machine learning, artificial intelligence and natural language processing are targets of opportunity in
industry and academia, he says. JIDO
is performing secure DevOps—
integrated development of operations,
security and quality assurance—on its
own classified networks.
Data processing is critical to JIDO’s
mission as well, the general points out.
“[With] the amount of data that our
analysts are trying to make sense of,
we have to find a way to shift the paradigm where they spend two-thirds of
their time querying data and 30 percent thinking about the information,”
he offers. The goal is to flip the equation so analysts spend 30 percent of
their time querying data streams and
70 percent thinking about problems.
The number of JIDO analysts has
declined as the risks and requirements
of the job have grown. Technology
must compensate for that reduction,
Gen. Shields says.
Information systems represent
a prime example of how JIDO has
evolved and continues to evolve, the
general offers. The organization’s computing and advanced analytics architectures keep progressing, and JIDO
is “posturing itself for the future” so
it can bring in deep machine learning
and artificial intelligence, he continues, describing this process as detailed
and well thought out.
“You have to have the infrastructure
to do that, and it must be done in an
‘eyes wide open’ way, especially when
dealing with the multiple domains that
JIDO collaborates in,” Gen. Shields
The organization is moving forward with its long-standing effort to
develop and integrate sensors, the general notes. It also is striving to reduce
size, weight and power consumption
among its technologies while increasing capability across a broader number
of systems. “We’re very much interested in the third offset,” he allows,
referring to the Defense Department’s
strategy geared toward maintaining
military pre-eminence for years to
come by tapping innovation.
New technologies to counter vehi-
cle-borne threats are part of ongoing
JIDO research thrusts. The organiza-
tion also seeks new capabilities to aid
in tunnel detection, Gen. Shields says.
“We have a broad portfolio from a
detect-defeat perspective,” he comments.
Naturally, with technology comes
people, and JIDO is working to com-
bine the two in the most efficient way
possible. “We’re looking at how we
can leverage digital natives in JIDO,”
the general offers. The organization is
seeking ways to attract talented digital
natives to provide disruptive ideas for
problem solving. One challenge is that
JIDO is competing for these people
with other, more senior defense orga-
nizations, he notes.
JIDO already is heavily engaged in
outreach to industry to tap technol-
ogy that supports its mission. Gen.
Shields relates that he spent a week
meeting with Silicon Valley startups
and big businesses to identify capa-
bilities that could provide advantages
to U.S. forces. “We have a large num-
ber of mission partners—a community
of action, if you will,” he says. “The
speed at which the commercial sec-
tor is developing these products is
The organization’s traditional mission
partners include national laboratories,
and nontraditional partners include
Smoke rises from an unmanned aerial
vehicle after it was engaged by a counter
system in March during the Hard Kill
Challenge in New Mexico. Sponsored by the
Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA)
and the Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat
Organization (JIDO), the challenge
focused on stopping the growing threat
posed by unmanned aerial systems.