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