The Department of Defense (DoD) and other military assisting Federal Agencies have a large and diverse community of subject matter experts (SME) who are eager to collaborate with industry and universities. These extraordinary SMEs are driven to accelerate new and novel dual-use technologies forward to clinical and operational settings. There are thousands of healthcare providers in 167 DoD medical treatment facilities within the U.S. (63 Air Force MTFs); tens of thousands of researchers in the Defense Research Laboratories; twelve Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDC) and the 129 Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) laboratories; and numerous other locations that we will describe in future articles. We will start with describing with U.S. Air Force Biomedical and Human Systems Communities of Interest (COI) and continue with the Army and Navy. I am continually amazed at the breadth and diversity of the expertise, resources, and tools available to industry and academic collaborators when teaming with these SMEs in support of and equipping our military personnel, Veterans and their families. Please keep in mind as you read this that Biomedical and Human Systems are only two of many forward leaning USAF COIs.
The DoD Science and Technology (S&T) Communities of Interest (COI) were established in 2009 as a mechanism to encourage multi-agency coordination and collaboration in cross-cutting technology focus areas with broad multiple-Component investment. Each COI, as defined by Reliance 21, is led by a steering group of senior technical leaders with common technology interests and consist of subject matter experts (SMEs) from across the DoD. The COI technology areas do not change substantially from year-to-year. These groups cover 17 technical areas, including Biomedical and Human Systems COIs.
According to the Defense Innovation Marketplace, the Biomedical COI, or Armed Services Biomedical Research Evaluation and Management (ASBREM) COI, promotes the planning and execution of Warfighter Performance and Health Protection initiatives around the globe. It is also meant to coordinate the execution of Research and Engineering (R&E) and Health Affairs funding for Biomedical Science and Technology and Advanced Development. A summary of 15 U.S. Air Force Communities of interests with links to active sites can be found here. In the U.S. Air Force, several components of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) are actively involved in the Biomedical COI. These include the Human Performance Wing (AFRL/711 HPW) and the Materials & Manufacturing Directorate (AFRL/RX).
The Biomedical COI has seven technical sub-groups:
1. Biomedical Informatics/Health Information Systems & Technology (BI/HIST)
Medical Simulation and Training Research:
• Combat Casualty Training
• Medical Readiness Training
• Health Focused Education
• Tools for Medical Education
Health Informatics Research:
• Theater/Operation Medicine
• Health Services and Population Health
• Health Operations Resourcing and Enterprise Infrastructure Management
2. Military Infectious Diseases (MID)
Plans, coordinates, and oversees infectious disease research and development leading to effective, improved means of protecting the Warfighter against naturally occurring, known, predictable, endemic disease threats.
3. Military Operational Medicine (MOM)
• Psychological Health and Resilience
• Injury Prevention and Reduction
• Environmental Health and Protection
• Physiological Health and Performance
4. Combat Casualty Care (CCC)
• Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Hemorrhage Control
• Resuscitation and Blood Products
• Enroute Care and Forward Surgical Critical Care
5. Medical Radiological Defense (MRD)
Current principal focus is research and development of medical countermeasures to prevent or treat the effects of Acute Radiation Syndrome (ARS).
6. Clinical and Rehabilitative Medicine (CRM)
• Neuromusculoskeletal Injury (prosthetics, assistive devices, and rehabilitation and reintegration strategies)
• Pain (battlefield, acute and chronic)
• Regenerative Medicine
• Sensory Systems (vision, hearing, and balance)
7. Medical Chem-Bio Defense (MCBD)
Plans, coordinates, and oversees research, development, testing, and evaluation of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics against chemical and biological threats.
The Human Systems COI aims to develop and deliver new human-centered technologies to quantify mission effectiveness and to select, train, design, protect, and operate for measurably improved mission effectiveness. Air Force research directorates involved in the Human Systems COI include the Human Performance Wing (AFRL/711 HPW), Information Directorate (AFRL/RI), and Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR Funding Opportunities).
The Human Systems COI has four technical sub-areas:
1. Personalized Assessment, Education, and Training
• Secure, Large-Scale Live, Virtual, and Constructive (LVC) Joint/Coalition Training Environments
• Individually Tailored Training and Education
• Persistent, Interoperable Learning “Ecosystem”
• Optimal Cross-Career Talent Assessment and Management
2. Protection, Sustainment, and Warfighter Performance
• Real-Time Monitoring of Warfighter Performance with Individualized Optimization
• Warfighter Off-loading Technologies and Augmentation Devices/Exoskeletons
3. Human Aspects of Operations in Military Environments
• Mastering the Information Environment
• Mitigate Threats by Forecasting Indicators and Warnings of Human Intent
4. System Interfaces & Cognitive Processes
• Intuitive Human-Machine Interaction with Natural Interfaces
• Seamless Teaming of Autonomous and Manned Systems
• Cognitive Status Assessment with Adaptive Aiding
U.S. Air Force Research Personnel
The AFRL employs approximately 3,455 scientists and engineers (S&E). The Materials & Manufacturing Directorate (AFRL/RX) has roughly 625 S&E. As part of the Biomedical COI, AFRL/RX focuses on Biomedical Informatics/Health Information Systems & Technology and Combat Casualty Care. The Information Directorate (AFRL/RI) has approximately 444 S&E. In the Human Systems COI, AFRL/RI personnel are involved in Human Aspects of Operations and Military Environments.
The 711 Human Performance Wing (711 HPW), which is involved in both the Biomedical and Human Systems COIs and is comprised of the Airman Systems Directorate (RH), the Human Systems Integration Directorate (HP), and the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine, has approximately 407 S&E as well as an additional 478 medical personnel. Research personnel with the AFRL Human Performance Wing (711 HPW) are involved in all seven of the Biomedical technical subgroups (Biomedical Informatics/Health Information Systems & Technology; Military Infectious Diseases; Military Operational Medicine; Combat Casualty Care; Medical Radiological Defense; Clinical and Rehabilitative Medicine; and Medical Chem-Bio Defense), as well as all four of the Human Systems technical subgroups (Personalized Assessment, Education, and Training; Protection, Sustainment, and Warfighter Performance; Human Aspects of Operations in Military Environments; and System Interfaces & Cognitive Processes).
Scientists and engineers at AFOSR also identify, respond to, and orchestrate research collaborations in all four subgroups of the Human Systems COI. Note that AFOSR does not conduct its own research and has no research facilities. Rather, it manages the Air Force basic research program through partnerships with academia, Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR), and intramural research.
If you would like more information on how we can assist your company with identifying, connecting and collaborating with U.S. Air Force or other DoD researchers, please contact us.