WASHINGTON, D.C. ― Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) presided as Ranking Member of a Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities hearing on the importance of technology transfer and ways to move technologies and systems more rapidly into the hands of operational forces.
In his opening statement, Heinrich highlighted New Mexico as a perfect example of a research and development hub, and noted that many individuals and companies in the state often perform cutting-edge research but can’t seem to get traction while fighting their way through the Pentagon’s arcane and bureaucratic procurement and funding processes.
“The state of New Mexico, alone, is proud to host two national security laboratories, Air Force Research Laboratory, White Sands Missile Range, and a number of high tech small businesses, each employing some of the best and brightest minds in the country,” Heinrich said. “Yet, one of our nation’s biggest challenges remains in determining how we can best connect those innovators to the real current and future challenges facing the military, and how to move the best new technologies into the hands of our warfighters as quickly and effectively as possible.”
During the hearing, Heinrich pressed the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Michael Griffin for ways to accelerate technology transition and expressed the need to prioritize investments in developing prototypes, modernize testing infrastructure, and cut back on red tape and bureaucracy that slow down innovation.
As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Heinrich has worked to accelerate the development of new technologies by investing in the personnel and facilities at New Mexico’s defense laboratories, test ranges, and industry. Heinrich has authorized faster hiring authorities, invested in new facilities, and has established a prototyping and demonstration program for transitioning Directed Energy Weapons Systems.
The archived webcast of the hearing is available here.