Plenary Event
All-Symposium Plenary Session III
On demand | Presented Live 13 April 2021 
Open to all paid conference attendees

Session Chairs: Jay Kumler, JENOPTIK Optical System, LLC (United States) and Teresa Pace, L3Harris Technologies, Inc. (United States)

8:00 - 8:05 AM Welcome and Introduction

8:05 - 9:00 AM Plenary Presentation

This event occurred in the past. Click here to now view in the SPIE Digital Library.


Strategically integrating small business in the face of unprecedented challenges

Rita Flaherty, Vice President of Strategy and Business Development, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control (United States)

Pandemic and budget related impacts to the global supply chain have driven a change in the way we approach partnerships with small businesses and the manpower they provide. This presentation will focus on the importance of cultivating productive and mutually beneficial relationships with suppliers while simultaneously driving economic development in local communities. The talk will also cover the challenge of virtual recruiting, encouraging diversity in the workforce while attracting local talent and the avenues for small business to connect with Lockheed Martin.

Rita Flaherty is the Vice President of Strategy and Business Development for the Tactical & Strike Missiles line of business at Lockheed Martin Missiles & Fire Control in Orlando, FL. Rita focuses on expanding existing business opportunities, customer relationship management, and new product developments for domestic and international customers. She leads a team of experienced Strategy and Business Development professionals with significant US Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps personal and professional ties. She has held this role since July, 2019.

In previous assignments, Rita worked as the Vice President of Strategy and Business Development for Sensors & Global Sustainment, focusing on market expansion for Lockheed Martin Products such as F-35 EOTS, AH-64 MTADS/PNVS/Fire Control Radar, and Sniper Targeting Pods. Rita joined Lockheed Martin in 2001 and has held positions of increasing responsibility since that time.

Rita is a 1994 graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point, US Army Air Assault School, and US Army Airborne School, and has served in the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment and the 82nd Airborne Division as a Military Intelligence officer. She has a Master of Science Degree in Manufacturing Engineering from Syracuse University. She is married to Tim Flaherty, who is a former US Army Infantry officer, and together they have two children.


9:00 - 9:05 Introduction

9:05 - 10:00 AM Plenary Presentation

This event occurred in the past. Click here to now view in the SPIE Digital Library.


Operationalizing Autonomy and AI for the Air Force

Jean-Charles Ledé, Technical Advisor, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)

Autonomy and AI have made tremendous progress in recent years to the point where operational applications of these technologies can provide decisive advantages. This presentation will discuss the approach recommended to rapidly field autonomy and AI capabilities at scale including the development of a common platform, addressing trust issues, and agile methodology. Examples in sensor exploitation and business processes will be used to demonstrate the operational value of current generation of AI. However, this generation has limitations, and the talk will conclude with future research required to expand the safe, ethical, and effective use of these technologies.

Mr. Ledé is the Air Force Research Laboratory Autonomy Technical Advisor overseeing the AFRL Autonomy and AI portfolio and making recommendations on new programs leveraging internal and external research. Mr Ledé is the senior Air Force representative in the OSD Autonomy Community of Interest, and the AFRL representative on the Air Force Artificial Intelligence Cross Functional Team.