BOULDER, Colorado – Students from University of Colorado Boulder teamed with U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command to win a Designing for Defense competition this month.
Members of the winning team are Tanner Glenn, Joshua Hamel, Alexander Karas, Eloise Morris, Mark Olszewski and Andrew Pfefer.
Seeking military space solutions for ever-changing and ever-threatening sources is not new to USASMDC. This operational challenge has required adaptive, technical and progressive problem-solving since before Desert Storm. Generations of the brightest and the best minds in America have helped develop solutions to space operation challenges.
A new approach to solving these dynamic and often dangerous challenges is the Designing for Defense program and competition. Designing for Defense is a semester-long course at leading U.S. universities that provides Department of Defense leaders with the opportunity to collaborate with talented student teams to develop innovative solutions to their most pressing national security problems.
This course is run in collaboration with the National Security Innovation Network, a DoD initiative that connects university expertise with the national security community.
USASMDC recently teamed with a group of students from University of Colorado Boulder. Team mentor Micheal Slayton, a subject matter expert in cyber supporting USASMDC, said this innovative group of students studied the USASMDC-sponsored topic with a fresh set of eyes, providing a unique outlook and technical approach.
“The SMDC-sponsored issue was related to anomaly detection in low orbit mesh satellite networks and the ability to scale the detection as mesh networks grow in size,” Slayton said. “Each of the six participating teams comprised students and mentors, with sponsors being available at all times to answer questions and help ensure the solution being developed addressed the problem.”
Terry Carlson, USASMDC G-6 command chief cyber strategist, said he understands the challenges of detecting intrusions upon U.S. satellite systems, particularly low-earth orbit mesh satellite networks. He identified the Designing for Defense program as a source of untapped problem solvers to come up with solutions.
“After 16 weeks of work, extensive effort and scientific approach, final presentations were completed,” said Slayton. “The winner, voted on by all participants including students, mentors and sponsors, was recently announced. The SMDC-sponsored team was selected as the winner for this year's competition.”
Lt. Gen. Daniel L. Karbler, USASMDC commanding general, reached out to congratulate both students and military sponsors.
“Hopefully you all have jobs lined up. If you don’t, come apply to SMDC; we would love to have some bright young engineers come work on Army space challenges that we have,” Karbler said. “There are plenty of challenges either from looking at it from what the adversaries are trying to do to us to the great space capabilities that we are bringing online fast.