Recently, I was invited to present as a QuesTek representative at a meeting of the JASON advisory group. JASON is an independent group of scientists and engineers with expertise in a variety of technical areas that performs studies for government sponsors on issues of national security. While most of their work is classified, the group also works on topics of general scientific and technical interest that are largely unclassified.
JASON dates back to 1960 and is comprised of some of the most accomplished scientists alive today. It was truly an honor to be invited and to visit the JASON facility in La Jolla, California.
I kicked off the second day of the meeting with a presentation titled “Challenges and Opportunities for MGI to Accelerated Materials Development for Future Defense Capabilities Operating in Extreme Environments.”
As I walked through several case studies of how QuesTek’s ICME approach to materials engineering can drive innovation in the defense industry, it was fascinating to hear the questions examples like QuesTek’s Ferrium® M54® steel for U.S. Navy hook shanks sparked in the minds of the JASONs and other attendees. For instance, clearly, it is not economically feasible to develop a novel material for every component of an aircraft — how do we determine which components with new materials are a worthwhile investment?
My presentation emphasized that additional resources need to be allocated to identify the limitations of the state of the art in MGI (Materials Genome Initiative) capabilities and the development of tools to accelerate solutions to current blind spots. These resources would help to establish digitally interconnected discovery-development-manufacturing-deployment cycles for materials and process development. Activities would involve OEMs, traditional and non-traditional material/component suppliers, and the domestic laboratory infrastructure (DoD and National Laboratories, FFRDCs, UARCs, Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, etc.).
I was one of many speakers from a wide range of cutting-edge organizations invited to present at the meeting and it was inspiring to see what my colleagues brought to the table. As an output of the meeting, a report will be compiled by the JASONs based on the input of the invited experts.