January 20, 2020

Sea Land Air Military Research Lab (SLAMR) To Address Major Shift in Modern Warfighting


NPS Foundation Asked To Play Key Role in SLAMR Funding

The Sea Land Air Military Research lab (SLAMR) will be our nation’s only site that allows researchers to experiment with robotics in multi-domain environments, specifically, sea, land, air, space and cyberspace. The NPS Foundation has been a foundational source of funding for the facility since its inception, and will now take on an even larger role in ensuring SLAMR's completion. The Naval Postgraduate School recently requested $3 million from the foundation to ready the facility for initial operations in summer 2020.

At SLAMR, private industry, academia and government organizations will collaborate to tackle the toughest defense challenges. One of those challenges is a major shift in the battlefield for our military.

“The concept of command and control is changing,” says Ray Buettner, NPS professor and SLAMR director. “It’s not just humans anymore, it’s underwater vehicles, drones, and robotic systems moving across battlefields and searching for the enemy. I tell my students, in every battlefield, you will be using and/or facing nonhuman warriors. SLAMR will allow us to be at the forefront of adapting to that change.”

The SLAMR lab will be the only place in the country where military officers can simulate how “command and control” functions in a multi-domain battlefield. Military leaders can practice controlling a swarm of UAVs and artificial intelligence systems, and researchers can explore the interaction between commanders, robotics systems and the team of humans working with them. 

But SLAMR won’t exclusively focus on military operations. “We need to help our entire country raise the game in cybersecurity,” says Ray. That's why SLAMR will connect private industries, academic institutions and government entities to collectively tackle cybersecurity issues. And with 5G networks, the connection will be quite literal. Other universities, industry labs and military ships will be able to be part of the work happening at SLAMR, regardless of their location. 

People from these labs and industries can also come to SLAMR to experiment in ways they can’t anywhere else. “One example is Amazon and FedEx wanting to expedite their package transport systems,” says Ray. “Commercial and military needs overlap significantly, and when we work together, we ensure others don’t challenge us on the battlefield.”

“By creating this space that facilitates information sharing across private industry, academia and government organizations, we're uniting as a country to avoid the equivalent of another Pearl Harbor or 9/11."

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