These in-depth stories were developed to raise awareness about the importance of Defense laboratories, engineering centers, and warfare centers as unique catalysts for innovation as well as showcase the critical work they perform. By sharing stories about the people and institutions behind science and technology, DoD STEM aims to increase interest in STEM careers.
The DoD labs are the foundation for research to support our nation’s defense. Since the earliest days in our history, private industry has built upon knowledge discovered by DoD and developed tools and conveniences for everyday use.
DoD STEM scientists and engineers are people who love problems – a good fit because the DoD labs have some of the most challenging problems out there. DoD STEM scientists and engineers are given the latitude and the responsibility to try to answer them.
A Wealth of Poisons: Toxins, Spores and Nerve Agents
The advent of mega-cities, advanced robotics and cyber threats are converging with existing dangers like diseases or lethal hybrid drug concoctions. ECBC researchers are tasked with developing solutions for a battlefield that hasn’t quite come into focus yet, but one that, when it does, could pose an immediate national security threat.
Cooking up an Answer to Corrosion
The U.S. Air Force pays $5.7 billion a year to tackle rust-related repairs and maintenance, while the United States spends around $552 billion a year battling corrosion. It’s thought that as much as 20 percent of that total can be blamed on tiny microorganisms that digest metals, paints, and plastics, or that excrete harmful acids. Air Force researchers have developed a huge oven that can slowly cook entire aircraft, broiling away the microbes, molds, and mildews that cause material degradation. Now scientists are working to adapt the system to treat biodiesel tanks and other infrastructure, in a bid to eliminate harmful microbes from the Air Force’s fuel supply chain.
Red teams test the U.S. military and defense establishment’s cyber infrastructure as an enemy would to find loopholes, weaknesses and areas for improvement. This is the story of Jason Jurand, the leader of Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SSC) Atlantic’s Red Team.
Drawing A Line In The Sand
Army pilots say that simply maneuvering a helicopter to land in the superfine dust of Iraq or Afghanistan is more dangerous than any threat of combatant fire. For them, sand is the greatest enemy. Scientists and engineers at the U.S. Army Research Lab at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland are developing new coatings for engine components that will enable pilots to operate in any kind of environmental condition, making it possible to carry on in any hazards like dust, volcanic ash, debris, and smoke.
How researchers at the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division developed portable jamming systems that can stop enemy unmanned aerial vehicles from penetrating U.S. defenses.