Congressional Briefing Highlights the Roles Science and Technology Play in Strengthening the Defense Industrial Base

Feb 2, 2018

ASME recently joined the Coalition for National Security Research (CNSR) in hosting a Congressional briefing on the important role of Defense Science and Technology (S&T) funding in ensuring a strong defense industrial base.

Poster presentations showcasing DOD-funded research at CNSR-member universities framed the room for guests to view as they found their seats. Congressman Jack Bergman (R-MI) and Congressman Bill Flores (R-TX) met with researchers from universities in their own Congressional Districts to learn more about the scientific advances being made through DOD-funded research.

Major General (ret.) Nick Justice, Executive Director of PowerAmerica Manufacturing USA, moderated the event and introduced Dale Ormond, Principle Director for the Research Directorate OASD (R&E), to deliver opening remarks before four DOD-funded researchers presented their cutting-edge research to the audience of over 80.

Dr. Neil Gershenfeld of MIT exhibited his work on creating new mechanical processes based on biology that allows manufacturers to digitize the actual material components. Dr. Andrew Ellington shared that impactful research often starts under DOD and that the future capabilities of the U.S. depend on the basic research conducted today. Dr. Tony Rivera of the University of Maryland highlighted the value of diversity in STEM, and Dr. Robert Ghrist of University of Pennsylvania spoke to the importance of interactive learning in STEM fields to increase comprehension of complex subjects and problem solving abilities. 

Following the presentations, Special Guest Rear Admiral (ret.) Mathew Klunder commented on the government’s vital role in the innovation ecosystem, as federal funding catalyzes additional investments elsewhere, multiplying its impact. Former Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics John J. Young, Jr. offered closing remarks, testifying to the importance of a robust S&T program in ensuring a strong defense industrial base. He encouraged the audience to invest in research even when it has no obvious application, as those experiments often lead to world-changing discoveries.

A full video of the briefing will be available for viewing sometime in the future and a link will be included in a future edition of Capitol Update.

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