The U.S. Military Needs Private Sector R&D To Meet Medical and Biodefense Challenges
Military procurement leaders at the 2019 Medical, Biomedical, & Biodefense Support to the Warfigher Symposium said the U.S. Joint Forces Command are actively seeking private sector partners to develop new and innovative technology to support the health and healing of U.S. warfighters and veterans.
This year’s event at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Friday Center provided North Carolina business and academic leaders with specific information on what the military is seeking, how to propose projects for funding and navigate the recently reorganized 20 military health groups.
A Call for Private Sector Partnerships
In the opening keynote address, Major General Daniel J. Dire, U.S. Army deputy surgeon general for mobilization, readiness and Army Reserve affairs, said challenges faced by potential future conflicts require "a new mindset" and thinking differently about medical care.
Captain Joseph V. Cohn, USN, chief, research program division, Defense Health Agency, said future conflicts require the military to be capable of overcoming many problems and that private sector partnerships are needed to meet those challenges with advanced technology.
“We can’t mandate a solution. We need you to help us,” says Cohn. “We have to be willing to drive innovation, willing to accept risk and allow the opportunity to fail fast and fail forward, and commit to fully invest in those ideas that seem to be successful.”
Kathleen Berst, program manager, Defense Health Agency and deputy commander of acquisition, U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity, said proposals to any of the 20 military health organizations should address these questions:
- Is there a need for what I’m doing?
- Is it affordable, including life cycle sustainment cost as well as research?
- What is the risk of the program and its key performance parameters?
- What are the chances for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval?
Military Seeks Innovative Solutions
The following are areas of interest where the military is seeking advanced, innovative solutions. These were identified by speakers, panelists and breakout sessions at the 2019 Medical, Biomedical, & Biodefense Support to the Warfigher Symposium.
- Telemedicine to address the needs of active forces and veterans spread across the globe, many in places inaccessible to conventional medical facilities
- Unmanned equipment, including drones
- Personal protective equipment to meet environmental challenges such as heat, cold, parasites, disease and toxic chemicals
- New ways to stop bleeding
- New vaccines and treatments for infectious diseases
- Advances in combat casualty care, including advanced life support, prevention and mitigation of wounds, treatment of orthopedic and trauma injuries, and remote triage, monitoring and management
- Clinical and rehabilitative medicine to address active and chronic pain, regenerative medicine, traumatic brain injury, neural, muscular, skeletal, and sensory impairment
- New portable diagnostics equipment, which one speaker said needs to approach the Star Trek Tricorder
- Information technology, medical simulations, and artificial intelligence
The Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs website includes a list of upcoming funding opportunities.