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Heidi Shyu Highlights Need for Strong R&D Foundation, Offers Updates on Critical Tech Areas

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Heidi Shyu, undersecretary for research and engineering at the Department of Defense and a 2022 Wash100 Award winner, on Wednesday appeared before a Senate Armed Services Committee subpanel to discuss DOD’s efforts to advance innovation and deliver capabilities to warfighters.

Shyu told lawmakers about the need to have a robust research and development foundation in order for the U.S. military to maintain its technological advantage.

“We must make a commitment to science and technology, especially in basic research. We also have to attract and retain the best and brightest people while supplying them with world-class research and development infrastructure,” Shyu told members of the Senate panel’s emerging threats and capabilities subcommittee.

And the Department will rapidly prototype and perform joint experimentation and collaborate across the technology ecosystem,” she added.

In a written testimony, Shyu provided updates on developments in 5G, hypersonics, biotechnology, microelectronics and other critical technology areas in support of the National Defense Strategy.

She said more than 65 5G-related contracts involving over 100 companies have been awarded to date, and DOD is conducting experiments with seven 5G use cases to help address warfighting requirements in smart warehouse and logistics, augmented reality and dynamic spectrum sharing, among others.

For hypersonics, Shyu said the department is expediting plans to facilitate rapid development of hypersonic weapons to enable the deployment of operational prototypes by the mid-2020s.

She also highlighted the need to improve partnerships between public and private sectors and expand collaboration with academic institutions, allies and partners.