Strategy & Technology Consulting

CDE's experience developing corporate and military strategy with a focus on emerging technologies spans continents, buzzword eras, wars, and indeed, regimes. Our systems-based approach is accessible to senior leaders in many industries and effective in identifying the critical and non-critical information for action. We create the set of discrete pieces then present them as a holistic model of our client's reality, leading to breakthrough insights and task prioritization. 

No two organizations are exactly alike. Our team provides multi-faceted expertise to create tailored organizational solutions from technology investment to business development and process improvement. We give you results that address your specific areas of concern, not a one size fits all approach.  We offer complimentary implementing services, which provide our customers with a full suite of capabilities to leverage either in full or on an as-needed basis. These touch-points, tailored and applied to specific client needs allow us to overcome today’s challenges while planning to address longer-term issues.


 
 

Organizational Consulting

No two organizations are exactly alike. Our team provides multi-faceted expertise to create tailored organizational solutions from business development to process improvement. We give you results that address your specific areas of concern, not a one size fits all approach.  We begin by directly engaging with organizational leadership and key stakeholders to define current organizational baselines, develop metrics-driven benchmarks for future growth, and identify key milestones along the path to where you want to be. Specific services include:

  • Executive Visioning and Strategic Road-mapping
  • Human Resources Audits
  • Business Development Pipeline & Competitive Assessments
  • Holistic Process Optimization and Staff Training
  • Role Definition and Position Description Writing
  • Knowledge Management Implementation
  • Policy Development & Internal Communications

Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Case Study: In 2016 and 2017, we developed a Counter-UAS (CUAS) Strategic Plan for NAVAIR 4.11.3 that aligns with existing strategy documents and identifies strategic goals, activities, and actionable measurable objectives in the context of research performed. The plan covers all aspects relevant to CUAS including effectively and proactively serving its customer base; identifying, developing, and resourcing needed CUAS capabilities in the context of 4.11.3’s existing cyber capabilities; and collaborating and communicating its CUAS efforts to the wide community of interest. We focused on UAS legal, policy, and regulatory environments and associated implications, as well as emerging trends and innovations stemming from commercial UAS and technology markets. We illustrated how uncontrolled, organic, and rapid innovations from the consumer markets drive threat actor accessibility to exploitable capabilities, and how this increases complexity in finding effective solutions both near and far term. Showing how current solution approaches will soon be obsolete, we recommended proactive avenues for procurement, research, development, and collaboration to stay ahead of the evolving and dynamic threat environment and expected capability gaps.

 

 

Requirements Analysis & Solution Development

Our goal is to thoroughly define complex problems and requirements from a client’s operational standpoint. Through meticulous, objective research, we recommend relevant solutions to bridge identified gaps.  Our recommendations are strategically-focused to solving underlying problems rather than simply reacting to symptoms.

Advanced Manufacturing Case Study: In 2013, CDE developed the requirements for a 3D design database to be used by the Expeditionary Laboratory (ExLab) engineers to share and collaborate on 3D design prototypes in the field, and receive expert reach-back into U.S. Government labs. We conducted thorough market research and created a Request for Information (RFI). Evaluating responses, we recommended the selection and implementation of a product development lifecycle management tool in use by the Army's Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center' Prototype Integration Facility (ARDEC PIF). In 2014, we leveraged this in-place solution to develop and implement the business rules for the first intra-governmental 3D design database for additive manufacturing processes, which is still in use as the primary sharing tool for collaborative/distributive prototyping.

Sustainable Tactical Water, Water in a Box Case Study: Recognizing the resource-intensive logistical burden and risk of hauling water in theater to the austere tactical edge, we served the REF by performing research and analysis to characterize the current tactical small unit water architecture and community of interest; identify operational, organizational, and policy capability gaps; assess currently available potable water systems and supporting technologies; and recommend a rapidly integrated prototype solution set to bridge gaps and reduce the current logistical footprint. Using the results of our initial study and technology assessment, we managed the development, integration, testing, equipping, and assessment of a tactical unit purification, monitoring, storage, and distribution prototype system known as WiaB. WiaB was the first MOS-agnostic full scale water production and distribution system positioned for the company level operating at the tactical edge. WiaB was evaluated at Network Integration Exercise and Pacific Pathways with positive assessments and equipped to US Army units.

CUAS Case Study: Our subject matter experts served the Rapid Equipping Force (REF) and Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) in performing strategic CUAS research for complex problem solving and strategic planning.

In supporting the REF, we characterized the wide community of interest, and threat, problem, and solution spaces. We were able to connect the dots others couldn’t and recommended approaches that bridged real gaps. We engaged the full spectrum of strategic think tanks down to operational end users to map requirements and distill critical gaps and trends.  A key finding from our research for the REF was historical approaches to test and assess currently available and emerging CUAS solutions were inadequate and ineffective because they were “canned,” meaning they were not operationally realistic for vendors and did not serve end users effectively. Until that point in testing and assessment, vendors knew the exact type of threat UAS and vector of attack in advance, and unrealistically characterized UAS and prepared for test events beforehand. The recommendations to REF leadership were clear: provide a test and assessment environment that is purely objective and operationally realistic. From these recommendations, the extremely successful Desert Chance I was born, with three follow-on iterations of the event.

In supporting NAVAIR 4.11.3, we revisited research performed at the REF and expanded our research aperture. We focused on UAS legal, policy, and regulatory environments and associated implications, as well as emerging trends and innovations stemming from commercial UAS and technology markets. We illustrated how uncontrolled, organic, and rapid innovations from the consumer markets drive threat actor accessibility to exploitable capabilities, and how this increases complexity in finding effective solutions both near and far term. Showing how current solution approaches will soon be obsolete, we recommended proactive avenues for procurement, research, development, and collaboration to stay ahead of the evolving and dynamic threat environment and expected capability gaps.

One of numerous findings from our research is near term innovations stemming from the consumer sector will offer threat actors cyber and radio frequency (RF) “silent” operation and the ability to navigate without GPS. Paired with commercial intent to sell consumer cellular data plans to UAS operators, thereby offering global operator stand-off distance, the capabilities for threat actors to do harm near term with impunity are real and concerning. Simultaneously, DOD acquisition approaches are stagnant and current CUAS defeat solutions mostly focus on RF jamming, which will not remain an effective approach. CDE recommended a deliberately iterative CUAS solution approach that mimics the organic innovations of the commercial sector, accounts for the fact that DOD neither controls the rate or direction of commercial innovation, and enables effective and proactive CUAS solutions for operational end users.

 

 

Technology Assessments

CDE specializes in strategic problem solving and both materiel and non-materiel solution identification for federal and commercial customers.  Leveraging extensive expertise in systems-based methodologies for research and analysis and rapid defense technology insertion, we can address the most difficult problems our clients encounter across a wide range of subject matters.  

Nano Unmanned Aerial Systems (Nano UAS) Case Study: Long before the larger DoD was interested in nano and micro UAS, we were at the cutting edge of nano UAS technology and deeply engaged with its community of interest, not only in assessing the current capabilities of nano UAS technology but also in understanding and documenting the larger implications of integrating soldier worn and disposable UAS onto the battlefield.  While serving the REF, we oversaw the development of nano UAS operational and technical requirements; identified available UASs in the academic, commercial, and DoD solution space; down-selected available UASs; developed nano UAS test plans; organized, coordinated, and executed the first nano UAS test and fly-off event in Ft Benning, GA; and socialized the results of the event.

Sustainable Tactical Water, Water in a Box (WiaB) Case Study: As part of a larger effort to solve the problem of hauling water on the battlefield to small units in remote austere locations, we served the REF by performing research and analysis to characterize the current tactical small unit water architecture and community of interest; identify operational, organizational, and policy capability gaps; assess currently available potable water systems and supporting technologies for purification, quality monitoring, disinfection, and distribution; and recommend a rapidly integrated prototype solution set to bridge gaps and reduce the current logistical footprint.  REF leadership used our technology assessment and recommendations to pave the way for WiaB: the first MOS-agnostic full scale water production and distribution prototype positioned for the company level operating at the tactical edge.

Expeditionary Wastewater Recycling Analyses Case Study: Recognizing the resource-intensive logistical and environmental burden of hauling, removing, and disposing of black and grey water in theater specifically at the austere tactical edge, we served the REF by leading the development of a variety of analyses to include a Technology Readiness Assessment (TRA) and Analysis of Alternatives (AoA). The TRA examined available wastewater reuse technologies and determined the current technical capability within industry of developing a localized small-scale wastewater reuse capability.  The AoA assessed existing technologies and systems within DoD and industry against operational and technical requirements we defined, and recommended an optimal vendor and solution. The CBA included development of a cost tool that examined the logistical cost savings of implementing a tactical wastewater reuse capability. The collective findings of these assessments were briefed to the office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy, and Environment.  

Extending UAS Endurance through Integration of High Efficiency Solar Cells Case Study: We supported the REF by assessing available high efficiency solar cell technologies and identifying a solution to extend the operational endurance of the Puma UAS.  Through structured interviews with UAS operators, we identified the needs of our end-users and used this information to develop a solution concept.  We identified industry and DoD leaders in solar cell technology and developed a collaborative path forward to incorporate solar cells into the existing Puma UAS through the development, integration, and test of a prototype system. 

 

 

Research & Analysis

Providing context to data is our forte. In addition to traditional methods of research, we use state-of-the-art tools from partners in Silicon Valley and beyond. Our team creates actionable, analytical products based on structured and unstructured data, delving into the meaning between the lines.

  • Research Concepting & Project Planning (government)
  • Lean Six Sigma Training (government)
  • Business Process Reengineering (government)
  • Business Process Optimization

Expeditionary Wastewater Recycling Analyses Case Study: Recognizing the resource-intensive logistical and environmental burden of hauling, removing, and disposing of black and grey water in theater specifically at the austere tactical edge, we served the REF by leading the development of a Technology Readiness Assessment (TRA), Analysis of Alternatives (AoA), Policy Analysis (PA), and Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) as related to the use of a wastewater reuse capability in austere tactical environments. The TRA examined available wastewater reuse technologies and determined the current technical capability within industry of developing a localized small-scale wastewater reuse capability. The AoA assessed existing technologies and systems within DoD and industry against operational and technical requirements we defined, and recommended an optimal vendor and solution. In developing the PA, we engaged the stakeholder community in both industry and government and included specific recommendations to change existing DoD wastewater policy to support implementation of a localized small-scale wastewater reuse capability. The CBA included development of a cost tool that examined the logistical cost savings of implementing a tactical wastewater reuse capability. The collective findings of these assessments were briefed to the office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy, and Environment.