For Military Appreciation Month, The Modern Battlespace is sharing stories and insights of various active-duty and veteran service members who are helping shape today’s connected battlespace. In this installment, we connected with Mandy Williams, Associate Director, Business Development for Advanced Solutions at Collins Aerospace.
Williams is a U.S. Air Force veteran and has long had a presence in the defense community, both on the warfighter side and the industry side of the house. At Collins Aerospace, Williams helps the company find opportunities that enable the incubation and maturation of technologies that will help warfighters keep pace in an increasingly congested and contested battlespace.
Here’s what she had to share about her career and her thoughts on future technology adoption for the warfighter:
The Modern Battlespace (TMB) Editors: What did your career path look like? Did you always know the military was in your future?
Mandy Williams: I always had a strong affinity for the military because I was an Army dependent and grew up on military installations, however, I did not think the military was part of my professional future. I was a business major in college and happened to get an internship at Raytheon Company. This led to a full-time position after I received my bachelor’s degree. During this time, not only was I working for a company that was defense-centric, but I was also working with many retired and former military members that spoke highly of their military experience. Their stories intrigued me and motivated me to apply to Air Force Officer Training School. I was selected and received my commission in June of 2008. That experience continues to shape my career path to this day.
TMB Editors: As you look to the modern battlefield, where have you seen the biggest changes impacted by technology?
Williams: In the modern battlefield, the connected battlespace is key to all-domain operations. The technological changes towards a connected battlespace have the most significant impact on the battlefield. It provides the warfighter more information at an accelerated pace as well as additional warfighting capabilities by using military assets to increase the efficiency and lethality of engagements. A connected battlespace provides the warfighter the ability to work seamlessly across different systems and multiple military services without extensive planning or coordination. Ultimately, connectivity, and the technologies that foster it in-theater, are the keys to maintaining the advantage in the face of our adversaries.
TMB Editors: How do you see this speed and innovation evolving in the coming years?
Williams: There is a significant emphasis on providing more innovative technology to the warfighter in a faster manner. Therefore, innovation, and the speed to deliver it, are critical to national security. DoD is working on accelerating processes to encourage innovation and work on refining processes to enable quicker acquisition of the technologies to ensure the technologies are acquired when they are still relevant.
TMB Editors: How does Collins Aerospace continue to innovate in this area?
Williams: Collins is working many efforts, both with the government and through internal research and development, to increase capabilities for Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) constrained platforms and enabling technologies such as high-density and high-performance microelectronics in a Radio Frequency domain. These capabilities enable longer-range sensing and targeting from multi-domain platforms giving the warfighter the ability to outpace the threat.
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