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Mark Lewis: Microelectronics, 5G, Hypersonics Are DoD’s Top Three R&D Priorities

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Mark Lewis
Mark Lewis DoD

The Department of Defense (DoD) is reshuffling its research-and-development priorities as it develops new roadmaps to advance future capabilities and Mark Lewis, director of research and engineering for modernization at DoD, said microelectronics is now the Pentagon’s top priority, National Defense reported Friday.

“We want to move away from trusted foundries and instead move towards technologies that allow us to operate and develop trusted components in zero-trust environments,” Lewis said of microelectronics. He added that Nicole Petta, assistant director for microelectronics, is working on a roadmap to meet this goal by 2023.

Lewis said DoD considers 5G communications as its second R&D priority followed by hypersonic weapons. He noted that the department plans to procure large quantities of hypersonic weapons.

“We’re not interested in prototype programs that terminate at onesies and twosies,” he said of hypersonics. “You want weapons at scale. And by scale, we mean hundreds of systems. Eventually, down the line, you need thousands.”

DoD’s research and engineering office is also advancing other modernization priorities, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, cyber, autonomy, directed energy, biotechnology, quantum science, directed energy, space as well as fully networked command, control and communications.