Pentagon Spokesman Eric Pahon provided the following readout:
Since 2021, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III and Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Kathleen Hicks have engaged with more than 170 industry leaders as a part of a persistent, open communication strategy to advance the Department’s understanding of industry priorities and challenges.
These engagements have been focused across the Department’s set of 14 critical technology development areas to ensure our continued dominance on the highly-contested battlefields of the future, including artificial intelligence; microelectronics; biotechnology; integrated sensing and cyber; and hypersonics.
Today, Deputy Secretary Hicks chaired an industry round-table meeting with hypersonics industry executives virtually via teleconference from the Pentagon. The meeting, included a question-and-answer session with CEOs, was moderated by Under Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering Heidi Shyu.
Secretary Austin joined the call briefly to hear perspectives from industry leaders, and noted the need for persistent dialogue in order to meet the department’s current and future capabilities requirements for defensive and offensive capabilities.
Executives from more than a dozen companies of varying scale attended the round table and discussed supply chain and production capacity constraints across markets; the challenges posed by continuing resolutions; access to test facilities; workforce needs; and government acquisition barriers.
Participants identified a need to expand access to modeling capabilities and testing facilities in order to adopt a “test often, fail fast, and learn” approach which will accelerate the fielding of hypersonic and counter-hypersonic systems.
These meetings with executives in key areas of innovation and modernization also help to employ a collaborative disruption approach to accelerate the development of cutting-edge capabilities and new operational concepts.