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Students Hear DoD’s Research Goals Straight from Assistant SecDef Zachary Lemnios

Article By: Amanda D. Stein

NPS students had a unique opportunity to hear firsthand from an expert in military research and the future of DoD research investments when the Honorable Zachary Lemnios visited the university for meetings and to perform a Secretary of the Navy Guest Lecture (SGL), Aug. 9. Lemnios is the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, and has previously served as Director of the Microsystems Technology Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and as Chief Technology Officer of MIT Lincoln Laboratory.

During his visit to NPS, Lemnios made time for a working lunch session with students, giving them the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about how their research will benefit the DoD.

During the SGL, Lemnios addressed students, staff and faculty in King Auditorium, where he talked about not only the current investments in technology and research, but also the areas that will likely be paid extra attention in the future. He expressed interest in how NPS fits into the bigger picture of DoD research, and the unique interactions that NPS researchers have with industry.

“This morning I was down at Camp Roberts, and I saw a remarkable set of experiments and a remarkable coupling of first-rate research concepts out of NPS, with first-rate users providing feedback on the utility of those concepts and how those could be fielded in future mission sets,” explained Lemnios. “I also saw a strong engagement with industry, in particular the small business community. So that’s the environment that we really want to start shaping, and you folks are leading the charge on that.”

Lemnios discussed the challenges and opportunities in emerging technologies. He explored electronic warfare, and the value of having resilient networks and the capability of monitoring potential threats. He also talked about human systems as an area for additional training and preparedness.

“Many of the challenges the Department faces require training and readiness in some very new ways, and in environments we’ve never operated in,” said Lemnios. “The challenge here is to enhance our training experience by building environments and providing environments for operators to understand through maybe simulation, maybe synthesis, both cultural and behavioral modeling of environments they’ve never seen before … This is an area of focus in a number of universities, and it’s one that’s starting to flourish and will provide enormous dividends for us.”

 
NPS students, from left, Lts. Shawn Pollock, Robert Zaborowski and John Taylor, attend a working lunch meeting with the Honorable Zachary Lemnios, far right, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Aug. 9.

Lemnios also noted the value of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs for not only young people, but also for graduate-level professionals. With the aging workforce, he explained the declining number of scientists in physics, mathematics and chemistry, fields that are valuable to the defense community and essential to America’s role as a world leader in technology and advanced defense capabilities.


The Honorable Zachary Lemnios, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, spoke about DoD research goals at an Aug. 9 Secretary of the Navy Guest Lecture to NPS students, staff and faculty.
 

He noted a robust push in DoD STEM programs, including the Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship for Service Program, which provides federal jobs to college students. The goal of the program is to prepare young people to replace the aging workforce in the STEM fields.

Lemnios expressed confidence in the abilities of NPS’ students and faculty, as they work to help fulfill the research needs of the DoD.

“We’re starting to look at leveraging industry’s investments with our investments to achieve the future needs of the warfighter,” Lemnios explained. “And with all of this, you folks are absolutely at the center of it. Having a strong tech base, having an understanding of how to take technology and leverage it for the warfighter … and the leadership that you have at NPS in doing that – the students and faculty – is superb. I want to thank you for that.”


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