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The US Department of Defense (DoD) has inaugurated a Center of Excellence in Networked Configurable Command, Control and Communications for Rapid Situational Awareness (COE-NC4).

The $7.5m centre at the University of California was launched through the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)).

According to a press statement released by the US DoD, the new centre was awarded through the OUSD(R&E)’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions (HBCUs/MSIs) Research and Education Program.

It is administered by the Army Research Laboratory (ARL).

OUSD(R&E) deputy director Dr Jagadeesh Pamulapati said: “We are excited for the capabilities of University of California, Riverside to further enhance the Department’s efforts to conduct transformative research in these vital areas and their contributions to the defence technology base through the exploration of ideas.

“The development of key fully networked command, control, and communication applications deepens our ability to solve science and technology challenges ranging from improving the performance of defence networks to accelerating sensing and computing research to further deter our adversaries in support of the DoD’s technology priorities.”

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The DoD noted that COE-NC4 supports the department’s pledge of building a ‘diverse’ suite of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics talent.

The new centre will ‘integrate underrepresented students’ into essential research efforts via design projects, colloquiums, and internships at defence laboratories.

Pamulapati added: “The centre’s research framework will further facilitate collaborations among the partnering institution and the DoD Army Research Laboratory in thrust areas concerning flexible network resource allocation and robustness to adversarial disruptions on sensing and communications infrastructure.”