics and Materials (BAM). It also will feature the Innovation Proving Ground (IPG), a highly-instrumented outdoor testing range.

Part of its initial mission will be to sync up autonomous vehicles and other Army battlefield assets through a single, secure, resilient communications system.

“So what we will sync up for one service branch, we could help do for all of the service branches,” Sharp told the group.

Conference discussion included the challenge of innovating rapidly in the midst of long-standing military practices, including very detailed procurement procedures.

Banks noted that Texas A&M researchers are using agile technology development to help AFC innovate at speeds closer to Silicon Valley. It is an iterative process of testing, feedback, refinement followed by more testing, more feedback and more refinement.

“The idea is to sprint to success or failure, not toil for years,” she said.

Other Texas A&M System speakers at the conference were:

  • Retired Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, former Air Force Chief of Staff, now Dean of the Bush School of Government and Public Service
  • Retired Lt. Gen. J. Kevin McLaughlin, former Deputy Commander of U.S. Cyber Command, now Director of Cyber Security Policy, Strategy and Security at the Bush School
  • Stephen Cambone, a former senior Defense Department official, now Associate Vice Chancellor for Cybersecurity Initiatives.

Sharp also shared video on the Bush School’s new teaching site in Washington D.C., which will be geared to mid-career professionals.

Bush School D.C. Teaching Site An Opportunity for Partnerships.  

About The Texas A&M University System

The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation with a budget of $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $1 billion in FY 2019 and helped drive the state’s economy.

Contact: Laylan Copelin
Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications
(979) 458-6425
(512) 289-2782 cell
lcopelin@tamus.edu

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Defense Department Taps Texas A&M System to Lead U.S. Consortium on Advancing Hypersonic Flight Systems

The Texas A&M University System News Release

TEES to manage five-year contract for DOD research among top U.S. universities.

BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Department of Defense today named a state agency of The Texas A&M University System to lead a national consortium for modernizing hypersonic flight capabilities.

The Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) will manage a five-year, $20 million per-year DOD initiative involving many of the nation’s top research universities. The universities will work cooperatively among themselves and with other key research institutions of government, national laboratories, federally-funded research centers and industry.

The University Consortium for Applied Hypersonics (UCAH) will work on everything from basic research to real-world capabilities in hypersonic flight systems.

The concept is for researchers from all of the institutions to work in close coordination. Together, they will accelerate innovation to address the nation’s hypersonic needs and nurture the next-generation of researchers in aerospace engineering and related fields.

“Tell us how we can help protect this nation and we’ll be right there,” said John Sharp, Chancellor of the Texas A&M System. “We have experience managing consortiums and our hypersonic research capabilities are second to none.”

The UCAH will be managed by TEES under the leadership from of one of the nation’s foremost hypersonic researchers, Dr. Rodney Bowersox, professor of aerospace engineering at Texas A&M University.

Initial operations will begin under the guidance of an impressive board of national experts from Texas A&M, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Minnesota, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Arizona, the University of Tennessee Space Institute, Morgan State University, the California Institute of Technology, Purdue, the University of California-Los Angeles, and the Georgia Institute of Technology.

“Texas A&M has become the hypersonics research center of the nation,” said M. Katherine Banks, Texas A&M Vice Chancellor and Dean of Engineering. “Our researchers and partners are unmatched and our new, state-of-the-art facilities will fill critical gaps in U.S. testing capabilities.”

The DOD contract comes as Texas A&M System is preparing to build the biggest enclosed hypersonic testing range in the nation as part of the George H. W. Bush Combat Development Complex (BCDC) on the RELLIS campus in Bryan.

The Ballistic Aero-Optics and Materials (BAM) will complement other cutting-edge hypersonic facilities at Texas A&M such as the National Aerothermochemistry and Hypersonics Laboratory (NAL) and the Aerospace Laboratory for Lasers, ElectroMagnetics and Optics (ALLEMO).

The UCAH approach will include a major focus on modeling and testing to facilitate earlier and more certain progress on developing hypersonic systems. The UCAH will become a collaborative hypersonic ecosystem to bridge the so-called “valley of death” between promising research possibilities and actual real-world capabilities.

TEES has already identified more than 41 institutions from at least 23 states committed to participating in the UCAH. Participation is expected to increase in upcoming months to include additional institutions from across the country and from Australia and the United Kingdom.

“This first-of-its kind Consortium will be critical to advancing hypersonics research and innovation, a key priority of the Department of Defense,” said Michael Kratsios, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. “Importantly, through collaborative industry and academic partnerships, it will also accelerate technology transfer and strengthen workforce development to meet the nation’s future warfighting needs.”

TEES currently manages a variety of consortia and brings extensive expertise in experimentation, logistics, contract management, workforce development and protection of national security-related research.

“It’s all headquartered here thanks to the support of Chancellor Sharp and the Texas A&M System,” Banks said.

About the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES)
As an engineering research agency of Texas, TEES performs quality research driven by world problems; strengthens and expands the state’s workforce through educational partnerships and training; and develops and transfers technology to industry. TEES partners with academic institutions, governmental agencies, industries and communities to solve problems to help improve the quality of life, promote economic development and enhance educational systems.

About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation with a budget of $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $1 billion in FY 2019 and helped drive the state’s economy.

For more information on Texas A&M’s hypersonics research and expertise: https://engineeringmagazine.tamu.edu/hypersonics/

For more information, contact:

Mike Reilly
Office of Marketing and Communications
(979) 458-6492 office
(402) 679-0456 cell
mreilly@tamus.edu

Marilyn M. Martell
Senior Assistant Vice Chancellor, Marketing and Communications
(979) 845-2957 office
(979) 777-8188 cell
mmartell@tamu.edu

Here is the Defense Department’s press release about the UCAH award:
https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Releases/Release/Article/2394282/defense-department-awards-university-consortium-for-applied-hypersonics-contract/

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Buildings to be lit up in blue at 13 Texas A&M University System campuses for World Teachers’ Day

The Texas A&M University System News Release

BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Blue lights will shine bright on Texas A&M University System campuses across Texas on Monday in recognition of World Teachers’ Day. The 11 universities in the A&M System, the RELLIS Campus in Bryan and the Texas A&M Health Sciences Center Dallas campus will illuminate a total of 30 iconic buildings and landmarks.

“We want to celebrate World Teachers’ Day in a big way all across Texas this year,” said Elaine Mendoza, Chairman of the Texas A&M System Board of Regents. “2020 has taught us all to better appreciate the importance of those who choose to spend their lives teaching others.”

World Teachers’ Day was conceived by UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, in 1994. The day provides the occasion to celebrate the teaching profession worldwide, take stock of achievements and draw attention to the voices of teachers who are at the heart of efforts to attain the global education target of leaving no one behind.

“We teach Texas, and we are proud of it,” Mendoza said. “The Texas A&M University System is proud to graduate more fully-certified teachers than any public university system in Texas.”

Graduates from education colleges at Texas A&M University System campuses are highly sought-after because they are so well prepared, said Chancellor John Sharp.

“From Day One, our teacher candidates are working with students and getting the tools they need so they are ready for the classroom,” Chancellor Sharp said. “We give them the tools they need to make the world a better place, one child at a time.”

The theme for this year’s World Teachers’ Day is “Teachers: Leading in crisis, reimagining the future.” All 11 universities in the Texas A&M System will, via social media and other online efforts, be encouraging their communities to consider the contributions teachers have made to provide remote learning, support vulnerable populations, re-open schools and ensure learning gaps are mitigated.

The buildings and landmarks to be illuminated in blue are:

  • The Performing Arts Center, the three fountains in Garvin Lake, Talbot Hall and Memorial Stadium at Texas A&M University-Commerce;
  • The Jack K. Williams Administration Building, the Harrington Education Center, Albritton Bell Tower and the dome of the Academic Building at Texas A&M University;
  • Trailblazer Tower, the Vergara Planetarium and the front of Killam Library at Texas A&M International University;
  • College Hall and the javelina statues at Texas A&M University-Kingsville;
  • The Building for Academic and Student Success at Texas A&M University-Texarkana;
  • The Momentum Wave at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi;
  • The tower of Founders Hall at Texas A&M University-Central Texas;
  • The Clock Tower in the Central Quad area at the Texas A&M Galveston campus;
  • The Original Texans sculpture on the Charles K. and Barbara Kerr Vaughn Pedestrian Mall at West Texas A&M University, the Hayward Spirit Tower and The Eternal Flame monument in Victory Circle;
  • The Smokestack at Tarleton State University;
  • The Wilhelmina Delco Building and John B. Coleman Library at Prairie View A&M University
  • The Torre de Esperanza, the fountain at the intersection of University and Jaguar Way and the Central Academic Building at Texas A&M University-San Antonio;
  • The top floor of the Texas A&M Health Sciences Center Dallas Campus;
  • And the entrance to The Texas A&M University System’s RELLIS Campus in Bryan.

About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation with a budget of $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $1 billion in FY 2019 and helped drive the state’s economy.

Contact: Laylan Copelin
Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications
(979) 458-6425
(512) 289-2782 cell
lcopelin@tamus.edu

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Texas A&M breaks ground on Innovation Plaza in Texas Medical Center

The Texas A&M University System News Release

BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Texas A&M University System and Medistar Corporation broke ground on the half-billion dollar Texas A&M Innovation Plaza project today.

The Plaza, projected to be completed by 2024, is located on five acres adjacent to the Texas Medical Center at the corner of Holcombe Boulevard and Main Street

 in Houston. The towers expand The Texas A&M University System’s presence in the Texas Medical Center and allow the System to help meet the rising medical needs in Houston and the state.

Consisting of three towers — Discovery, Life and Horizon — Innovation Plaza will be home to the Texas A&M Engineering Medicine (EnMed) program and provide student housing for the Prairie View A&M University’s College of Nursing. It will feature research facilities, affordable student housing, office space, retail space and parking. Harvey Builders, the construction company of record, will construct the Life and Horizon towers to complement the Discovery Tower, which is a preexisting building that Texas A&M acquired and is in the process of renovating. The Discovery Tower is expected to be complete by the end of summer 2020.

“The pandemic has underlined the importance of medical technology and research,” said Chancellor John Sharp. “There is no better place for our groundbreaking EnMed program and other Texas A&M System initiatives to locate than the Texas Medical Center.”

The developer for the private-public partnership projects (P3) is Medistar Corporation, a long-time Houston-based developer. Infrastructure investment firm American Triple I Partners, founded by Texas A&M alum Henry Cisneros, is part of the financing team.

About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation with a budget of $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $1 billion in FY 2019 and helped drive the state’s economy.

Contact: Laylan Copelin
Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications
(979) 458-6425
(512) 289-2782 cell
lcopelin@tamus.edu

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