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Mark Lewis Explains DOD’s ‘Intelligent Approach’ to Modernization

Mark Lewis

Acting Deputy

Undersecretary, DOD

Mark Lewis Explains DOD’s ‘Intelligent Approach’ to Modernization

The Department of Defense's modernization strategy is focused on the development and procurement of high-priority technologies like artificial intelligence, directed energy, small satellites, hypersonics, 5G networks and unmanned aerial systems, according to an official. 

Mark Lewis, acting deputy undersecretary of defense for research and engineering and a past Potomac Officers Club event speaker, said DOD's research and engineering work has courted Congress' support because of the agency's approach of “accepting risk intelligently.”

The Pentagon supports research and engineering efforts that at least result in some measure of success even if they fail, ensuring that its fruits can still be used for future capabilities, Lewis said at the Defense News Conference. 

According to him, DOD works to avoid “dumb failures" such as a fin falling off a rocket or using a wrong type of battery. 

Lewis, who also serves as the director of defense research and engineering for modernization, said the department is also working to ensure that all of its services and organizations are developing complementary systems that are not redundant.

The final modernization strategy, Lewis said, is to work with industry and academia on key research and technologies that could benefit the warfighter.

Part of the said effort is to work with partners and allies globally, including ones that are less traditional. Wider collaboration for all 11 of the Pentagon's modernization priorities ensures that the department can rely on multiple perspectives and viewpoints, Lewis said. 

"The most important thing is that we're moving beyond the research lab. We're moving beyond the development phase. We're really moving to actual procurement," he added.

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Tags: academia artificial intelligence Defense News Conference Defense.gov Department of Defense hypersonic industry Mark Lewis modernization modernization strategy partnership POC member priority risk management Speaker News