The holidays might be the “hap-happiest season of all,” but the fall is without a doubt, the busiest. There’s a back-to-the-grindstone feel, even if we never stopped working! Kids are back in school, new projects are started and funds are released (or not), and the weekends are full of sports, yard work, and other activities. Depending on where you live, the temperatures may not change, but the vibe surely has. And, that’s okay. We’re ready for it. Our team is full of energy, and we want to share all the great things that made these past few months awesome. We’ll talk about some of the great conferences and events we attended, our CANA Foundation, and what we do with all the brain power at CANA - like supporting our Independent Research & Development (IRAD) Program. We’re also excited we’ve had time this summer to work hard on CANA’s Warehouse Management Solutions - services and software that we know are a proven game-changer - and we will soon be rolling that out in force. Have a great fall, y’all!
Fun fact: CANA has grown by 45% in the past two years. Things are happening at CANA!
Although CANA is a fully virtual company, there are events and occasions where face-to-face makes for some powerful connections. CANA recently attended the Pentagon Energy Expo in Washington D.C., and then crossed the country to San Diego to attend the American Conference Institute’s Unmanned Systems West event. Along with our partners, Naval Information Warfare Center-Pacific and NavalX SoCal Tech Bridge, we were able to share important messages about technology innovation and how it serves the warfighter. Will Berry, CANA Principal Program Manager and our lead on SoCal Tech Bridge’s electric Tactical Humanitarian Operation Response (eTHOR) pilot, shared his experiences.
Coast to Coast
CANA Attends Key Events
By: Will Berry
Pentagon Energy Expo
The Pentagon Energy Expo took place over two busy days in September, one sunny and one rainy. Regardless of the weather, the courtyard of the Pentagon was the ideal setting for over a hundred exhibitors ringing the central courtyard walking path to demonstrate emerging technology capabilities that will help preserve U.S. military dominance in future contested logistics environments.
The Expo was hosted by a number of Department of Defense sponsors including the individual Service branches, and the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (OUSD), Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment (OUSD(A&S)), Operational Energy Capability Improvement Fund (OECIF), and the Operational Energy Prototype Fund (OEPF). These sponsors had the opportunity to view a variety of cutting-edge technology, including vehicle electrification, installation energy resilience, batteries, energy storage, energy distribution, power generation, software, and cybersecurity.
One of the standout exhibits was the eTHOR, a project funded by OECIF, sponsored by National Information Warfare Center-Pacific (NIWC PAC), and project-managed by CANA. eTHOR will provide a network of electric vehicles capable of storage, transport, delivery, and exportation of energy in a contested environment. In addition, the system is an agile 5G network infrastructure, deploying and extending 5G’s low latency, high bandwidth capabilities to the expeditionary force enabling unmanned systems, artificial intelligence, and all domain command and control. The goal of the system is to increase the efficiency of energy logistics in a contested environment and provide sufficient network communications to enable the future force.
A tag line of the Expo was, “[e]nergy is the key enabler that will keep the Joint Forces in the fight to achieve decisive victory.” With that in mind, the eTHOR exhibit showcased electric vehicle technology and exportable energy all-in-one by having a DANNAR Mobile Power Station (MPS) at the eTHOR booth. It was a unique visual draw that brought hundreds of visitors to the exhibit. Amongst those visitors was Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen H. Hicks, resulting in a special opportunity to directly share the significant energy plus 5G communications capabilities the eTHOR system will bring to bear. In regards to the Expo, Deputy Defense Secretary Hicks was quoted that energy innovation, "...has to do with national security and what it takes to have the capabilities we need for the warfighter today and going forward.” Well said, we believe, and the eTHOR project is excited to deliver.
Unmanned Systems West
The Unmanned Systems West Conference took place late September in San Diego, CA, and was a fascinating forum of presentations, analysis and discussion. It focused on how the military, government, technology industry, and academics can work together to develop capabilities that advance Unmanned Systems (UxS) capabilities to benefit the warfighter on land, sea and air. The conference was billed as an opportunity to further dialogue on tactical and technical priorities and the challenges of autonomy and artificial intelligence and to shine a light on ongoing research and innovation that will help integrate both UxS and robotic capabilities. It was successfully achieved on all fronts.
Over the two day conference, there were a number of common themes woven through the presentations and panel discussions, including the need for increased collaborative research on design to decrease prototyping systems costs and to increase design speed. Ideas, such as low-cost platform sharing based on common vehicle chassis, were recognized as a tactic to accelerate change; otherwise we risk losing from an acquisition perspective. While there were many different perspectives offered by the presenters and panelists, the iterative design notion – to collaborate, develop, test, fail fast, and evolve – was a common theme that encapsulated the pathway to effectively meet requirements and achieve success.
On Day One, the conference was capstoned with a special presentation by one of our partners, NavalX So Cal Tech Bridge Director, Captain Ben Cohen, USMC, who discussed industry innovation needs and requirements. Attendees were enlightened to Capt Cohen’s unique perspective as a Marine Corps warfighter and as the new Director of the NavalX So Cal Tech Bridge. Amongst other things, Capt Cohen discussed bringing warfighters into the academic/industry ecosystem by highlighting the need to focus capabilities on the diverse pool of end users first, with the technology to follow. By focusing on the end user first, the culture of the warfighter is taken into account, which is paramount because, as Capt Cohen stated, “...culture eats strategy for lunch.”
The CANA Foundation
5K Celebration “5for5”
By: Kassie McRostie
CANA established the CANA Foundation in 2017 on the premise that we are blessed with individual talents, financial resources, and a successful company that provides a platform for the CANA family to connect with and give back to community areas we feel passionate and care about. We believe we have an obligation to use our skills and resources to help individuals and organizations in our communities overcome any barriers they face. Truly, we rise by lifting others.
This year, in 2022, we celebrate five years of the CANA Foundation! These past five years have given us opportunities to give back to our communities in more ways than we could have imagined. Our team has turned their passions into purpose with over 45 completed initiatives.
To celebrate the five year anniversary, CANA decided to do our own internal 5K competition! Over the months of June, July and August, the CANA team was challenged to complete as many individual 5Ks as they could over the course of the three months. The “5for5” could be done in any form - kayak, bike, run, walk, skydive, or whatever they wanted! The best part about the celebration is, for every 5K our team members did, we put the CANAer’s favorite charity into a raffle drawing. At the end of the summer, we randomly selected three of the submitted charities to receive a special CANA Foundation donation.
Our team had fun sharing photos of themselves at various stages of their 5Ks; we were able to share so many different perspectives! From the beach to the mountains, Team CANA completed over 347 5Ks and over 1,079 miles. If you can imagine, that’s the air distance from Philadelphia to Orlando! Needless to say, our CANAers showed up and rocked the “5for5.” The winning charities selected for CANA contributions ranged from womens’ groups to animal shelters to veterans organizations. We still have three months left to celebrate the CANA Foundation’s 5 Year Anniversary, so stay tuned to see how we wrap up this year!
One of the things we pride ourselves on here at CANA is the curiosity and drive of our team. We think our Independent Research & Development (IRAD) program is a great way to encourage that love of learning and thinking outside-the-box. The program enables CANAers to initiate outside projects of professional and personal interest and submit them as proposals to receive degrees of company support such as dedicated time, funding, or technical assistance. IRADs offer a way to potentially bring a new, useful concept or solution closer to fruition. Our Principal AI Analyst, Chris Cichy, recently proposed an exciting Requirements Gaming IRAD to the CANA team.
Independent Research & Development (IRAD)
Live, Virtual, and Constructive Simulation (LVC Sim)
By: Chris Cichy
The vision of this IRAD is to utilize a game engine that supports modifications and scripting to develop Live, Virtual, and Constructive (LVC) training environments to support concept, doctrine, and requirements development. LVC Simulation (LVC Sim) training has multiple markets within and outside of the Department of Defense; it is applicable to any agency in which training is cost or effort prohibitive, in this case, interagency firefighting. LVC Sim, built on an open world gaming engine, would allow real time wargaming capability with a minimal investment and could be made playable by a large audience to increase the sample size and remove currently existing stovepipes.
Playable demonstrations and videos can be made to visualize and pitch new technology and concepts and could be used to develop new marketing tools for a customer’s requirements. For this particular IRAD, CANA could augment its game modification experience through a proposed innovation challenge, or “hackathon.” The goal of this hackathon would be to modify one virtual twin of a technology from an automated fire fighting research and development project led by partners NIWC Pacific and the NavalX SoCal Tech Bridge called Project Vesta.
With this head start in development and the experience gained by working with the innovation challenge participants, CANA would develop each of the assets from Project Vesta and create playable use cases for the pilot. Randomizing certain variables within the game world would then allow for a Project Vesta specific virtual training system.
The long-range potential is limitless. Follow-on exploration might include producing a virtual training environment for autonomous vehicle software; developing tactics and doctrine lesson plans as modification packs; synthetic training data for Artificial Intelligence (AI) models; or developing synthetic environments with integrated Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN) for the training of deep learning models. They are ideas on the cutting edge, and CANA is excited by what our team will think up next!
CANA Top Guns! A Chat with Team CANA Top Gun Graduates In this first video episode of the CANA Connection Podcast, our host Rob Cranston, President and COO of CANA, has a fun chat with Top Gun Graduates and Team CANA members, Connor McLemore and Michael Albrecht about their experiences from the Top Gun program and their thoughts on the recent blockbuster Top Gun Maverick. Buckle up and enjoy the ride and as always remember to Analyse, Assess and Execute.
Talking esports at Full Sail University with Sari Kitelyn In this special CANA ESPORTS episode of the CANA Connection Podcast, Host Rob Cranston with fellow CANAer Co-Host Jack Murray speak with Sari Kitelyn, the Director of esports and Project Development at Full Sail University. So, join in as the team has a great conversation about the unique environment and opportunities presented at Full Sail University and the future of esports in education, and its inclusivity efforts in esports as a whole and within the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE).
5 Years of the CANA Foundation In this episode of the CANA Connection Podcast our Host and President of CANA Rob Cranston, along with fellow CANAers, Digital Media Coordinator Kassie McRostie, and Senior Operations Manager Kenny McRostie talk about the 5 years of the CANA Foundation, its history, the current efforts, and the future of the foundation. So, join in as the team has a great conversation about the CANA Foundation outreach efforts and its bright future at CANA and beyond.
Talking eSports Business & Law with Justin M Jacobson Esq. In this CANA ESPORTS episode of the CANA Connection Podcast, Host Rob Cranston and fellow CANAer Co-Host Jack Murray speak with Justin M. Jacobson, Esq., an Entertainment and Esports Attorney, Professor, and Author of "The Essential Guide to the Business & Law of Esports & Professional Video Gaming." So, join in as the team has an insightful conversation about the unique challenges and opportunities involved with the future of esports.
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