The Pentagon's top research and engineering official said she remains laser focused on providing the warfighter with an asymmetric advantage in fielding future capabilities.
Heidi Shyu, undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, said Tuesday that the close coordination with each military service, the combatant commands and industry is critical in ensuring the military invests in the right technology to meet the demands of the battlefield.
In addition to assessing the evolving threat landscape, she said she also analyzes what technologies DOD is investing in to determine where potential gaps exist.
"There's multiple ways to close the gap," she said. "I'm looking for lower cost, asymmetric ways to close the gap. That's exactly what I'm focusing on."
Shyu said understanding the convergence of the emerging threat and current technology is critical in maintaining a strategic advantage across domains and threat environments.
To maintain that perspective, she said she's in constant contact with defense leaders and industry.
For example, it's not uncommon for her to have breakfast in a sensitive compartmented information facility when she meets with Navy Admiral John C. Aquilino, commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, during trips to the Indo-Pacific region, she said.
"We can talk about anything, classified things that are ongoing, so he knows what I'm working on," she said. "This type of dialogue is incredibly important."
In order to match the demands from the warfighter with solutions from the private sector, Shyu said she hosts a series of recurring meetings industry partners—ranging from major prime contractors to small businesses—to broadcast defense department needs and survey industry solutions.
Shyu said understanding the full picture is critical for maintaining U.S. advantage.
"I look at the entire scope," she said.
"I'm not going to horse race with you," she said of competing with potential adversaries. "Just because you've got 1,000 missiles, that doesn't mean I have to have 1,001. I look at the whole situation and whole landscape very differently."