News   Armed With Science

DOD Kicks Off 17th Annual Engineers Week

Feb. 24, 2022 | BY C. Todd Lopez , DOD News

For the 17th year now, the Defense Department is recognizing the important role engineers play in advancing the mission of defending the nation.

A woman talks on the phone.
Heidi Shyu
Heidi Shyu, the under secretary of defense for research and engineering, participates in a virtual kick-off event for Engineers Week 2022, February 23, 2022, at the Pentagon.
Photo By: Lisa Ferdinando, DOD
VIRIN: 220223-D-BN624-0009

During a virtual event today to highlight Engineers Week 2022 — this year with the theme of "Reimagining the Possible" — under secretary of defense for research and engineering, Heidi Shyu. discussed how critical the advancement of new technology is for the United States within the global security environment, and how engineers will help make that technology possible. 

"We live in an era in which technology competition is the new battleground," Shyu said. "Our adversaries are investing heavily, they're acting nimbly and building strategically ... furthering science and technology innovation across the department could not be more important than it is today." 

Marines work on satellite gear.
Satellite Operations
Marine Corps Cpl. Christopher Hoang and Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Zachary Juteau, satellite transmission systems operators with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, conduct performance checks on a Very Small Aperture Terminal – Large, during a communications exercise at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Dec. 7, 2020.
Photo By: Marine Corps Cpl. Seth Rosenberg
VIRIN: 201207-D-D0439-1012

Shyu recently made public a list of 14 technology areas she believes are the most important for the department to focus on. Those areas include biotechnology; quantum science; future-generation wireless technology; advanced materials; trusted artificial intelligence and autonomy; integrated network systems-of-systems; microelectronics; space technology; renewable energy generation and storage; advanced computing and software; human-machine interfaces; directed energy; hypersonics; and integrated sensing and cyber. 

"The DOD must harness the incredible innovation ecosystem both domestically and globally in order to see ahead of our adversaries," Shyu said. "The challenges facing our military are both diverse and complex, ranging from sophisticated cyber attacks to supply chain risks, to defending against hypersonic missiles, to responding to biothreats." 

A device using laser beams is on display.
Experimental Laser
An experimental laser is in use at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, Oct. 22, 2020.
Photo By: Donna Lindner, Air Force
VIRIN: 201022-D-D0439-001D

The Defense Department's strategy for meeting those challenges, Shyu said, includes taking advantage of America's existing innovation potential, building a stronger technical workforce, and leveraging partnerships. 

Among those partnerships, she said, are universities, university-affiliated research centers, federally funded research and development centers, the defense industry, the private sector and allies and partners. 

Tactical vehicles in single-line formation travel down a dirt road,
Bradley Lineup
Modified Bradley fighting vehicles, known as Mission Enabling Technologies Demonstrators, and modified M113 tracked armored personnel carriers, or Robotic Combat Vehicles, are used for the Soldier Operational Experimentation Phase 1 to further develop learning objectives for the manned-unmanned teaming concept, Fort Carson, Colo., Dec. 15, 2020.
Photo By: Jerome Aliotta, DOD
VIRIN: 201215-D-D0439-001

"By working together we can solve the toughest challenges," she said, telling engineers who attended the virtual event that they are central to accomplishing the Department's goals. 

"This engineers week is a celebration of your innovation, your creativity, your dedication and your passion to make this world a better place," she said. "Thank you all for what you do."