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Center for Smart Defense

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MORGANTOWN, WV - West Virginia University has created the Center for Smart Defense, and officials at the school say the new center will align innovations in academia and the commercial marketplace with defense needs.

Former Department of Defense and defense industry senior executive Adam “Jay” Harrison leads the center.

The center will initiate research partnerships between WVU faculty, staff and students and outside organizations inside the Department of Defense and the broader national security community, WVU officials say.

One example of the center’s potential impact will be its research into advanced power generation systems. Harrison said the DoD, one of the largest energy consumers in the country, is looking for ways to reduce the energy dependence for forces in conflict environments.

Other examples he cited: research of fuel-efficient aircraft, unmanned systems, mobile devices and artificial intelligence.

Harrison said the center is in the process of hiring two additional employees, but aims to maintain a lean staff while leveraging researchers and students at WVU.

Harrison, a 2012 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award winner, comes to the center after having led multiple technology innovation organizations in DoD and industry. He served as director of the Technical Operations Support Activity in the Army from 2001 to 2006. He received the Army’s 10 Greatest Inventions Award for 2004, 2005 and 2006.

The Center also will collaborate with the West Virginia National Guard.