Message from the Director

ASU created SDSI as a major, new, university-wide effort to enable large-scale, coordinated, strategically managed, use-inspired, transdisciplinary research, development and educational programs to assist government, industry, and other partners in the security and defense sector.

Werner J.A. Dahm
- Director

Welcome to ASU’s Security & Defense Systems Initiative (SDSI). SDSI brings our defense-related research efforts under a single, orchestrated, university-wide Initiative that can coordinate major new research and technology development efforts. It also enables broader engagements with government and industry that reach across the university’s research, education, and public service missions, all focused around a set of targeted research thrust areas aligned with key needs in the security and defense sector.

The security and defense field is changing rapidly. The traditional decades-long time needed to develop and field technology-enabled solutions to key security challenges has become untenable. Technology development and insertion must occur on far faster timescales than ever before. Ways of creating systems that place a premium on rapid innovation and development to decrease obsolescence while emphasizing reduced costs to gain affordability will become increasingly essential. SDSI has been established to provide a new kind of university entity, based on the ASU President’s New American University model, for meeting these needs and for producing ASU graduates who are unmatched in their readiness to address real-world needs in the security and defense sector.

SDSI is based on an organizational structure designed to enable an unprecedented level of partnership between the university, government, and industry in the security and defense area. Central to this is a new off-campus university-affiliated entity called ASU Research Enterprise (ASURE), staffed by non-tenure-track professional researchers whose role is to engage in higher-TRL applied research and advanced technology development programs. Those efforts complement our traditional on-campus basic research and early-stage applied research programs and are integrated with them, but allow a breadth of research involvement at ASU with government and industry that goes far beyond the limitations of a traditional university research model.

SDSI is also based on a strong partnership model. We have an exceptional network of established working relationships, close partnerships, and connections with universities and companies that allow us to rapidly assemble superior solution teams within our research thrust areas. We are able to engage in creative, nontraditional contractual mechanisms in our interactions with industry, such as open-ended arrangements and IP-free interactions, that allow us to overcome many of the traditional obstacles to effective industry-university partnerships. And, we are able to remain a reliable research partner even as our solutions move through technology readiness levels beyond those that universities normally are involved in, rebalancing our own role and that of our partners along the way.

So, look through this site to learn more about SDSI and how we can help you meet your needs. And, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me directly.

Werner J.A. Dahm
Security & Defense Systems Initiative (SDSI)
Arizona State University