The Obama administration has long expressed its disappointment with the sluggish pace of innovation within government agencies. This is especially true when it comes to technology, an important part of the US' defense strategy. To combat the nation's shortcomings, the Pentagon has promised to encourage collaboration with the private sector, and a new initiative announced last week suggests that the Department Of Defense is making good on that promise.FlexTech Alliance
Speaking at NASA's Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, US Defense Secretary Ash Carterannounced
plans to fund a consortium of 162 different companies, universities, non-profits and other groups that will work together to develop flexible electronic systems that will be capable of being molded to the skin of a plane or the armor of a soldier. The group, dubbed the FlexTech Alliance, will include the likes ofApple Inc.AAPL
The Department of Defense will contribute $75 million to FlexTech and the US Air Force Research Laboratory will give the group an additional $90 million. Other contributions from local governments will take the group's total funding up to $171 million.Crucial To Defense
FlexTech is expected to come up with a plan that will allow for flexible electronics equipped with sensors to be 3D-printed to exact specifications and worn by soldiers. The bendable devices could also be used to monitor the structural health of ships and warplanes by molding them to the contour of the structure.
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