CompTIAWorld | FALL 2017 16 By Lana Sansur At CompTIA’s Space Enterprise Council (SEC) meeting in April, we were honored to have Stephen Welby, former U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) chief technology officer (CTO), as one of our speakers. In his role at DoD, he led the largest R&D and engineering organization in the world, overseeing an annual technology investment budget of $12.5 billion. He provided SEC members with his assessment about the impact of future technologies on the nation’s security ecosystem. After his fascinating presentation at the April SEC meeting, we wanted to extend our time with him, and he agreed to speak to us one-on-one. In our conver- sation, we learned his views on the 21st century workforce and why it’s essen- tial to the sustainment of our nation’s preeminence in space, national security and global competitiveness. We also got his perspective on how he sees CompTIA’s Space Enterprise Council facilitating the same. CompTIA: What technologies do you think are going to shape national security? STEVE WELBY: There are an enormous number of technologies that are going to shape the future of our national security. Today, there’s a fundamental revolution happening in global technical competi- tiveness. Many tools used for our defense, which our nation depends on to project power and deter adversaries to ensure our safety and security, came out of our Cold War experiences. The last major changes to those technologies were born in labs in the 1970s, were first deployed in the 1980s, and were used in the period of the first Gulf War in the ‘90s. Today, the technolo- gies that our military is dependent on are GPS, advanced sensors and embedded computational power—which have made our systems so much smarter and so much more agile—is available in everybody’s pocket. Those are the technologies that make up a modern smart phone. For the last 40 years, many technologies we depend on have migrated to the com- mercial sector and have been globalized. So, the tools that once provided a unique advantage to the U.S. forces are now no longer unique to the U.S. We are seeing other countries develop stealth aircraft, build missile systems that are very sophis- ticated and deploy advanced radars. The way we’ve invested in our national secu- rity is starting to erode. It’s time for this country to reinvest in upping the ante and increasing our technological advantage by identifying uniquely American capabilities that can extend our necessary advantage in the future. This is not a political concern but a rec- ognition of increased global competition and technology innovation, particularly of military technology. It really is a non-par- tisan issue. We need to ensure that we strengthen our capability to explore new capabilities faster, to build new capabil- ities quicker, and to gauge and leverage non-official sources of technology to support and maintain our edge. It’s going to be important for the current adminis- tration just as its important to the previ- ous one to be thinking long term about technical strategy. CompTIA: What specific technologies impact our space enterprise? WELBY: I think there are four tech- nologies that are game changers and The Right Stuff A highly skilled U.S. workforce is needed for space, national security and global competitiveness. A former DoD CTO tells us why. Former U.S. Department of Defense Chief Technology Officer Stephen Welby