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Pentagon to Launch Innovative Labs in European, Indo-Pacific Commands

The US Department of Defense has announced the construction of new BRAVO AI Battle Labs for the US European Command (EUCOM) and the US Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM).

The facilities will conduct different research & development activities, also called “hackathons,” to produce innovative prototypes addressing military challenges based on DoD data.

“BRAVO Hackathons represent an opportunity for the DOD to practice and proliferate the fundamentals of user-centered design and agile software development,” DoD Digital and Artificial Intelligence Chief of Staff Joe Larson said.

“By providing the seed funding to establish the AI Battle Labs in EUCOM and INDOPACOM, we will be designing and testing data analytic and AI capabilities with warfighters, not for them, informing and strengthening our ability to deliver exactly what they need to win.” 

The battle labs will also collect operational theater information from logistical to cyber assets using artificial intelligence capabilities and share it with DOD enterprise to streamline data across the agency’s entities, industry partners, and public records.

“The use of emerging AI tools to quickly analyze and leverage data for decision advantage is critical in today’s increasingly complex threat environment,” EUCOM Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Peter Andrysiak stated.

“Establishing one of the BRAVO AI Battle labs within the USEUCOM region is an important investment for this command. The lab will enable greater innovation at the edge, with our Allies and partners, against a range of challenges at a pivotal time for the command.”

Advantage Over Strategic Competitors

According to the DOD, three operational BRAVO hackathons at six separate sites have produced 81 optional prototypes at about 2 percent of the cost of existing minimum viable innovation programs, such as the Small Business Innovation Research Program Phase II grants.

Concepts that reached the production stage or have received follow-on funding commitments through the labs “heavily impacted” major defense efforts such as radar resilience, unmanned systems, flight telemetry and biometrics, personnel recovery, battle damage assessment, situational and intelligence analysis, and critical communications reliability.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Nathan Motz, 45th Weather Squadron, delivers a mission briefing to participants of the BRAVO Hackathon during a tour the Morrell Operations Center July 19, 2022, at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Fla. The event brought engineers, scientists, and coders together from four countries to solve problems with the launch mission. (U.S. Space Force photo by Amanda Inman)
A hackathon activity in Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida. Photo: Amanda Inman/US Space Force

“Despite the speed and impacts from BRAVO hackathons, we are still finding the time from development of capabilities, calibrations, or tactics with operational data to employment in theater to be on the order of months or years,” BRAVO AI Battle Labs Executive Agent Stuart Wagner explained.

“We are deploying these labs to drop this timeline by a factor of 100 – from months or years to days and eventually hours – by increasingly automating bureaucratic processes such as data classification determinations and authority to operate applications.”

“If successful, we will adapt our capabilities and tactics to our strategic competitors faster than they can adapt to us.”

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