ATAK bridging cultural divide?

DefenseNews.com has an article on Mavin, which gets an ATAK mention. Here’s a few more paragraphs for the context:

The perception problem

Unsurprisingly, the Maven case frequently came up during the discussion. Panelists largely agreed there is a perception problem about DoD in Silicon Valley, but disagreed on how to tackle it.

Trae Stephens, a co-founder at Anduril Industries and at principal at venture capital firm Founders Fund, describes Silicon Valley’s response to the Pentagon as a bell curve. On one end, a small group that promises to never do business with the department; on the other, a small group actively seeks to engage with the military on programs.

And in the middle, there is a “huge group” for whom “semantics matter a lot.” The DoD has made it difficult to reach that group because the department doesn’t understand how to approach them, Stephens said. As an example, he pointed to the Pentagon’s emphasis, particularly under now-departed Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, on the word “lethality.”

“We just can’t use this word. You’re not going to win being like: ‘Our priority is soldier lethality.’ That bell curve is going to get destroyed,” Stephens said.

The decision by Google leadership to bow to the demands of employees and cease work on a Pentagon machine- learning program shocked many. (SpVVK/Getty Images)

The decision by Google leadership to bow to the demands of employees and cease work on a Pentagon machine- learning program shocked many. (SpVVK/Getty Images)

He also pointed to a targeting software program used by both the departments of Defense and Homeland Security. The Pentagon calls it ATAK, or the Android Tactical Assault Kit, while DHS calls it ATAP, the Android Team Awareness Kit.

“Suddenly it’s not a problem. Everyone’s happy to integrate with the ‘team awareness kit,’ ” Stephens said. “There’s this slight conflict of semantic culture. It’s just kind of silly, and we should like stop making unforced errors.”

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