Naval Postgraduate and Microsoft officials say a new technology research contract in four areas of cyber research is a sweet deal for everyone.

“This allows us to leave Microsoft inside our troubled space and allow them to come out and build better things that will serve its military and export allies so that the collective enterprise for international security is stronger.” , “said Col. Randy Pew, a senior Marine at the NPS and deputy director of the Institute of Naval Research,” In addition, dual-use, working in the other direction, there may be things we’ve thought about or thought of together that can to be used by the general public. “

Pugh spoke at an event hosted by Microsoft for the media on Thursday before announcing the partners on Monday. Also speaking were NPS Research Dean Kevin Smith and Cyber ​​Warfare Center Director Chad Ballman, as well as Microsoft: Mark Langlois, senior director of the U.S. Navy’s portfolio, and Mark Dowd, principal investigator of the Joint Research Initiative.

The Naval Postgraduate School is a Navy command with access to military facilities, where the initiative is supported by the Navy and the Marine Corps. Microsoft will gain access to these facilities – and upgrade them to include an on-campus innovation lab – to explore cloud networks, build a geographically flexible smart campus, study potential military gaming applications, modeling and simulation, and more. rapid integration of new applications, partners said.

“There is no flaw in that, because, you know, national security is strengthened, international security is strengthened,” Pew said. “The defense industry base, as well as American industry, has been strengthened.

Microsoft’s Langlois has added a study of proposals such as Azure Orbital – which the company has been offering to government agencies for more than a year – and others will also benefit from non-military applications in areas such as smart farming, such as decision-making

“When is the right time to plow? When is the right time for watering? “What nutrients do we need and things like that, so intelligent advantage is widespread, not just militarily, by nature,” he said. “This gives us the opportunity to prove that we can try to help reap this advantage in decision-making.”

According to a March 2021, Azure Government blog post, Azure Orbital “provides the ability to reliably and securely communicate with satellites in multiple orbits, in multiple bands and with multiple satellite communication providers. Public clients can choose the service that best suits their theatrical, coalition and operational needs. “

The contract with the NPS is a research and development cooperation agreement. CRADA was approved by Congress in 1980. The aim was to promote the commercialization of government-funded technology, such as the industry’s collective investment in research and development. is beginning to overtake the government. But in this case, military partners want to see how technology that is already commercially viable can be applied to improve its capabilities.

“Intelligent autonomous systems, artificial intelligence, of course, big data and the ability to do data engineering and data science and have machines or computers to help people make decisions… all these things are very immature at the moment in services “Pew said.” “But [they] are both mature and exponentially maturing in the commercial sector, driven by competitive markets, where people come up with all these revolutionary inventions to maintain that position and, you know, serve their shareholders. ”

According to the NPS press release, “the aim is to use the latest commercial technologies and expertise to improve the operations of the Navy and Marine Corps, while sharing all the insights gained with the general public.”

Microsoft-NPS CRADA will allow the company and government, including agencies other than defense, to freely license any innovations that are co-developed, according to Bolman, who said others would be able to license the technology remains to be determined.

“In the way that CRADA’s work on intellectual property or joint discovery, which we make – no joke – together, Microsoft gets the legal right to use it and license it from the government for free in the future,” Bolman said. “Now, whether this right is exclusive or not, it is the subject of further negotiations. But since the government was also a partner in this discovery, then government agencies and others you know, other parts of the federal government – no kidding – can also use whatever we find for free as well. So it’s completely profitable. “

NPS staff were thrilled by the prospect of any potential final developments from the partnership, from the more distant – autonomous vehicle safety – to the seemingly simpler: human resource solutions.

“Inside each of them [four research areas] The campuses of the future, for example, have a long list of subprojects underneath, things like, you know, LinkedIn-based talent management, and the amazing way it presents people I might want to invite to my network, ”he said. Pew. “Man, I’d like to have this in the military for our talent management purposes. And so it allows us to understand technology and techniques and then be able to pick them up and drop them on the army, quickly and efficiently. “

But the way innovations are extracted and who offers what on the table is not always carefully delineated or easily defined. In January, a federal district court ruled in favor of an appeal who is suing the government for using technology that it believes has already been proven before the implementation of CRADA, which the government did not choose to follow by purchasing the technology in a prototype.

“The [NPS-Microsoft] CRADA has legal protection with regard to the knowledge that existed before the start of the relationship with CRADA, “said Ballman, declining to say he was not authorized to provide legal advice.

With competitors like AWS and Google fighting for a place in the government market for cloud services, CRADAs provide Microsoft with insightful access to the government’s digital environment and a chance to expand its offerings.

“I think Microsoft has some ideas, they see things that can help the military, and the military doesn’t want them,” Pew said. “This CRADA allows you to import these things and work on them, you know, military solutions are driven by Microsoft, which is pretty cool.”

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