Monday, September 19, 2016

Strategic Capabilities Office Focused on Autonomy for USAF, Marines

A largely hidden office until earlier this year, the Strategic Capabilities office (SCO) is a small team within the Department of Defense that seeks to take existing technologies and exploit them to give US warfighters an edge for near-term potential conflicts.

If DARPA is focused on the needs for 10 years in the future, the SCO is about the next three or four years, and that means the office needs to turn out programs as quickly as possible, SCO head William Roper told reporters Sept. 8. And that means working closely with the services to identify needs and test solutions.

“Every project you see with SCO, if we’re doing it, there is a service partner with us. Most of the time we’re not asking them for funding,” Roper said, although the services can kick in money to help with testing. The goal of SCO, he added, is to “burn down the risk of a concept that the service likes, but is too risky for their budget at present.”

For both the Air Force and Marines, the SCO has experimented with autonomy to boost current capabilities, with an emphasis on teaming manned assets with unmanned systems.   more