USEUCOM gathers industry, government leaders to increase combat capabilities

Informed by lessons learned from the ongoing war in Ukraine, the CDX emphasized understanding the evolving battlefield and operational needs to support America's national security objectives.


We seek to create a capability pipeline...so that we can ensure that our forces remain at the forefront of technological advancement and readiness. - Ms. Pfenning
By U.S. European Command Public Affairs United States European Command Stuttgart, Germany May 09, 2024
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Bringing together 150 subject-matter experts from 70 different governmental, industrial and academic organizations, U.S. European Command's Requirements and Resource Integrations Directorate, commonly called the ECJ8, organized and hosted its first-ever Capabilities Development Exchange (CDX) in the National Capital Region from May 6-9, 2024.

The diverse gathering aimed to increase the combat capabilities and effectiveness of America's four-star military command in Europe.

The event's discussions spanned the full spectrum of domains — from land, sea and air to space and cyber — and delved into other topics including government sponsorship, technology base maturity and Allied partnerships.

The 70 organizations in attendance included government agencies like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Defense Innovation Unit, leading Defense Industrial Base commercial firms, Federally Funded Research and Development Centers, University Affiliated Research Centers and U.S. National Laboratories.

Driven by the need for continuous engagement with capability providers and informed by lessons learned from the ongoing war in Ukraine, the CDX emphasized understanding the evolving battlefield and operational needs to support America's national security objectives. USEUCOM has been at the center of America's efforts to militarily support Ukraine after that nation was brutally and unjustifiably attacked by Russia in February 2022.

USEUCOM's ECJ8 Director, Sally Pfenning, a Senior Executive Service command official, highlighted the importance of building and solidifying partnerships to achieve superior combat capabilities during her keynote address.

"We seek to create a capability pipeline that is anchored in analytic-based investment decisions and to foster a culture of risk management and innovation," Pfenning said. "So that we can ensure that our forces remain at the forefront of technological advancement and readiness."

The three-day CDX played a crucial role in communicating USEUCOM's operational needs to the development community, establishing vital connections and aligning initiatives to address theater defense shortcomings. The event underscored the integral relationship between the Defense Industrial Base and military subject-matter experts, fostering a collaborative environment where effective systems development benefits both industry and military objectives.

The CDX is expected to accelerate the deployment of solutions across the theater, demonstrating USEUCOM's innovative approach to capability development, influenced by the unique challenges posed by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The insights gained from this event will propel further research and development, with a broader engagement planned for August 2024, which is slated to engage 1,000 participants and spur significant international collaboration, ensuring a comprehensive approach to enhancing combat effectiveness.

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