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DOD Officials, Defense CEOs Meet to Discuss Future of Hypersonic Weapons Program

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DOD Officials, Defense CEOs Meet to Discuss Future of Hypersonic Weapons Program

Ranking Pentagon officials on Thursday traded insights with over a dozen defense industry CEOs in an unclassified meeting on the future of America’s hypersonic weapons program, according to reports by the defense press. Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks convened the meeting, which revolved around getting feedback on impediments to the speedy development of hypersonic capabilities, C4ISRNET reported Saturday.

Making a brief appearance at the meeting, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin impressed upon defense industry leaders the importance of developing hypersonic weapons at the soonest in view of the major strides China has achieved in developing such capabilities.

Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Heidi Shyu was the most active in engaging the CEOs during the meeting. The industry leaders told her about a range of developmental impediments, including supply chain constraints, acquisition barriers, budget instability and access to test facilities.

On the subject of access to testing facilities, the defense sector executives explained that without such facilities, the department will struggle to truly adopt a “test often, fail fast and learn” development approach, which is not conducive to the rapid advancement of hypersonic weapons technology.

Meanwhile, observers in the defense sector expressed optimism over the meeting between Department of Defense decision-makers and the industry’s CEOs. Defense industry consultant Loren Thompson said that what is truly important is that Austin decided to bring stakeholders together to plot a way forward in hypersonic capabilities development.

In October, the U.S. Navy and Army conducted three hypersonic weapons tests in an effort to inform on the development of such new armaments. The tests occurred the same day that President Joe Biden said he was concerned about Chinese hypersonic weapons.

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Category: Defense and Intelligence

Tags: C4ISRNET Defense and Intelligence Department of Defense Heidi Shyu hypersonic weapons Kathleen Hicks Lloyd Austin Pentagon

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