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STAFF: Good afternoon, everyone. I'm Major John Moore with CENTCOM Public Affairs. Joining me are Ms. Schuyler Moore. She's the Central Command chief technology officer. This is a new position at CENTCOM. She formerly worked at Naval Forces Command's Task Force 59, focused on unmanned systems and A.I. integration into the fleet. She has tech industry experience, having written tech legislature on the Hill.
Sergeant Mickey Reeve, the inaugural winner from the Massachusetts Army National Guard. He's currently deployed to Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia. He developed a counter-unmanned aerial system training software system from scratch.
So I'll go through the ground rules real quick. We'll have about 30 minutes for this. We started a little late, so we'll end a little bit after 2:00. The focus of this is on innovation, and Central Command is a war-fighting command becoming the hub for military innovation. Please tailor your questions accordingly.
Ms. Moore will provide some opening comments, followed by Sergeant Reeve. After, we'll open questions to the room, and then the phone. After we've finished, a rep from Central Command Public Affairs is happy to follow up with you as needed.
CENTCOM CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER SCHUYLER MOORE: Absolutely. Thanks, folks, for showing up today. We're, as noted, here to talk about technology and innovation at Central Command, and also, the opportunities that that creates for the rest of the department.
I think that the problem set is something that everyone in here is fairly familiar with; rapidly evolving threats at a speed that frankly, moves beyond what traditional systems are built to go after. But then the opportunity space is really that there are technologies that have matured either through DOD or through commercial sector that really can get after our problems today, not years from now, not five years from now, but today. And so what I view my role as chief technology officer is very simple, which is to get the best tech available into the hands of the people who need it as quickly as possible, full stop. They -- the tech can come from commercial sector. It can come from DOD. The idea can come from a sergeant. The idea can come from a general. The point is to get the best tech into the hands of the people who need it.
And so what that means from a combatant command is that we're really focused on technology experimentation and what that can look like to create sustained capability, and we believe that a combatant command is the right place for that because it is so critical to get these technologies into the hands of the person that uses it, in the place that they will use it, and against the threats that it will actually face. And commercial sector knows this. I mean, it would be unheard of to field any sort of technology without the user having our hands on it at some point, but it's something that we at the department really need to lean forward into.
And the combatant command at CENTCOM is particularly well-suited for that for a couple of reasons. So of course, as with all the other combatant commands, we have a robust operator base, but we also have an environment that is uniquely-challenging. Why is that? It is incredibly hot, sandy, salty, windy in ways that will push, from a physical perspective, a lot of this kit that it might not otherwise, if you just try it at CONUS. And so for us, it's so important for us to pressure it in those extreme environments, and we believe that other combatant commands can benefit from that, as well.
And then also, we have an environment that is active in ways that, frankly, others may not face the diversity of threats that we do. We can have everything from counter-piracy all the way up to state-led weapons smuggling and direct threats against other states that is required to push this technology in order to integrate it. The reality is that all of those friction points that you do not want to face while you're in the middle of a firefight is what we would like to work through right now, before it becomes critical.
A perfect example of how important this is -- in my previous experience at Task Force 59, we had this wonderful piece of kit. We were really excited to get it off the pier. We'd talked to the engineers. They hadn't put it out into the field yet. And right before we were about to go, the director of operations turned to the engineers and said, "this is waterproof, right?" And the engineering team was silent. And that is okay when we're doing an exercise in a bounded circumstance. That is not okay if we're in the middle of a firefight.
And so we need to work through these friction points now. The technology needs to be put into the folks that -- hands who are going to use it now. That's what's going to build our capability.
So how are we going about that as a combatant command? We are making sure that we're going after our exercises in a very targeted way to push these technologies, but we're also expanding the vision of what exercises usually look like. Sometimes they're sort of bounded, not really followed up by consistent iterations. We look at exercises as sprints. We are going to push technology once. We will go 90 days and iterate on that technology. Based on that experience, we will push it again at the next exercise, and we will continue to do that.
Digital Horizon is going on right now. Task Force 59 is leading that in Bahrain. Scarlet Dragon Oasis is next big CENTCOM-led one at the end of January. These are going to anchor a lot of our efforts.
We're also setting up organizations that are focused on this. We're all very busy. If you don't have people focused on this, if you don't have teams focused on this, sometimes it can be difficult to make progress. My role as chief technology officer is, this is my full-time job. This is all I think about. And in addition to that, you have Task Force 39 for the Army, Task Force 59 for the Navy and Task Force 99 for the Air Force that have been stood up inside CENTCOM to be explicitly focused on tech experimentation.
And so finally, we're working on grassroots efforts and making sure that folks like Sergeant Reeve and the effort that he will talk about are having their ideas elevated, because the people who know the problem best and who may have a best sense of what the solution is are the folks that are closest to it, like Sergeant Reeve out in Saudi Arabia, facing the counter-UAS threat in a way where he can see exactly what the solution might be, and he built something that, really, we're excited to build with him.
And so that's a quick summary of what we're working on, why we think this is important for the combatant command. Looking forward to your questions. But first and foremost, over to Sergeant Reeve to talk about his effort.
ARMY SERGEANT MICKEY REEVE: Thank you, Ms. Moore.
Good afternoon, everybody. I'm here today because while deployed to Saudi Arabia, I used my free time and my spare time to develop a counter-UAS training software. While part of the counter-UAS team over in Saudi Arabia, I noticed that there was a way to bridge many of our multiple proprietary independent counter-UAS systems that form a layer of defense together to provide a common operating picture for training.
And with this, what I was able to do is I was able to build a sandbox tool for operators and teams to train against any scenario, any UAS threat, in any environment, and really, to push the envelope of what our training is able to provide to our operators to really get those good, consistent-quality repetitions in. With that, then, as well, this is a tool that I've built out to be completely agnostic to any sort of counter-UAS system so that way it can be used with current and future systems.
What this tool is intended to do is to provide the opportunity for the boots on the ground that are closest to the threat and closest to their operational environment to mimic that environment as accurately as possible and to, as well, deploy threats against their base and to train against threats on their base that they see and that they interact with sometimes daily.
So with that, what I've observed with CENTCOM is that they're standing up initiatives right now to bridge the subject matter experts, who are too often times your junior enlisted and your junior officers that have that job that they do daily, with the senior leadership that can put their solutions that they provide into effect across the organization.
My experience with counter-UAS has led to -- was -- provided a catalyst for me to build out this solution, which was very much my domain that I was working with with my team here. And I am not the exception. Everywhere that I go, and I've been able to now influence and talk to members of CENTCOM across our area of responsibility to promote innovation, and everywhere I go right now, I'm seeing that there are talented service members out there with the solutions to the problems that are facing most of our operators today in this environment.
So with that, it's really exciting that CENTCOM is standing up these initiatives, to bring forward these ideas and bring forward these solutions, and to also inform our senior leaders about the issues facing sometimes the people that are seeing and experiencing them daily.
With that, I will turn it over to Major Moore so we can start fielding some questions.
STAFF: Thank you. Jared ?
Q: Hi, ma'am. Good to see you, Sergeant. Thank you guys for doing this today.
Just wondered if you guys could talk a little bit more about Task Force 39. We haven't heard too much about that yet. That'd be my first question.
And then just wondering, Ms. Moore, if you could follow up possibly on what new authorities CENTCOM or the subordinate commands have been granted for Task Forces 59, Detachment 99, and Task Force 39? And do you see this as a model for a wider implementation for the department? Thanks.
MS. MOORE: Absolutely. So for Task Force 39 -- again, for folks, that's the Army's components' focus on experimental technologies -- we're already off and running with them. So they are actually going to be involved in our buildout of Sergeant Reeve's counter-UAS trainer.
So we're working with them, we're working with Army Software Factory right now to build out that initial minimum viable product that Sergeant Reeve had and ensure that not only is it applicable to his base, where he was in Saudi Arabia, but to multiple other teams.
Again, the idea is that the problems we face here, especially force protection, are not CENTCOM-specific. This is stuff that everyone across the department faces. And so if we can create a solution that multiple people can leverage, we want to make sure that we're doing that.
Task Force 39 is going to be involved in a range of counter-UAS efforts, to include Red Sands, which is a program that'll be shifting experimentation related to counter-UAS throughout the region so that everybody can benefit from it. So they are off to the races.
In terms of new authorities, what has been interesting for us is realizing that we can actually work with the existing ones fairly flexibly. It's simply -- you know, the question of whether or not the authority exists or whether simply it's never been tried before is something that we're constantly asking the question.
And so Task Force 59, I think, helped pave the way in a lot of ways of understanding what the limits are and what the capabilities are for acquisition and what a leasing model might look like for a command and how you can push tech experimentation in the field at a faster rate than we have previously.
And so in terms of new authorities, I don't know that we're necessarily pushing for them so much as we are better leveraging the ones that we've already had.
Q: Can I just follow-up real quick on Red Sands? Is that possible? I'm just wondering -- you mentioned that it will be moving around the region, it's no longer slated to be solely in Saudi Arabia, correct?
MS. MOORE: That is correct. It will be a -- it is a program that will be shifting locations.
STAFF: Yes, ma'am?
Q: Hi. Tara Copp with the Associated Press. I actually also had a Red Sands question. So has Red Sands kind of shifted from being a location like a training range to more of a concept of testing and training? I'm not quite sure what it is now.
MS. MOORE: So I think the recognition that we had was that counter-UAS is such a broadly shared problem in the region and there were so many partners that wanted to take part in it that we wanted to ensure that we were able to bring those folks in earlier rather than later.
And to us, I mean, it's another example of why technology like this is so exciting, because it creates an opportunity for partnership and integrated capability, frankly, in a way that might not have otherwise existed for traditional tech. You might not be able to invest in a $3 billion destroyer but you can invest in a counter-UAS trainer and the software associated and build interoperability side-by-side.
Q: So -- but just to circle back, is Red Sands actually going to be a training location in Saudi Arabia or is it more of a concept of counter-UAS programs going on?
MS. MOORE: It will be a program that will shift locations, depending on what the specific project is.
Q: And then I had two more. How much has the counter-UAS capabilities that you all are developing been shaped heavily by Iran's own capabilities that it's displaying? And what have you learned, by example, watching the Shaheds?
MS. MOORE: It's an interesting process because and I think it highlights the importance of, again, conducting experimentation against a live threat as much as you can because you can only simulate so far. The shape and size and speed of what is coming at folks like Sergeant Reeve out in Saudi Arabia but also in Ukraine is something that needs to be experienced live. The friction points are something that you need to understand and navigate in the field.
And so really, our experience with the Shahed and the other types that we've seen flying across is that it's a great opportunity and a learning experience for some of the software that we're looking at. So some analytical tools are, you know, you have a radar that has so many contacts that a single person sifting through it has difficulty finding which of these is the most threatening.
If you had a tool that was able to say ‘90 percent confidence you can sift these out, these are the three to four that really are the highest threat to you,’ that is something that is so incredibly valuable. And we have, every day, an opportunity to test that live. And so we would love to keep building on those tools.
Q: And then just one more for Sergeant Reeve. So with your -- with the product that you've created, if this had been done by a government contractor, obviously they'd be charging the government for it. Did you get a cash award for this?
SGT. REEVE: No, ma'am, I did not. I'm doing this right now for the mission. That was always the intent. This was something that was building up before. I even heard about Innovation Oasis because I felt that this was good training that my base and my team needed.
Q: Are there any thoughts of creating some sort of financial incentive? Just because, you know, if they were government civilians instead of in uniform, you'd probably have to pay a lot of money for this software -- or --
MS. MOORE: So what we're doing right now is the sort of prize at the back end of this was that he can find a school of his choosing and go there, and then also, again, making sure that he can speak to their other teams and circle back and share those lessons with his.
Going forward, we're going to keep exploring what the incentive structure looks like, to make sure that people are sharing these. We understand, frankly, that in some cases, folks might build out a product that they then realize "I actually would like to monetize this and take this outside of the command," and that is okay with us.
We're always going to make sure that we are open about that conversation but highlighting it is a priority for us, first and foremost.
STAFF: Thank you. We'll go to the phones. Nancy, are you still on?
Q: I am. And just to follow up on that point, can you clarify who owns the intellectual property? In private sector, it's usually the creator. You said that some could make money in the private sector if they chose to sell it. Is there an intellectual property agreement? And can you spell out to us what it is?
MS. MOORE: Sure. So we have -- with every project, it's going to be different. So with Sergeant Reeve, the first step first and foremost is making sure that he understands what his intellectual property rights and options are for any case like this. And so we are in the middle of that conversation, again, to make sure that he is educated and that we are not applying any pressure.
The main point to us is that his idea is an incredibly good one and that it was highlighted for the command. That, in itself, is a win. If we can build it out into something more substantive, we would love to, but that is entirely his decision.
We will continue to do that with every idea that comes out of future Innovation Oasis and making sure that, first and foremost, folks know what their rights are and what their options are, and then we can proceed from there.
STAFF: Yes, back to the phones. Meghann, are you still on?
Okay, coming back into the room. Ma'am in the back?
Q: Carla Babb, VOA. So just to clarify, cause we've all been talking about the Iranian drones, but this was -- Sergeant Reeve, you've tailored this towards Iranian-made drones, is that correct?
SGT. REEVE: No, ma'am. The way I designed this was to essentially build out the criteria to emulate any sort of UAS so it's not tailored to one UAS specifically but can be broadly applied, and there is tools to make that as specific to the information that we have about these threats.
Q: Okay, great. And then just also to clarify, you mentioned Ukraine. You both mentioned that this is not CENTCOM specific, per se. How much are you sharing with EUCOM? Will this be available to EUCOM to -- and potentially to the Ukrainian military as well? I mean, what are the future plans for this?
MS. MOORE: Yes and yes. So, I mean, part of Sergeant Reeve's tour has included engagement with counter-UAS teams that are across the country here and also in theater. So the short answer is absolutely within our own team.
We also have constant engagement with EUCOM, in particular, because of the counter-UAS threats that they share. But even beyond EUCOM, I mean, INDOPACOM, everyone is going to face this challenge. This is not unique to CENTCOM. Counter-UAS is something that all of us are going to have to deal with.
And so to the extent also that we can integrate their feedback into what we built with Sergeant Reeve so that it's applicable to multiple regions, we would love to do that.
Q: And then finally, what's the timeline? When do you see this software coming into action?
MS. MOORE: So Innovation Oasis was October -- was that --
SGT. REEVE: Yes.
MS. MOORE: October. And then we are working with Army Software Factory right now to get them out into theater. They're running a discovery sprint and our goal is to have a fully fleshed out product inside of 90 days.
Q: Thanks. Travis Tritten, Military.com. Thanks for doing this.
So is artificial intelligence integrated into CENTCOM combat operations currently, particularly in countering Iran? I believe that that was one of the initiatives of the JAIC.
And if it's -- is it part -- like, when we have to blow someone up, is A.I. a part of the kill chain? And if so, like, how, is it a part of the chain?
MS. MOORE: We are very mindful and continue conversations with the policy team at all times about what the exact limits of what we can and cannot do in theater are for that. Where we're really heavily integrating A.I. is into historical looking data, so that we understand the patterns of life that are happening in the region.
So again, for the Navy's perspective, a lot of what they're trying to track is where is weapons smuggling mostly coming out of, what ports do you need to be particularly mindful of, what vessels do you need to be watching more closely?
And so what we can do is inject as much of the data, both from commercial and DOD, into an A.I. algorithm that's focused on maritime anomalous behavior, for example, and say, ‘ahh, okay, this is the type of behavior in this specific region that you should look at more closely.’
So, you know, a comparison of what a before and after would look like -- previously, we've had a destroyer patrolling the Red Sea. That's the equivalent of one cop car patrolling the whole of California. It really is just -- the coverage is very difficult, whereas what we can do now is put out autonomous sensors that are in the hundreds, if not thousands, if you have buoys out, suck up all of that data and say I now have a really good idea of what the pattern of life is and I believe that inside of this 10 nautical mile radius there is a particularly threatening activity.
Demand assets we have, destroyers or otherwise, should be deployed there. So it allows us to be much more precise.
Q: So it's not actually involved, if there is a strike called, the A.I. wouldn't be part of that chain from the time it's decided to when it's carried out?
MS. MOORE: For strike and kinetic action we will always have a human making that decision and heavily involved in that.
Q: Right, I understand. But is AI also involved in that process at this point?
MS. MOORE: It informs the decision making to the extent that it helps you filter down the contacts but there will always be a layer of human decision making on top of that.
Q: Brian Everstine, Aviation Week. You had touched on just how broad of an issue counter-UAS is and across the service there are so many different efforts; You have the Counter UAS office, you have what the services are doing, what their labs are developing. Even within CENTCOM, different bases are doing different things.
How do you avoid, to use a Pentagon favorite term, ‘stove pipes?’ How is what you're doing communicating to back to the headquarters and across the services?
MS. MOORE: So I -- what we've found is that the best we can do this is getting folks out into theater to see what we're doing live because that is what makes people really excited about integrating it themselves and then also connecting the dots of ‘Ah! I’m working on a project that overlaps with this perfectly- We should get together and see what we can build.’
And so whether it's having examples like Red Sands where we will heavily promote that to the building and ask that people come out and engage, whether it's having folks like ourselves come up into the Pentagon and have those conversations describing in pretty intricate detail what the tech solutions are that we're building out.
Both of those are how we're going about it. And fortunately there are always -- there are a lot of teams working on counter-UAS in the Pentagon and that's a good thing. It's just making sure that we are finding the connective tissue and leveraging one another in a collaborative, not duplicative way.
And I think we're getting at that just by sheer volume of outreach.
Q: And can you talk a little bit about how in your AOR the threat has evolved? Are you seeing more UAS, are you seeing swarming coordinated attacks? How -- what are you preparing for?
MS. MOORE: Well, I think it would actually be better for you to start and I can add my perspective.
SGT. REEVE: Yes, sir. So with this, from the operational perspective, we -- right now we prepare for all threats based on the way that our capabilities work and the way that we're able to employ our capabilities. We're able to run scenarios and run essentially what's called a battle drill to tackle these threats with the tools that we currently have.
And to that extent we have great faith and great trust in our systems to be able to defeat whatever these threats are and we have these scenarios and our contingencies planned out to be able to counter these threats.
MS. MOORE: And I think the shift is, as you would imagine, is a volume and diversity problem, right? where the sheer volume of what folks are able to throw at us is larger than previous and the diversity of it is changing just as new systems come online.
And so what that means is that your -- what you're looking for is changing on a fairly regular basis and the volume of what you're having to sift through is quite large. But that is a good example of why his trainer was so helpful because I think that previously we've tried to overwork the problem to a certain extent of having counter-UAS trainers that were very specific to a one type of -- whether Iranian or other drone that everybody is going to be looking for and the beauty of his is that it's platform agnostic.
You can change it depending on the size, the speed, the payload that might be coming in and that, again, the fact that folks outside of the AOR couldn't quite come up with that solution but he could is such clear evidence that the people closest to the problem should be closely involved in the solution building.
Q: Chris Gordon, Air & Space Forces Magazine. I'd like to follow up on a point you made, you've said this is an active AOR. You're facing real threats. But you also want to experiment against those real threats. So if it's an experiment what happens if that experiment fails? How much can this really be taken against a real threat that might hold your forces at risk?
MS. MOORE: Sure.
Q: So I'm just trying to get a sense of how real that is.
MS. MOORE: So I'll maybe inject an answer before any of you even have the chance to ask it, which is the instance of the sail drone from the summer that was towed by an Iranian war ship. And to us that is actually an example of what started as an experimentation with the sail drone, we discovered that it worked and that we could have it out for 200 plus days and so we pushed it to operations and then we were able to shift it to increasingly more challenging environments over time.
And then we hit the point in the summer where it got towed and we lost a couple hundred dollars worth of cameras. Nothing sensitive, there were no sensitive sensors, there was no sensitive data on it. And what we were -- but what we were able to learn from that was, okay, what are we going to do in the future if there are sensitive equipment on there, if there is sensitive data. What does remote wiping going to look like. What do floodable containers look like that might wipe a sensor?
We are learning from our experiments in a way that, again, we want to work through these friction points before other combatant commands have to.
And so to me that's a good example of one where we're pushing the outer limits of what operations with this technology looks like but we're doing it in a way that is not going to incur risk that the department can't accept.
Q: Is this something then with an experiment you always have some form of backup, there's never going to be just relying on one of your systems that you're testing?
MS. MOORE: Well, so that's the beauty of it though, is that we're able to ramp it up. So you start by having pretty heavy oversight because you got to make sure ‘hey, does this autonomous system even work, is it going to run into other vessels?’ A company can tell us it's going to be autonomous but we find out very quickly whether or not it is once it’s out in the water.
So you start with heavier oversight and then you essentially start taking the training wheels off as you go and then you also have to have a conversation about what is the cost of the system, what is the contractual requirement of replacing a broken part or a lost part and then to make a more precise decision really about how you're deploying your manned assets based on the cost and the risk that you can quantify based on those metrics.
STAFF: Sure, let's go to the phone real quick and I'll come back to you. Anyone on the phone have a question?
Q: Yes. This is Carly Goldenberg. My question is for Sergeant Reeve. Good evening, Sergeant Reeve. I was reading one of your interviews from mid-October where you talked about how the ideal outcome for your counter-UAS system would be that it would provide a critical asset for training on bases everywhere.
So I was curious, can you give us a sense of the impact of this Counter UAS software for soldiers on the ground who are deployed throughout the world? Thank you.
SGT. REEVE: I designed my software to be as agnostic to any base, any situation as possible. Everything is user defined and everything is user created. And the reason why I did it that way is because nobody knows best the situation and the realities on the ground rather than the people that face it 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.
So with that then, I am providing them all the tools to use and all the tools to mimic their operational environments to train against with a common operating picture but there's nothing inherently about it that would require it to be modified or changed in any sort of significant way to be employed across a wider area of responsibility.
STAFF: Anyone else on the phone?
Q: Yes, here.
STAFF: Well, go ahead.
Q: Thank you so much. And this is (inaudible) from (inaudible). My question is that is this action, this operation, is this going to be helpful in any sense or by an incentive to the formation of the so-called ‘Middle Eastern NATO?’ Are you willing to share this sort of tech with your regional allies?
And also, is it going to be successful in confronting Iranian maritime activities or it's only about the UAVs?
MS. MOORE: I'm sorry, I think I lost the second half of your first question. ‘Formation of…’ and then it was a little bit fuzzy.
Q: Okay, I'm sorry. The formation of the so-called ‘Middle Eastern NATO’ and are you willing to share any of these technologies with your allies, the regional allies? And also, about the maritime activities, is this specifically about the UAVs or is it going to help U.S. confronting Iranian maritime activities as well?
MS. MOORE: Got you. Thank you for the clarification. So, I mean, I think from the sort of "Middle Eastern NATO" perspective, again, the beauty of what we've seen with some of this technology is that it allows us to develop genuinely joint capability and interoperability at a level that was previously unimaginable, because a lot of this commercial tech that is very accessible and at a cost point that any partner can participate in and then at the same time we are all genuinely experimenting with one another, transitioning to the operations, determining the capabilities that actually meet our joint threat in capability requirements as needed. And so, for us, it's critically important to think of these as a partnership mechanism almost first and foremost.
You'll hear Admiral Cooper from the Navy talking about a 100 USV fleet. That fleet is 80 percent partnered and 20 percent U.S. And that, I think, really sums up exactly what the potential is here because for the fleet of that size to be useful all of that has to be -- that data has to be integrated, you have to have a shared common operational picture and all of that becomes a really exciting opportunity.
From the Iranian Navy question that -- I mean, that in many ways is the driving function for what we're doing in the Navy space.
So, at Task Force 59 we were looking at really two forms of A.I. deployment; one was computer vision, and so that was looking at all of the pictures that were coming in and being able to say, ‘this is a fishing vessel, this is a commercial vessel, this is a military warship,’ and then being able to drop down a layer on top of that of saying, ‘okay, anomalous behavior detection, it's a fishing vessel but it's in an area where fishing often does not occur.’ And then in the picture, you have no fishing equipment on your boat. So signs point to you are a suspicious vessel that we might want to take a harder look at.
It's challenging in the Iranian context just because there are so many different types of vessels being used that are not flying the flag of Iran, that are not warships. But again, this is an opportunity for us to train ourselves and to train our algorithms to be more thoughtful and be able to catch some of this threatening activity earlier.
STAFF: Yes, sir.
Q: Thanks, Patrick Tucker of Defense One. Good to see you in person. Sargent, good to meet you.
So, as part of this common operating picture that you're developing, there's a ton of different counter-UAS systems that are deployed now in the Middle East. There's a handheld drone defender thing, there's facility-wide base things, on the (inaudible) there was a 50-kilowatt laser. Are you learning about what the limitations are in specific counter-UAS systems that the U.S. is deploying? And how does that new intelligence about strengths or weaknesses of one system over another get transferred up to become useful?
MS. MOORE: So, I mean, I've been having those exact conversations with the counter-UAS teams in the building this week, which is about their feedback of, okay we're curious about your feedback about X, Y, Z system. What can you tell us about that and connecting them with a team who can give the feedback of, in this past week we used it in this way, and it worked to X or Y, Z effect?
And also, having their teams physically go out and say, okay is the reason that the effectiveness is lower or higher than we expected because you are using it in a way that we did not necessarily expect or is it because you really are using it correctly and this simply isn't meeting your needs.
And so, finding that back and forth where there are folks that might be able to help you use the system more effectively or the system simply may not be meeting the need is all part of the discussion that we're trying to promote.
Q: Okay, so really quick, on the gap, is the gap potentially that there's not enough of one type of system, is it that there's too many and so this common operating picture is necessary? Is it that that there isn't enough variety of systems? What would you -- the most urgent question about fixing the counter UAS problem be?
SGT. REEVE: So right now, what we have is a multiple -- these systems all perform slightly different functions and they're all better or worse at different things. And that's really informing our layered defense, where there's no one system out there right now that's doing everything perfectly. So, having these multiple systems is really enabling us to fill in the gaps of where one system's capabilities may end and where another one's begin and it’s really allowing us to also tailor our defeat decisions to whatever the threat that we're facing is.
MS. MOORE: I think sometimes we hope for a solution that is the cure-all, that it is going to meet every single requirement for a counter-UAS coming in that it is going to, you know, be the sensor that collects everything. And the reality that we consistently see is that you have tools that are very good at a particular thing, and you have to layer it with other pieces. You are not going to have a single -- we are often promised this by vendors and by other folks that they will have the magic solution that does everything. The magic solution is when we take multiple solutions and work them together.
STAFF: So, we've got time for a couple more questions. Sir?
Q: Thank you, Jon Harper with Defense Scoop. Sorry if I missed this, but does Sergeant Reeve's technology have a name yet for this particular capability?
MS. MOORE: We haven't actually named it yet. So, we can --
SGT. REEVE: No, there's a running name for it right now, which is the Interim Platform-Agnostic Counter-UAS Training Tool. This is the first acronym that I thought of. It stands for IMPACT, but there's no operational name for this tool yet.
Q: And will this technology be ready for the Red Sands experiment that's coming up?
MS. MOORE: So, the timing to us was perfect, because I mean we really couldn't have planned this better of Sergeant Reeve creating this tool and this tool, a trainer is something that not only we can use, but our partners can use. It's going to be accessible on all of the networks where folks can. And so, it's a perfect starting point to say, ‘okay are we all thinking about this in the same way? Are the factors that you can queue on this trainer meeting everybody's collective needs for it?’ So, it's certainly a great starting point. There will be a broader set of counter-UAS efforts inside of the Red Sands program, but absolutely a great starting point.
Q: And is this, the work that the Army Software Factory is doing for this particular effort, is this like part of a broader relationship that you have with the Army Software Factory or does it vary specifically and tailored to this single project?
MS. MOORE: We are starting with this project, and we are excited to keep partnering with them going forward. What's been wonderful about this experience is, you know, I came from OSD and I watched many of these teams stand up from Army Software Factory to Defense Innovation Unit to Kessel Run, to keep naming -- Defense Digital Service, the innovation community in the department has been building for years.
And I think what we are now able to take advantage of is the fact that we as operators can very clearly define the problem set that we have and then reach back and say, we need software developers, we need data scientists, we need network architects. And that talent actually exists in the department. It's just about, you know, to his earlier point, there are so many mixed efforts going on, it's about knowing where the teams are and being able to reach out and leverage them correctly.
Q: Thank you.
STAFF: Thank you. Last question. So, just a reminder, we'll have some representatives from CENTCOM Public Affairs to answer your questions if we didn't get a chance to. So, last question in the room.
Q: Sure. Can you talk about how this software fits into the concept of the Middle East Integrated Air Defenses, that you heard the president talking about earlier this year? And how much input will our partners have into how it all fits together?
MS. MOORE: So, it's going to be, as you would expect, iterative. And as we noted with the previous question that it's going to require a lot of different technologies layered on top of one another. We can describe the concept as an integrated air defense picture. And what it will take from us is working through the friction points for these different technologies that are going to feed it. And it's going to require different efforts for different partners depending on the information-sharing agreements that we have.
Some of it is going to be a technical challenge. Others are going to be policy-related. But the point for us is that we can in-theater shake loose the tree of the friction points that are going to allow us to actually execute it.
STAFF: Thank you. So that's about all the time we have for this too. Once again, thank you for your interest in CENTCOM innovation initiatives. And we'll have someone, a rep from CENTCOM Public Affairs here to answer any follow-up questions you guys may have.
Thank you for your time.
MS. MOORE: Thank you all.