In today’s threat environment, maintaining a technology and information advantage is critical. To stay ahead of near-peer adversaries, the U.S. Department of Defense is moving forward with key modernization initiatives that will enable all-domain information superiority for decades to come.
According to the National Defense Science and Technology Strategy (May 9, 2023), the DoD is focused on the optimization of the joint mission; creating and fielding capabilities at speed and scale; and ensuring the foundations for research and development.
As a trusted partner of the DoD, Comtech is evolving its strategic roadmap as the company looks to lead the way in providing smart networks, future communications, and new insights for the DoD. With a rich heritage in building exquisite and advanced hardware, Comtech is now focused on providing the DoD and coalition partners with added value through integrating software and solutions to exploit emerging capabilities.
According to Comtech’s Chief Strategy Officer, Daniel Gizinski, the company’s history in design and manufacturing provides the necessary building blocks required to offer the DoD turnkey solutions and services.
Comtech is also witnessing an evolution in its relationship with the DoD, which is pivoting away from a focus on product procurement to becoming an early adopter of technology through an increased focus on collaboration with strategic partners across the private sector.
“We see a lot more emphasis on Research Development Testing and Evaluation (RDT&E) associated with new capabilities, which is enormous. And especially within the US DoD, a huge focus on procuring services, rather than developing capabilities,” said Daniel. “I think that was always a struggle for the DoD in years past where there would be a great commercial offering available, but they focused instead on inventing a similar capability via a program of record.”
“We’ve seen a lot of flexibility in their ability to go out and discuss with industry, establish partners and then secure capability by employing consumption-based, ‘as-a-service’ business models. That’s driven a much closer set of relationships as our customers can be more open about what their needs are and more attuned to some of the advancements that we’re seeing in the commercial world,” Daniel said while highlighting dual-use technologies.
With over 50 years of proven technology leadership across cellular, terrestrial, and space-based technologies, Comtech is uniquely positioned to support the strategic all-domain command and control needs of the US DoD, Daniel believes.
“Ultimately, a majority of our future roadmap for Comtech’s defense solutions is directly in line with some of the core initiatives that are laid out under Combined Joint All Domain Command and Control (CJADC2) umbrella, so it’s helpful to have a broad array of expertise in wireless, terrestrial and satellite communications,” said Daniel.
Daniel went on to discuss a key challenge for the implementation of CJADC2—communications systems that were not designed to be interoperable. As Daniel shares, hundreds of different stovepipe systems that were never designed to interoperate with each other is a hurdle, but as he believes, integrating upgrades to existing systems and applying commercial best practices can address this challenge.
“It’s a hard problem but it’s one that has been solved particularly well in the private sector already,” said Daniel. “Comtech is able to bring a lot of the focus and lessons learned from its experience in commercial integration to support CJADC2 initiatives.”.
One capability in Comtech’s future roadmap is the company’s ‘Insights at the Edge’ concept, which is designed to fuse SATCOM capabilities with geospatial intelligence. Comtech’s Insights at the Edge offering will ensure multi-dimensional and powerful new actionable intelligence is delivered to those who need it most through the ‘convergence’ of multi-orbit, multi-frequency and multi-modality capabilities, Daniel said.
“These and other compelling modalities have made rapid access to intelligence a new reality for the end user, creating patterns which can be generated when people, places and activities are correlated together,” he said.
Comtech is also focused on ensuring communications networks remain protected against cyber-attacks with Daniel explaining how cyber has become progressively more important over the last couple of years.
“Cyber has really been brought to the front of mind by some of the recent events we have seen. It can’t be added as an overlay after the fact, so it needs to be designed at the front end of a solution’s lifecycle,” said Daniel. “This is something we’re really focused on at Comtech—ensuring our solutions are designed to be cyber secure today, but also enabling those solutions to easily adapt, update and grow with a changing landscape.”
“It’s interesting to see just how long military customers leave equipment in the field and continue to have it operate well into the future. The cyber landscape that you see today is totally different to what we saw 10 years ago, so the importance of software-defined and field upgradeable cyber security is absolutely critical in giving customers the ability to stay current with modern threats without the need to send hardware back – because logistically, they can’t afford to.”
Comtech is also exploring Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) cyber related services for DoD customers which Daniel believes will be crucial in supporting the needs of CJADC2 moving forward, particularly at the tactical edge where risk of cognitive overload can be high.
“AI/ML capability becomes a really interesting opportunity where, for each advancement in automation, cyber-attacks and threat vectors, there’s a corresponding need for cyber defenses to incorporate AI/ML to automatically adapt capability to a changing landscape,” said Daniel. “We see that as an interesting challenge for satellite systems fielded 10-20 years ago which don’t necessarily have the compute power or other capabilities that you might want to have based on what we understand today. So we’re finding ways to partner with AI/ML leaders to field integrated solutions in the short term as we build this into our portfolio.”
Finally, Daniel described how the DoD’s ongoing support of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) continued to highlight the importance of rapid prototyping and fielding of technologies.
The desire of the UAF to field “70% capable, fit-for-purpose” technologies had “turned on its head” conventional wisdom regarding what warfighting technology should look like today, he said.
“This kind of approach makes it more affordable to field technology without going through an extensive qualification process which a lot of larger governments tend to wrap around any new equipment they want to field,” said Daniel.
“That kind of entrepreneurial approach is definitely something that we’ve adopted at Comtech,” said Daniel “So we’re looking to cut out as much of that non-value add process and get capabilities fielded that can be evaluated by end users and evolve over time to meet emerging needs in the field.”
Ultimately, according to Daniel, Comtech is leveraging its differentiated expertise across global commercial and government markets, unique culture of innovation, and close collaboration with DoD customers to not only solve their toughest challenges today, but also address those over the horizon.
Comtech’s extensive portfolio of defense and security technologies, systems, and services are designed to deliver the integrated smart networking capabilities needed to enhance CJADC2 operations. Comtech has extensive experience developing and deploying customized, interoperable, robust, and resilient systems and services for all branches of the U.S. Department of Defense, as well as coalition forces. Visit www.comtech.com to learn more.
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