Second JTRS Science & Technology Forum Held at Calit2

By Maureen C. Curran

Joseph Evans
Joseph Evans, University of Kansas
JSTeF 2 Photo Gallery link

San Diego, CA, October 3, 2008 -- Approximately 100 representatives of the communications industry, defense technology communities, and academia attended the second in a series of science and technology forums sponsored by the Joint Program Executive Office for the Joint Tactical Radio System (JPEO JTRS), a Department of Defense (DoD) acquisition command that is headquartered in San Diego.

JPEO JTRS is responsible for the development and acquisition of tactical wireless communication systems for the Army, Air Force, Navy/Marine Corps, and other DoD-related users. The forum was held at Calit2, in Atkinson Hall September 17 and 18, 2008.

The theme for this JTRS Science and Technology Forum (JSTeF 2) was "Building Communications Paths to DoD and Academia." The two-day conference focused on fostering joint research efforts among domestic universities, entrepreneurial technology-oriented small businesses, and the DoD to stimulate the development of intellectual property in the United States for the next-generation of commercial and military wireless communications capabilities.

Don Kimball, Doug Palmer, et al.
Representatives from the communications industry, defense technology communities and academia attended JSTeF 2. There was ample opportunity to talk about projects and possible collaborations with each other.

Throughout the two-day conference, presentations were provided by small businesses and universities sponsored by the DoD's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Speakers included representatives of Virginia Tech, University of Kansas, Florida International University, the University of California (UC) Los Angeles and UC San Diego. The Calit2 Theater served as an exhibit area provided an opportunity for SBIR/STTR participants to demonstrate their capabilities and discuss their research with JSTeF 2 participants.

"The JTRS Forum offered a great opportunity to interact with the eventual military users of the technology as well as the program office, large radio providers, and other academics," said Joseph Evans, director of the Information & Telecommunication Technology Center at the University of Kansas. He presented research in the field of Cognitive Radio and related technologies.

The meeting was opened with a welcome and brief presentation by Bill Hodgkiss, Calit2 UCSD associate director, on the software-defined radio (SDR) research currently being performed by Calit2 under JPEO JTRS sponsorship. Subsequently, John Armantrout, Chief Technology Officer for JPEO JTRS, presented the objectives of the JPEO JTRS research program and encouraged participants in the audience, which included major DoD vendors and government managers, to develop mutually-beneficial cooperative business relationships with small businesses and universities.

Bill Hodgkiss, Wendy Campbell, Brett Martin
(left-right) Bill Hodgkiss, Wendy Campbell and Brett Martin

"I think the forum has achieved not only the objective of presenting publicly SBIR work that has been developed," noted David Maldonado at the end of JSTeF 2, "But also bridging the gap to other potential industry partners beyond the ones already established through the SBIR award, thereby expanding the reach of those technologies coming from small business to larger companies and broader industry. I think we are really achieving that." Maldonado is manager of Advanced Programs for the New Technology Development Group at L3 Communications Nova Engineering (Cincinnati, Ohio). Nova Engineering had extensive experience as an SBIR awardee, including earning the 2000 National Tibbetts Award, before becoming a division of L3 Communications.

Day One's keynote speaker, Preston W. "Chip" Grounds, gave a very well received, detailed presentation on the needs and funding processes of the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Science & Technology Program. Grounds is the division director of Electronics, Sensors, & Networks Research at ONR. Grounds presented via video teleconferencing on the big screen in the Atkinson Hall auditorium.

Day Two featured two keynote speakers: Dennis Bauman and Lee Pucker. Bauman is the Joint Program Executive Officer for JPEO JTRS. Before giving his address, he took the opportunity to visit the exhibition area, where vendors and universities had demonstrations and exhibits of their projects.

JSTeF exhibition area
An exhibit area provided an opportunity for SBIR/STTR participants to demonstrate their capabilities.

Bauman's keynote addressed the state of the JTRS Enterprise of military communications products, science and technology initiatives, and the importance of fostering innovation. He emphasized that JTRS is in the business of delivering end-to-end next-generation tactical communications to warfighters who are facing ever-changing requirements and threats. To achieve these goals, the JTRS programs rely on contributions derived from the innovation of small businesses and academia as well as the production capabilities of large industry.

In his keynote address, Lee Pucker, the chief executive officer of the Software Defined Radio (SDR) Forum, discussed the SDR Forum's mission, organization and government partnerships, as well as the SDR Forum's role in technology development.

Later, Pucker noted that "The SDR Forum is excited to be partnering with the JTRS Program through the JTRS Science and Technology Forum. We believe that activities such as this are vital in exposing members of the R&D community to industry, helping them to better understand the needs of the tactical radio community in creating deployable technologies that solve real problems."

"We believe the converse is also true," Pucker continued, "By helping to make industry better aware of the R&D activities promoted by the JSTeF, industry is better able to support the needs of their customers. Therefore, we look forward to jointly meeting in January and continuing to facilitate this exchange of information."

Wendy Campbell
Wendy Campbell, VIPMobile

The next JTRS Science and Technology Forum will be held in conjunction with the SDR Forum Working Meeting (their 61st General Meeting), 26-29 January 2009 also to be held at Calit2 UCSD.

Closing remarks were presented by Rich North, technical director for JPEO JTRS. He expounded on some of the themes presented during the conference and described how he was greatly impressed by the technologies presented in the SBIR and STTR-sponsored research.

"We're going to contact some of the people who briefed here, and ask that they come and brief us," said Sharothi Sultana, "because some of the tasks we're doing are very similar to what they're doing. And I think it makes sense to combine efforts, or at least leverage some of the things, so we can learn and take it to the next level." Sultana is chief engineer in the Global Information Grid (GIG) Tactical Networks division of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development, and Engineering Center (CERDEC) Space & Terrestrial Communications Directorate (S&TCD), Fort Monmouth, NJ.

Lab tours were conducted each day to Calit2´s new SDR development laboratory located on the 6th floor of the Calit2 San Diego facility (Atkinson Hall). Visitors were impressed with the prototype platforms and capabilities.

The aim of the forum series is to continue to build a community of academia, industry (large and small business vendors) and government to advance the state-of-the-art in the field of software defined radios and wireless networks. The first forum in this JTRS Science and Technology series was held February 25-26, 2008 at Calit2 in Atkinson Hall.

Related Links
Calit2 JTRS website
JPEO JTRS Joint Tactical Radio System
SDR Forum

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