The director of the Defense Intelligence Agency had a pointed message for members of industry; whatever solution is pitched, it has to be understood in the context of how it will be used.

Like many top defense leaders giving presentations nowadays, Lt. Gen. Robert Ashely, speaking Aug. 13 at the DoDIIS conference in Omaha, Nebraska, stressed the need for industry’s help going forward to solve DIA’s tough problems.

However, solutions must not work just in the lab, but also in the operating environment military and intelligence leaders believe forces will be conducting operations in the future.

“Through my career I’ve seen too many times the technology looks great in the lab … but it doesn’t scale to the battlefield,” he said.

Members of industry must understand how their technologies will be used, who will be using it, at what echelon will it be used, how does it support operations in peace time, and how does it support operations in major combat between great powers.

Moreover, solutions and technology must be interoperable with coalition partners as they are “integral to what we do,” Ashley said.

These systems must also be exercised during peace time to create the muscle memory so “when we go to war it’s not a pick-up game,” he added. The technologies and systems have to be integrated ahead of time.