Article written by BG William J. Marshall III, USA (Retired), Assistant Vice President for Government and Military Relations at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and Executive Director at the Innovation Laboratory for Defense and Homeland Security with the New Jersey Innovation Institute, Robolliance Expert
Current events demonstrate that ever-present need for a strong defense posture. They also show that the battleground has shifted from open warfare between combatant equals to asymmetric warfare, often conducted in civilian environments with cooperative host nations. Scorched earth does not work as a strategy.
In many respects, the issues and methodologies that need to be employed have more similarity across military, homeland security and traditional civilian policing than ever before. These new challenges layer on top of the need to maintain a secure defense posture relative to other global super powers and at a time when defense spending is deeply constrained.
Technology has always been a basis of US defense superiority and will remain so. The future calls for new force multipliers – unmanned systems technology that keep the warfighter, officer or EMT out of direct harm's way. New sensor technology that transcends human detection to identify threats and provide an augmented view of the battle space, cityscape or disaster scene. New data analytics that can fuse complex streams of disparate data to provide command decision support. New materials technology that reduces weight, simplifies logistical footprint and offers superior performance attributes. New techniques to defend against cyber-attacks, apprehend attackers and use modern computing technology as a strategic advantage.
Working together is a solution. I oversee New Jersey Innovation Institute’s (NJII) Defense and Homeland Security lab, which works with companies to develop, design and deploy solutions that have been vetted and that can be applied in the field. This approach bridges the gaps that are normally found in top down and bottom up planning processes by including the strategic thinkers, operational planners and the boots on the ground. In addition, we can directly interface with other institutions, government agencies and companies to facilitate collaboration, foster innovation and identify pathways to new products and services. The lab can also act as a trusted agent in pursuing opportunities, maintaining standards and meeting policy and regulatory guidelines. Moreover, we can leverage experiential and anecdotal citations with case studies in an effort to provide a scalable, adaptive and comprehensive solutions set.
NJII, and if there are other entities within your market area, can pair innovative ideas with partners to optimize development and minimize risk. Resources, like ours, are available to assist from business model concept through commercialization. Businesses can seek out a partnership resource, such as NJII provides large companies, to be your technical and innovation partner. This will increase your competitive advantage by safeguarding your assets with technological advancements you did not even know you needed, like robotics.