Assistant Director Mike E. White and Director Gillian Bussey Remarks to The Technology and Training Corporation on Hypersonics and Autonomous Systems

Nov. 4, 2020
Mike E. White, Assistant Director For Hypersonics, Office Of The Undersecretary Of Defense For Research And Engineering; Dr. Gillian Bussey, Director, Joint Hypersonics Transition Office

(UNKNOWN): Welcome back. Welcome back, everybody. Thank you so much for your patience. The questions are great and we appreciate that.

And, Ron, keeping an eye on the time with me is also helpful and thank you. We ran a little bit late with Matt Rabinovich; that's okay. I think some of the questions from Mr. Byrnes maybe put us where we need it to be, give or take five minutes.

Anyhow, Ron, I'm going to turn the virtual podium back over to you so we can introduce Mike White.

MODERATOR: Sure, thank you. My pleasure now to introduce Mr. Michael E. White. He is the Principal Director for Hypersonics in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering at OUSD.

In that capacity is responsible for leading the nation's vision and strategy for developing offensive and defensive warfighting capability enabled by hypersonic systems. Before his current position, he was head of the Air and Missile Defense Sector of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory where he led over 1,100 staff members developing advanced concepts to enhance the nation's air and missile defense capability for programs including Aegis, standard missile, and ship self defense systems cooperative engagement capability. The Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program, Aegis ballistic missile defense, and numerous other MDA programs.

Mr. White earned both his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science Degrees in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland. He's authored over 30 papers on hypersonic weapon systems development and other defense system-related topics. Thank you so much for being here sir, it's all yours.

PRINCIPAL DIRECTOR MIKE E. WHITE: Thank you for the introduction. Is that like watching the football game and get the virtual clapping in the background? Appreciate the --

(UNKNOWN): We did everything we could to make you feel at home.

MR. WHITE: I appreciate the opportunity to address this group and what I want to try to do in my remarks, just to calibrate, I have about 30 minutes, is that what the time is for?

MODERATOR: Yes sir, 30 minutes. And then if you have five more minutes for Q&A if there are any questions.

MR. WHITE: All right. Perfect. I'll provide an overarching summary of the strategy, those of you who might have heard me talk over the last few months probably can recite it better than I can, but I'll give you some context within which to make some remarks that tie together autonomy with hypersonics and kind of present some challenges and some thoughts with respect to that combination.

As was just mentioned, I'm the principle director for hypersonics. Hypersonics is one of the DOD modernization areas, there are 11 and one of the other ones is autonomy. So I want to recognize my counterpart on the autonomy side, Wayne Nickols, who is leading that activity for the department. And so the two entry points for DOD on the hypersonics autonomy side or myself and Wayne and the activities that we're talking about here really kind of tie us together and help us work across the modernization priorities in a way that's going to be important.

So as many of you know, last November, Dr. Griffin brought in Dr. Mark Lewis to be the new DDR&E for modernization. And Dr. Lewis's responsibility in that role, he is now the acting Deputy Undersecretary, as well as holding this role. But his DDR&E role for modernization is really to help us principal directors integrate capabilities so that what we're delivering to the warfighter is not singular transformational capabilities but an integrated capability across the modernization portfolio.

So you can think of autonomy and hypersonics being integrated in the way you fly vehicles and the things you might do with those vehicles. FNC3 and Michael Zatman helping with the command and control elements and the front end of the kill chain elements for targeting hypersonic strike weapons. And the cyber team helping us to make sure that our weapon systems are cyber resilient. So we are working across the modernization portfolio to pull together capability and making sure that we're leveraging and integrating what we deliver to the warfighter.

So let's talk a little bit about what we're doing in hypersonics. We have a three-phase strategy in hypersonics or a three-part strategy in hypersonics. The three parts are defense against adversary hypersonics -- so my role is not only offense but it is defense -- so defense against adversary hypersonics, so working closely with the Missile Defense Agency as the executive agent for the department, putting together an integrated strategy for defense against hypersonics.

Offensive strike systems, so hypersonic systems that provide us offensive capability to do long range, high speed, time critical strike against targets of strategic importance. And then the third leg is reusable systems for missions such as responsive ISR and accelerated or access to space capability with two-stage-to-orbit or maybe someday like the old mass base, we'll resurrect the single-stage-to-orbit capability with hypersonic systems. So, those are the three elements of the strategy.

Much of what we've accelerated to date and emphasized has been on the strike side of the house, but the defensive side of the house is equally important and that will be one of our next phases of acceleration is on the defensive side of the house. And let me talk just very briefly about the challenges in defense and we can think about how autonomous systems might help us in that realm, and the adversary's use of autonomous systems might challenge us and help drive requirements into our defensive system.

When you think about the defense against hypersonic systems, it really is not that different philosophically from defense against ballistic missiles and cruise missiles. The challenge with hypersonic systems is that they fly in a region of the atmosphere, the hypersonic speed allows sustained flight in the upper regions of the atmosphere, so they fly at a range that some people call near-space, say between 80,000 and 150,000 feet.

And without hypersonic speeds, you don't have enough lift to fly at that altitude with the low densities. And so, hypersonic speed really enables sustained flight there. And our air defense systems and our missile defense systems are designed to operate on either side of that near-space operating zone.

Air defense systems work well up to 70,000 feet or so and are designed to have radars that look over -- at the horizon to find low-altitude cruise missiles and be able to handle threats -- aircraft and missile threats up to about 70,000 feet. Our ballistic missile systems are designed to look up for mid-course intercept, exoatmospheric intercept of ballistic missiles and all of our system elements are designed for that mission.

So, right from the very beginning, we really don't have a system where the sensor architecture looks effectively in the near-space regime.

On the defensive side of the house, we think detect, control, engage, so, what we need to do is refine that detection architecture as well as making sure that we can do command and control and do weapon control against adversary threats that are hypersonic threats.

Why is that different? What's different about that compared to a typical ballistic missile defense architecture is that we do something called intercept point prediction, where we predict where we think, based on the previous flight characteristics, where we think that vehicle is going to be at the point of intercept and we launch our missile with that intercept point prediction.

And we can take out some end game uncertainties with respect to that. But what hypersonic systems allow you to do is maneuver very, very rapidly to great offset ranges. So, where do we launch our missile, if at that any given point in time by the time our missile gets to an intercept point, we can be -- the adversary can be 200 kilometers left or 200 kilometers right of where we thought they were going to be.

So, that presents some significant command and control challenges and weapon control challenges. And then, you take that to engagement end of the kill chain and you look at the engagement prospects and making sure that hey, not only we got to put the weapon in a basket that needs to be the consummate an intercept, I have to be able to react with that weapon and have enough divert capability against a maneuvering -- highly maneuvering aerodynamic vehicle that can do end-game maneuvers and even maybe even reactive end-game maneuvers.

So, all that challenge pulled together makes the defense against hypersonic threat problem very, very hard. The approach we're taking is to extend the traditional layered defense approach that we do at air defense and ballistic missile defense, and that we're looking at how do we engage hypersonic threats in the terminal. How do we then -- how do we engage them in the glide phase and then how do we, in fact, pull together a more comprehensive strategy to deny launch.

So, I coined a term called Comprehensive Layered Defense, or Comprehensive Layered Defeat, that lets us look at the defensive challenge more holistically. How do we go left of launch, deny the adversary's ability to launch or at least their ability to launch effectively. And then once they launch, be able to do a layered kinetic and non-kinetic defeat of the threat. So, we're putting together that kind of an architecture and that kind of a philosophy on the defensive side of the house.

Once you look at that set of challenges, you can think about autonomy and how it might enable us to better perform each of the elements of the kill chain, whether it be autonomous detection, autonomous data fusion with multiple sources of detection, autonomous control of the flight vehicle with any kind of in-flight updates that we might be able to provide and really kind of an autonomous end-game strategy.

To a large degree, our air defense and missile defense systems do that now. They have built in autonomy into the systems that close loops with seekers and that sort of thing. But in framing challenges associated with the defense against hypersonic problem, applying advanced AI and autonomous algorithms to the intercept and the kill chain presents interesting challenges and maybe some opportunity space for autonomy.

As I describe that defense strategy, we talked about left of launch and left of launch and denial of left of launch drives a key element of our offensive strategy. So, we're looking at developing a family of hypersonic weapons.

That family of hypersonic weapons will be launched from multiple launch platforms -- air, land and sea launch platforms. We'll be able to deliver conventional warheads to medium and intermediate range targets very, very rapidly.

That family of weapons has as a target set adversary hypersonic missile or adversary missile launch capabilities whether they be cruise missiles, hypersonic missiles or ballistic missiles; as well as a number of other high-end targets of strategic importance that you might think of that the adversary has put in place to implement their A2AD strategy. Their systems are designed to challenge our domain dominance in space, in the air, on land and at sea. We want to be able to make sure that we can degrade, defeat, deny adversary use of those systems so we can bring our conventional forces to bear in a manner that allows us to have overwhelming advantage on the battlefield.

So, when you think about applying autonomy to hypersonic strike capabilities, what we really want to look at is the requirements for autonomy that might be driven by mission effectiveness. How do I maximize my ability to go after the wide range of targets that the adversary is using to deny our domain dominance in each of the domains and deny our battlefield dominance overall.

So, that mission effectiveness breakdown, the decomposition of what mission effectiveness requirements really mean, really should be used as a rubric, if you will, to define what requirements we might flow in to the autonomy technology basket and how we might pull capabilities out of that basket to apply into hypersonic systems.

I could name a few things that come to mind, but I have to be careful what I say or not say in this kind of environment, of course. But if we think about the mission capabilities, how we make sure that in a very high end fight that we are survivable. How do we make sure that we are agile and how can be reactive to the environment?

How do we leverage autonomy if certain aspects of the warfighting capability are denied? You know, can the system take over itself and based on where it needs to go and where it needs to be and the effect it needs to deliver and based on where we know we've been, can I close that gap in an environment where other sources of information might be interrupted.

So, I think looking at that environmental system, if you will, or the adversary systems to present to us environmental challenges for our ability to operate, our ability to communicate, our ability to command and control, our ability to sense -- all those things, if we step back and say how might I leverage autonomy, it really is to help with that mission effectiveness and pull the thread through what the adversary is going to do in each of the elements of the kill chain and each of the elements of the effects chain and event sequence diagram that we intend to implement to put effects on target.

How are they intending to deny those events throughout the kill chain sequence and what might I do with autonomy to make my system more robust and more capable of operating in that challenged environment.

In addition to the environment and the mission effects, we can imagine autonomy might help us more effectively operate our vehicles in flight. So, when you think about how we fly hypersonic vehicles, there are a number of critical challenges associated with hypersonic flight. We want to develop robust and efficient propulsion systems, in particular, air-breathing propulsion systems for hypersonic cruise missile applications.

We want to be able to optimize our trajectories and flight path for differences between what we encounter in flight and what we might have predicted on the ground or in the design of the vehicle. So, you can think of autonomous flight operations capabilities and autonomous vehicle control capabilities that react to the environment, sense the environment and then allow the vehicle to respond without human intervention.

And some of that sensing and some of that environment can be man-made or it can be natural. So, one of the things that I always like to talk about is the amount of work we've done in hypersonics over the decades in hypersonic boundary layer transition

If I look back in my career, I started doing this stuff in 1981 and in the mid '80s, we had the National Aerospace Plane program and boundary layer transition was kind of a holy grail. Supposedly, we had enough computational fluid dynamics capability that had been developed and enough knowledge of boundary layer transition to be able to efficiently and effectively design a vehicle.

And what we found for time-after-time of vehicle iteration is that the vehicle was completely dependent on what you thought you knew relative to boundary layer transition. So, the vehicle design and the way you fly the vehicle was very heavily driven by boundary layer transition. So, there's – it’s no mystery that boundary layer transition is a key element of hypersonic flight and it really drives how much heat load and how much capability from a thermal protection system you have to design into your vehicle.

And what we tend to do, if we're smart, we don't always do this because we're not always smart. What we tend to do -- what you tend to do if you're smart is you design robustness into your TPS system to make sure that when you fly, if you haven't properly predicted boundary layer transition, that you still have enough thermal margin to execute the desired mission and perform the intended flight path.

And in doing that, we oftentimes build that margin into our TPS, our Thermal Protection System, and that results in vehicles that might be heavier than we otherwise would like and that heavy -- that robustness or margin in weight translates into key performance parameters for weapon systems, like range.

And so, what you'd like to be able to do is design your system so that you can optimize the weight and performance characteristics of that system and boundary layer transition is an inherent uncertainty that limits our ability to do that. The tack that we've been taking for decades is well, we want to go into the wind tunnels and we want measure boundary layer transition and we want to go in the wind tunnels and we want to measure boundary layer transition and we want to get all this data and figure out exactly how transition happens, and that way, we'll be able to better design our vehicle.

But the reality of it is there are too many unknown parameters whether it be freestream turbulence or freestream particulates or particular angle of attack or whether it's ablation or whether outgassing, all that -- whether it's three-dimensionality of the flight vehicle just inherently, all that affects the boundary layer transition and where it occurs on the vehicle.

So it's been my position, and to somewhat the frustration of the boundary layer transition community, that we'll never be able to accurately predict boundary layer transition to the extent we would like to. So let's think about what we might do differently. Let's think about instead of pretending that we'll one day be smart enough to predict something that's chaotic by its very nature, what if we had an autonomous flight system that sensed when boundary layer transition occurred on the body and then adjusted the flight profile and adjusted the altitude and angle of attack and characteristics of that body with a feedback loop from the -- from that sensing mechanism that allowed the vehicle to determine the characteristic of the flow field over the body through an autonomous feedback loop and then ensure the vehicle would fly a trajectory that was optimized relative to where that boundary layer transition occurs because we're controlling it.

We don't know where it's going to happen a priori. We sense it and then we react to it. And that would allow us to then maybe -- to design and develop a more optimal thermal protection system because we're driving to the conditions that we designed to as opposed to designing to something and then having to react and deal with uncertainty provided by nature. So putting together that sort of autonomy, that's just one example as to how you might bring autonomy and AI into a hypersonic flight vehicle and be able to optimize flight characteristics and therefore, optimize vehicle design going in.

So those are the kind of challenges that we've been thinking through to some degree. And I think Ivett Leyva –- Dr. Ivett Leyva at AFOSR and I have had long conversations about this topic. And she was absolutely a key leader in helping the boundary layer transition community become much more competent and better at what we're doing in predicting boundary layer transition. And they're getting pretty good at it.

And she has -- she has -- before she left OSR and came over to SAF/AQ, she assured me that she has put some activity into her basic technology portfolio that starts to think about reactive flight controls and autonomy that might be able to do what I just described. So it's just a different way to solve the problem, and I think as we get smarter and we get better processing on the vehicle we get better algorithms and we think about solving problems differently, autonomy can play a significant role in what we do in hypersonics. You'll hear -- I believe you'll hear Dr. Gillian Bussey speak after me.

Is she still speaking after me?

(UNKNOWN): She is indeed.

MR. WHITE: So what I want to just do is kind of set her talk up a little bit and now if you look at a hypersonic portfolio and our hypersonic team, it is a team that's a global team. I have a stakeholder's meeting every two weeks. I just got off it before I came over here. We bring in INDOPACOM, we bring in EUCOM, we bring in STRATCOM. We bring in Air Force Global Strike. We bring in the FFRDCs and UARCs. We bring in all the services and the programs. We bring in DARPA, Space Development Agency. And that entire team really is pivotal in us really advancing the capabilities in hypersonic systems.

And what I try to do when I -- when I talk about what we're really trying to accomplish is really emphasize the point that it's not about hypersonic technology, certainly -- hypersonic technology is an enabler for sure, but it's not about that. That's where we've been for decades. We've been on the technology side of the spectrum. The adversaries changed that game. You know, we were world leaders in hypersonic technology, but we always decided that it wasn't really worth the squeeze to start to transition that technology to weapon systems.

Our adversaries decided something different than that about a decade ago and they've been pressing ahead very aggressively for a decade or more to transition hypersonic capability to weapon systems -- hypersonic technologies to weapon systems. And so what my job is about, my job is about accelerating the DOD transition of transformational capability based on hypersonic systems. It's no longer about maturing hypersonic technologies or maturing hypersonic prototypes. It really is about delivering transformational capability to the warfighter and the capability -- that transformation in my portfolio is based on what we can deliver hypersonic systems.

So we put together an acceleration program to do that. We're delivering weapon system prototypes over the next several years. And then we are going to accelerate the delivery of those prototypes in numbers in the subsequent years after that, so that by the mid 2020s, we will have significant capability fielded in the strike portfolio to do medium range or intermediate range strike from air, land, and sea. So, Dr. Bussey's responsibility with JHTO that we just stood up about six months or eight months ago is to really help make sure that we, as part of that strategy, don't forget that technology portfolio. That we make the key investments that allow us to feed our future capability-phasing plans, so these initial capabilities that we're going to field can be -- can be seeded with advanced capabilities for block upgrades as we move along. And to pull that -- pull that capability together from an integrated S&T perspective and also to mature the workforce, create a university consortium, and help bring our allies into the fray.

So she will talk to you about those elements of our strategy to complement and provide the foundation for what we're doing in the overarching strategy to deliver transformational capability. So with that, I think that's -- I'll wrap up the comments and offer time for some questions.

(UNKNOWN): Thank you so much. And I'll go ahead and manage that for you, Mr. White. There is an attendee, Jonathan Rodriguez with SNAP. He has a question. I'll just read it. And if it's too much, I can repeat it.

MR. WHITE: Okay.

(UNKNOWN): He says, "Thank you, Mr. White, for your important work on defense and reusability. My question applies to the offensive area. What is your office's view about the destabilizing effect of hypersonic offense on strategic stability, in particular, the adversary might not be able to correctly assess in just a few minutes whether a weapon we launched is conventionally armed or nuclear-armed. Does your office have a review process for the impact proposed new weapons on strategic stability? Have you ever canceled a proposed weapon because it was deemed destabilizing?"

MR. WHITE: Yes, that's a -- that's a great question. That's a topic of great discussion in a number of different venues. And in fact, there have been over the last decade programs that have been stopped because of the concern of destabilizing and the inability to discern nuclear versus conventional. I will say we are for the most part past that, but we're still concerned with that and we still think about it and I offer the alternate perspective.

I offer that hypersonic systems provide, in many cases, unique warfighting capability and unique ability to bring conventional effects to the fight so that it will be stabilizing, not destabilizing. So there are certain missions that right now the only way we can perform those missions is within -- with the nuclear portion of our arsenal. And there are -- there are capabilities that we're going to deliver that provide conventional options to bring in warfighting effect and accomplishing objectives that will prevent us from going over that nuclear threshold. So I think they're stabilizing from that perspective and now we can do things with conventional effects that we otherwise couldn't do absent going to nuclear escalation.

The other thing I'll point out is that there's always a fog of war, right, whether it's a -- and there are many other platforms that deliver both conventional and nuclear weapons. Our portfolio and what we're delivering is solely conventional. Our adversaries are doing otherwise. But right now, all of our portfolio and what we deliver will be solely conventional capability.

And so that's an important part of the messaging, an important part of what we're trying to do. We are delivering conventional effects with hypersonic systems. So that is -- that is a conscious decision that we're making within our acceleration plan to do that. And if you look at other delivery platforms whether it be bombers or cruise missiles they are dual capable. You know, an F-16 can carry a nuclear gravity bomb, future or ALCMS [air launched cruise missile] and LRSO [long range standoff weapon] can carry nuclear warheads and you don't know the difference between whether or not you're launching a conventional or nuclear warhead.

So a typical world of ambiguity applies to a number of different systems and hypersonic systems are no different. It's just that we'll get there quick enough to where it won't matter. They'll know within five minutes or ten minutes or the most twenty minutes whether it's conventional or nuclear. So I don't think that they'll react preemptively with that uncertainty.

(UNKNOWN): Thank you for that. And thank you, John.

Ron, you had a question for -- do you have a question for Mike?

MODERATOR: Yes, sure. Thank you.

So that was really great. It's interesting in the systems that are mentioned in your bio like the Aegis and Standard and Sea Whip and others. And you also talked about maturing new systems, but is there also an element of being able to have our existing family of systems, onboard ships for example, to be able to better counter a hypersonic threat or better be able to perhaps deliver in a hypersonic manner? I'm thinking most specifically about the Standard family of missiles and I'm wondering if there's thought given to that as well in terms of the defense and offense piece.

MR. WHITE: Yeah, absolutely. And that's true on both the offensive and the defensive side of the house. So, from a defensive perspective, part of the MDA strategy -- you know, the defensive challenge is pretty significant and I always say it's actually more difficult in a transition we had to make to go to -- from air defense to ballistic missile defense and do exoatmospheric intercept.

In that case, we had to develop a new sensor architecture, a new command and control architecture and a new weapon to intercept the threat in space.

In the hypersonic case, you have to do all those things for near space in hypersonic systems and you don't know where the weapon is going, right? And so that uncertainty intercept point, it becomes -- makes it even more difficult.

So, all those things are in play. And part of the strategy on the defensive side is to take the current systems, Aegis, BMD, THAAD, those sorts of systems and try to evaluate what they can do with reasonable evolution to address the hypersonic threat while we look at future capabilities that are more robust in defeating future hypersonic threats.

So we are, in fact, basing our strategy on what can we get in the near-term through modification of existing systems, as well as what do we need to develop in the far-term. On the offensive side similarly, and Standard is a primary example.

We are looking at what we can do with Standard missile as a future hypersonic missile. And there's quite a bit of work going on in that domain as well. For other missiles, you're kind of stuck with what you got.

If you design a subsonic missile like Tomahawk, you're not going to make that a hypersonic missile. So in that case, we're developing hypersonic cruise missiles that will complement Tomahawk and provide high speed options that will complement the long-range subsonic options that we have with things like Tomahawk, and LRASM [long range anti-ship missile].

And so we're kind of blending the development of new systems with again evolution of current systems where it's applicable.

MODERATOR: Thank you.

(UNKNOWN): Well, thank you, Ron. And I don't see any questions from audience. But I want to thank the audience for standing by with us and Ron for your question and John.

Appreciate your time, Mr. White. Great job, outstanding talk.

I'll turn the podium back over to you, Ron, for the next introduction.

MODERATOR: Okay. Great. Thank you.

My pleasure now to introduce is Dr. Gillian Bussey, inaugural director, Joint Hypersonics Transition Office, the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense, Research, Engineering, and Advanced Capabilities.

The JHTO is responsible for the integrated S&T roadmap for hypersonics, working with foreign allies, setting up a university consortium in the field of hypersonics, and providing oversight of DOD hypersonic programs.

She set up the office in April 2020 according to congressional direction and oversees a $100 million budget and an office of 10 people. She was a special advisor to the Assistant Director, Hypersonics Office as a detailee from the CIA advising the Department on hypersonics weapons, technologies, and applicable missile defenses from June of 2018 to April of 2020.

As the acting director for Aerospace Technologies from July '19 to February 2020, she was also responsible for overseeing DOD activities in air platforms and related propulsion technologies.

She was responsible for air-breathing hypersonics and engagements with allies and universities. She spent six months on assignment at the Defense Science Technology Group's Applied Hypersonics Branch near Brisbane, Australia, in '15 and '16 supporting the U.S. -- the Joint U.S. Air Force-DSTG HIFIRE program and DSTG's hypersonics programs.

She was CIA's hypersonics systems and technologies analyst in the Weapons Counter-proliferation Mission Center from July -- from 2011 to July of 2018. As a CIA analyst, she wrote presidential daily briefs for the president on hypersonics, supported two Air Force Scientific Advisory Board studies and was the Intelligence Community liaison to a National Academy study.

She analyzed flight data from hypersonic systems and air-launched weapons from May of 2007 to September of 2012.

Dr. Bussey, thank you so much for being here. It's all yours.

DIRECTOR DR. GILLIAN BUSSEY: Well, thank you, I’m just going to get the presentation going. Alright. So, thank you, Mike for that introduction and setting the stage for the JHTO. So this is a new office. Until this office was stood up, in my time in R&E I was working for Mike, so we're --

(UNKNOWN): I know we cannot hear -- here we go.

DR. BUSSEY: So here's what I'm going to talk about today. First, I'll talk about the key tenets for advancing hypersonic technologies that are driving what my office is doing and how we're structured.

I'll talk a little bit about the office, you know, what we're supposed -- how we were chartered. You know, what we're doing and then some recognition and then finally some of the next steps for the office.

So, essentially I think in order for us to be successful in accelerating hypersonic technology development, we need to do a couple of things. First, you know, we're getting outpaced by the Chinese. They have a lot more people. They have a lot more resources.

So, I think in order for us to be effective, we need to make sure that what we're doing is tied to a specific DOD need. So, we've developed what we're calling a capability-based S&T roadmap. You know, we have finite resources. We have facilities that are overbooked. We have people that are spread thin and despite all the money we're putting into this area, it's not enough. So we need to make sure that what we're doing in S&T, we're getting the most bang in the buck and it's something that's really useful and it's a priority.

This also helps us accelerate because by taking this approach, we can shift efforts -- shift money around to make sure that we're focusing on the things that will get us the capabilities that we really need.

And, of course, at the same time we want to make sure that there is still room for discovery, so that we're not missing out on something game changing, for example, coupling AI with hypersonics.

In addition, I think, for us to be successful in accelerating our development of hypersonic technologies, we need to make sure we're coordinated and we're collaborated. We no longer have a luxury where we can have the Navy developing their own unique widget for their system and then the Air Force goes and they develop their own unique widget and you, know, they're very different.

And we spend twice the money and spend twice the time. Instead we need to be in a place where, you know, the Army is developing a widget that all the services can use, to maybe requires just a little tweak for their purposes and then the others can work in something else.

And so, we're sharing -- we're reducing waste. In addition, if we're coordinating and collaborating, we can identify opportunities. You know, there might be something going on at NASA that could really make things easier and really add capability to an Air Force system.

So that's part of the role of my office and then, you know, essentially eliminating stovepipes. Finally, I think another way to be successful is -- one advantage that we have that the Chinese don't have is we have a lot of friends with a lot of great capability.

We need to tap into non-traditional performers or partners like our foreign allies and, you know, leverage what they are good at, help them advance to help us. And I think both sides would be better off. You know, the two parts would be greater than the whole.

Another traditional performer or partner that we need to leverage is -- there is -- our universities in this area are some of the best in the world. We have some of the top experts in key technology areas who are in universities and they are a little bit under-utilized, and that’s partially because of our funding system. So I am going to kind of get into kind of how we are working to address that issue.

So if you look at all these tenets and these issues, you can kind of see how my office has come together and kind of what we are doing. So our mission is essentially to accelerate hypersonics technology development and transition to advanced capability.

So this office came about from the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. Congress generously gave us a $100 million budget. Part of that is if we are going to be responsible for identifying S&T gaps and coming up with an S&T strategy, it's not very useful if you have a strategy but you can't actually do anything against it because you don't have any money. So, you know, the budget that we have allows us to do things like accelerate S&T projects and set up a university consortium, which Congress put in the law.

Another way to think about our office is -- so Mike White who you just heard from, he's responsible for the overall strategy, what programs, what capabilities. He kind of brings all the pieces together, but within R&E it was decided that we splinter off the JHTO and have it be responsible for a lot of the execution and engineering element.

The leave him to focus on the strategy and then the JHTO focuses on a lot of the things that are needed to make those programs successful. That require a lot of, you know, smaller programs and execution, and contracts, and contractors, so things like S&T, you know, work with the universities, working with allies, workforce development -- fundamentally everything we do is tied to the DOD Hypersonics Roadmap that Mike White is responsible for developing.

We work very closely together and we have a desk that separates us and we used to be on the same team. So there's very little daylight between us, so that ensures that whatever we are doing there is a very clear purpose to it and it's tied to the overall strategy. And it helped us to get off the ground pretty quickly, in that the conventional prompt strike program was originally an OSD program and it has transitioned to the services. That program had a contractor team at OSD/R&E and they just became inherited into the JHTO, so a lot of the structures and the folks that worked on CPS from an OSD perspective are now responsible for the National Hypersonic Strategy.

They are leading a team of integrated product teams that look at eight different or seven different technical areas. There was an IPT structure supporting CPS that was very successful. We just inherited that and made it for the entire community, so we are pretty lucky to have that team supporting us. Next slide.

So our priority efforts in order, are the integrated S&T roadmap, accelerating S&T efforts in high-priority areas, the Applied Hypersonics University Consortium, quarterly reports to Congress, so we do have to tell Congress every quarter on what we have been up to, what progress has been made with hypersonics S&T across the enterprise. And then in the NDAA 2020 we were also asked to certify RDT&E and demonstration programs.

We don't know if we are going to have to continue doing that, it may not be in the language this year. But that's something what we are working to stand up.

We are focused on advanced technology development, so 6-2, 6-3 but we are funding everything from basic research 6-1 to systems development and demonstration in 6-5.

Some highlights -- Our Applied Hypersonic University Consortium, and then our Boeing Air jet hypersonic cruise missile engine preliminary design review. And I am going to talk about these in more detail.

So here's where we sit in R&E, so Mike White is in modernization and we are in advanced capabilities which kind if fits with our function. Advanced capabilities has a lot of the engineering elements in R&E. They are responsible for prototyping, engineering, so that kind of makes sense that we fall under there.

So, I mentioned this before. Mike White is responsible for strategic planning in terms of hypersonic development. And then here in the JHTO, you know, we focus on the DOD-wide approach to hypersonic S&T, the university consortium, allies, workforce development, and then funding specific S&T projects. And again, all of this is tied to Mike White's strategy, the DOD Hypersonic Strategy.

So going into detail on some of these key initiatives. So the first area is advanced concept development. So we’ve kind of worked to identify some enabling of revolutionary concepts or components to get at some of the gaps in the DOD Hypersonics Roadmap that aren't funded, that we think could really make a difference. And so, you know, some of this comes out and just coming to meeting with industry, meeting with the services, you know, some of it comes out of the actual roadmap but we work closely with the PD Hypersonics to identify some of these needs.

So what's come of this is activities such as studies. We are funding a -- maturing a design. We try and connect services to new ideas so the -- the biggest project that we have right now, we are funding Boeing and Aerojet to reduce risk and mature a dual-mode scramjet engine design to preliminary design review in order to support Air Force and Navy decisions on hypersonic cruise missiles that we believe are coming up in the next couple of years.

We noticed when we looked at the current programs that there was a gap in terms of, there was no hypersonic cruise missile concept in play that was sized appropriately for storage on the carrier and being brought up in the carrier -- carrier elevator, and then to go on the F-18. So that carrier elevator really restricts the size of these systems, but we kind of remembered that Boeing and Aerojet back in the 2000s had developed this concept HyFly for the Navy, for the F-18 with the intention of it being that size, and so, we approached them and asked them if they had something that, you know, could fit this need and had them do a study on it.

We liked what we saw and decided that we would continue funding some, you know, risk reduction activities to ensure that that option was available. We really liked this project because we know that Boeing has a lot of expertise in hypersonic strike, particularly hypersonic cruise missile-related technologies. You know, they include the X-51, the X-43 HyFly, and so, we wanted to bring that expertise back into the industrial base.

Another reason why we are doing some of these advanced concept projects is we want to make sure that we have a healthy, diverse, robust industrial and technology base. You know, this brings an initial performer into the mix. It also brings an initial scramjet engine design so that we are not banking everything on the HAWC design. This also fundamentally provides alternatives to services for any program of record decisions or sub-components. Again, adding competition.

So going into our S&T strategy and acceleration projects, again, our vision is that we have a capability based DOD strategy and it's integrated and in order to do this we created an IPT structure. Everything kind of falls out of a capabilities base, or a future capabilities IPT where the programs are involved, the warfighter, so INDOPACOM, for example, like Air Force Global Strike Command. And they kind of tell us, all right, 2030 what kind of capabilities do you need? What are foreseeing for Aero, for Block 2 upgrades?

And then the other IPTs which are kind of the typical hypersonics disciplines, so, you know, GNC, mission planning, aerodynamics, material structures and manufacturing, they all think about, okay, well, what technologies do we need to get those capabilities. They time-phase them so they figure out, okay, I need to have this capability by 2025 that kind be on flight test such that by 2028, a program of record decision is made. Then it’s all ready.

So that study has been completed, where we connected technology needs to transition products, to capabilities, to programs. And so, we are currently working on the second iteration and we are also working on -- so that current strategy is mostly focused on 6-3 and 6-4, and we are going back and we are starting to work on the foundational S&T strategy where we are looking at budget activities 6-1 and 6-2. This involved -- this activity involves pretty much the whole community in terms of government, FFRDCs, and UARCs. You know, there's a long list which is about 40 organizations represented.

Following out of this activity we selected some applied research to demonstration validation task to support our top FY 20 project -- FY 20 priorities. That comes to about 50 million spread across 27 projects and that money is going to -- it's spread pretty evenly between Air Force, Army, Navy, FFRDCs, UARCs, DARPA, MDA, Sandia National Labs, NASA. I should point out that JHTO is not just responsible for offensive strike systems, but we are also responsible for counter hypersonics as well.

These projects are all tied to capabilities, they are spread pretty evenly across the disciplines according to the prioritization of our critical needs. So materials is one of the higher areas, so there’s a little bit more funding in materials or GNC, but it's pretty well spread across the areas.

We are focused on near-term needs but we haven't forgotten about some of the long-term needs such as reusables, you know, or our longer-range strike systems that -- we are still identifying S&T and funding, you know, some projects to support those areas.

So here is a sampling of some S&T projects related to autonomy. We certainly think that there's a lot of game changing potential for marrying autonomy with hypersonics. The current batch of projects, you know -- we’re looking at using autonomy in hypersonic flight trajectory optimization both for on-vehicle and off-vehicle applications so we're funding a project there.

The Autonomous Flight Safety System, that's a pretty big one. It's not a sexy topic but you can really bring down the cost of these flight tests and also the time it takes to get to flight if you can get around some of the range safety issues. So, if we're able to have an Autonomous Flight Safety System that can figure out when it needs to go off, when a system's kind of gone out of bounds, we can avoid the really expensive, you know, string of pearls and all the coordination that needs to happen to bring that -- you know, all those different assets out into the Pacific to monitor flight tests. And also, we're using autonomy to look at alternative navigation techniques across a range of contested environments.

We recently awarded university grants to $4 million across eight topics valued at $4 million total. So, you know, those were in a materials, GNC, air-breathing propulsion, environments and phenomenologies, applied aerodynamics, lethality, energetics, and then a workforce development proposal that looked at developing curriculum.

And so we had a pretty good swatch of the country, two for Texas, Minnesota, North Carolina, Florida, Michigan, Tennessee, Dayton. And this is just to get our consortium efforts started.

So the consortium, this is required by law. But fortunately, we did have the idea before Congress told us to do it, so we had no issues following the law there. So this is focused on applied research in advanced technology development, so this is a bit different than a lot of the other ways of funding university research.

Most of the hypersonic university research is in 6-2 -- or sorry 6-1 and we found that there is a little bit of a valley of death. Because of that, professors aren’t getting to work on some of the most relevant problems so they're having a hard time making their work relevant to DOD when they start -- when their work starts to get somewhere that’s relevant the funding kind of stops because now it's reached 6-2 and so it's a lot harder for them to find funding.

So, you know, we thought, okay, we're going to start bridging that gap. We don't want to duplicate what [inaudible] are doing. So we also found that the workforce was a little bit slanted towards areas that were a little bit more 6-1 friendly, so we weren't seeing a lot of folks with hypersonics expertise in GNC, for example, and some of these other more applied areas.

And so, that could have an effect on our programs as industry has to train GNC people and in understanding the nuisances and multidisciplinary nature of hypersonic or, you know, training to understand the real potential of AI married with hypersonics.

We want people to come into our workforce kind of already knowing those things. And to also just grow the amount of people who can cover some of those areas.

We also want to make sure that we're leveraging the best and brightest in the university world. Like I said earlier, some of the best subject matter experts are not in government or industry, they're at some of these universities.

And we also plan to make this consortium available for service use. So, what we're doing with the consortium is we're closely tied to national needs and our programs. We derive our topics and projects from the DOD Hypersonic S&T Strategy. We talk to the programs, we pull from our IPT, for government SMEs in terms of source selection -- choosing projects to solicit. 

Our technology focused areas in priority order are materials, guidance, navigation, control, air-breathing propulsion, environments, phenomenologies, applied aerodynamics and systems, lethality, energetics.

So applied aerodynamics. What we mean by that is, you know, folks that can design a better vehicle or think about system concepts or jet interaction for -- rather than what is happening with boundary layer transition, what do you do about it, how can use that information to affect design?

We're planning to fund several types of projects. Projects that are kind of a standalone, projects that push new ideas, and then challenge projects that are multidisciplinary and will require teaming and will have government or an industry concession partner or the T&E community participate in those projects.

We have mechanisms for two flows -- two-way flows of information because we really want to maximize the impact of this leveraging of the university community. So, we'll be sharing our S&T roadmap, our needs and priorities with those who have clearances. This is also a way for folks to get clearances.

They can work on classified or ITAR projects. And then we'll also have the university community participate in development of our road map because they're really at the tip of the spear in terms of understanding what's coming out in the future, 10 to 15 years from now. And so, they might have some really great ideas as well.

So, we just awarded that on 26 October at the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station. They are partnering with Georgia Tech and MIT. We're planning to spend $18 million on university research or over 45 schools have signaled their intent to join from at least 23 states.

And we have a very diverse governance board of national experts. And we thought that was one of the strengths of what Texas was offering. And you can see some of the schools listed there. This is also all in the press releases we had out on the 26th.

So, for our next steps, we're working hard to stand up the consortium, this quarter. We are pushing out projects to the consortium shortly so we can award them by the end of March. We're extending the S&T roadmap to lower TRLs.

We also have been establishing a JHTO systems engineering field activity at Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane. There is a press release about that on the 16th of October. And that's just actually for the T in the JHTO, the T stands for Transition. So they're going to help develop transition plans and do some of the systems engineering behind the projects that we're funding and, you know, helping us make sure that everything we're funding has a plan for transition. And then finally, we're working bilateral engagement strategies with key foreign partners, such as Australia.

So with that, I will take questions.

MODERATOR: Great. Thank you so much, Dr. Bussey. We do have a couple of attendees. And let me read their questions to you. One moment please. This is from Frank Falco. Frank is asking, "Is the DOD hypersonics S&T strategy a public document?"

DR. BUSSEY: No, we don't have a public version of the S&T strategy. It is FOUO or Controlled Unclassified Information.

MODERATOR: Okay. Very good. We have another question from Marcus Coleross. He is asking, "Is your office doing any work with the test range facilities to get improvements that are needed for increased hypersonic testing?"

DR. BUSSEY: So, that is the responsibility of the Test Resource Management Center. But my office does have someone who we share with TRMC, Dan Marrenson. You may know him. He was the Director of AEDC's Tunnel 9 up in White Oak, Maryland.

He is helping connect the consortium with the test facilities and he's also helping to look at S&T projects that we may need to fund that are T&E related that, you know, perhaps could help the T&E community but not things like building new arc jets or, you know, the big part of investments that TRMC would do.

I'm talking about like a research project on how to get good measurements in a scram-jet engine, in a test.

MODERATOR: Very good. We have one last question here for you, Doctor. Derek Geiten is asking, "Is your office accepting technologies briefings real net to you or to your mission, how do you recommend we engage with you?

DR. BUSSEY: Okay. We welcome folks reaching out and letting us know about what they're doing. I know there's a lot of small businesses out there that have some really neat technologies that are making a difference. You know, there's too many small businesses for us to know about all of them.

So, we certainly welcome folks reaching out to us so we can learn more about what you're doing. And if it's applicable, we may potentially fund you if we have money or we may be able to just direct you to someone else that could help you. But if not -- sometimes it's really useful just to hear what you're doing so we can get a better idea of the landscape and, you know, what technologies we need to be investing in.

MODERATOR: Well, thank you so much. Let's see if I have any other question for you, Doctor. Okay. I do have one more. Here's Perkash Patnik is asking, "The Canadian Government’s National Research Council has great expertise in developmental testing and evaluation of high temperature materials. Any opportunity for a collaboration?"

DR. BUSSEY: Yes. So, most of our collaborations so far have been with the other -- well, two of the other Five Eyes countries. But there is interest in collaborating with Canada and understanding what they can bring to the table. So, we would certainly welcome a meeting or a briefing. And, you know, where test capabilities are concerned, we'd get the Test Resource Management Center involved. But in R&E in particular, we're being encouraged, for good reason, to reach out to and work with our allies.

MODERATOR: Very good. I had one last question. We've been getting a lot of questions here. Let me just go back to it here. Stand by. Eric Seltmen is asking, "Any thoughts on opening up a consortium to industry membership?"

DR. BUSSEY: All right. So, that's really up to TEES and Dr. Rodney Bowersox who's the Technical Director. But fundamentally, industry can't be recipients of government funding on these projects and through this effort. But there's an Industry Advisory Board that's coming up with plans on how to engage industry. We definitely encourage industry to get involved with projects, to get involved with the consortium in whatever way makes sense.

I think, you know, we can figure out ways for industry to bring their own funding or it could just be kind of as an adviser just to see what's going on or just to advise a project that your company thinks have a lot of potential. But certainly, you know, we encourage industry to engage with the consortium.

MODERATOR: Certainly.

That concludes our question-and-answer portion of your briefing, Dr. Bussey. Thank you so much for being here. Wonderful job. Thank you. Thank you so much.