Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Visits UT to View National Security Research, Policy and Innovations

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AUSTIN, Texas – Adm. Christopher W. Grady, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited the University of Texas at Austin for a detailed review and collaboration of national security research, policy, and innovations led by university researchers. Leaders and researchers at the forefront of digital age technology and workforce development shared ongoing defense-related capabilities and projects during the one-day visit.

Grady leads one of the Pentagon’s most important acquisition organizations – the US Joint Requirement Oversight Council (JROC), which reviews and arbitrates Department of Defense acquisition priorities in accordance with national military strategy. JROC membership includes all vice chiefs of each military service.

“It is fitting to visit over Veterans Day weekend, when we celebrate the patriotism, service and sacrifice of all who have served,” Grady said. “It is clear that the people of UT identify and resolve challenges that support national security. Today’s work on the design, development and production of critical technologies will ensure that our armed forces have all the advantages they need.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff delegation received an overview of the university’s research in robotics, computer engineering and advanced computing, as well as programs aimed at increasing professional expertise in security, political and strategy in today’s rapidly changing environment.

“UT Austin remains committed to meeting the pressing demand for research and innovation around national security,” said executive vice president and provost Sharon L. Wood. “We have a long and successful history of working with the Ministry of Defence. This opportunity to engage and work with Adm. Grady is essential to ensuring that UT Austin continues to have a meaningful impact on strengthening America’s national security for decades to come.

Texas Robotics has emphasized robotics and autonomous systems, including long-term autonomy and human-machine interfaces. Works featured included social and autonomous navigation, surgery, rehabilitation and telemedicine, manufacturing, space, nuclear and other robotic systems. Since 2019, Texas Robotics has engaged in cooperative research including technology transition with Army Futures Command as a partner in the Army’s military modernization efforts.

Professor Peter Stone, Director of Texas Robotics, highlights robotics and autonomy research efforts at the Texas Robotics and Robotics Center of Excellence (RCOE)

Researchers from the Texas Advanced Computing Center and the Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences shared high-performance computing technologies, computer science, engineering and mathematical methodologies and their important role in supporting and activation of MoD capabilities in design, manufacture and operation. Particular emphasis was placed on research into digital twins and how it will affect supply chain management, system sustainment, and complex energy systems. The Oden Institute was recently awarded a new project establishing a multi-faceted math center for predictive digital twins by the Department of Energy.

The McCombs School of Business and Extended Education Ventures have shared career training services and resources for active duty military, veterans and civilians. Discussions highlighted innovative new programs such as the Virtual Credentials Assistance Program and the Oscar Mike Military Family Transition Support Program. Additionally, Texas Immersive demonstrated how immersive user experiences can enhance education and training.

The Clements Center for National Security has featured leading faculty and fellows who are engaged in teaching and researching history, strategy, and statecraft. The nonpartisan center has created an extensive network of scholars and practitioners who serve around the world in vitally important national security positions. Grady and the scholars discussed current issues surrounding national security policy.

The Admiral also toured the Applied Research Laboratories (ARL: UT), which is the nexus for UT Austin’s national security work. As a research center affiliated with the University of the Department of Defense and the university’s largest research unit, ARL:UT emphasizes prototyping hardware and software to quickly and cost-effectively solve immediate, emerging and future national security challenges. It has a 77-year history of world-class research and expertise for the Department of Defense and was a forerunner of Austin’s high-tech scene, with several key Austin companies having been founded by d former staff including Tracor and National Instruments. .

The Office of Defense Research Advancement of the Office of the Vice President for Research, Scholarship, and Creative Efforts coordinated the visit and facilitates research relationships between the university and the ecosystem of defense.

Grady is the 12th Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the second-highest-ranking officer in the United States military.

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