Press Release

Assistant Secretary of Defense Maier Visits Johns Hopkins APL

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict Christopher Maier visited the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, on March 8.

Maier, whose responsibilities include special operations, irregular warfare, counterterrorism and information operations, toured several of APL’s state-of-the-art research facilities and received briefings on initiatives in artificial intelligence (AI) test and evaluation, AI assurance, generative AI and autonomous and uncrewed systems.

“The Special Operations Forces (SOF) enterprise is always on the cutting edge. SOF’s unique position to integrate emerging technologies establishes a lasting competitive advantage,” Maier said. “The Defense Department’s investment in AI not only strengthens their operational edge but also contributes to broader modernization efforts to harness the power of data and AI-related technologies. Strengthening our edge and improving modernization is especially important as the DoD eyes an increasing change in the character of warfare.”

Lou Colangelo, mission area executive for Special Operations in APL’s Asymmetric Operations Sector, shared how the Laboratory is driving technical innovation for special and intelligence operations, highlighting the impact of APL’s internal investments as well as its over eight decades as a trusted research, engineering and analysis resource focused on the nation’s most complex defense and scientific challenges.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to discuss how AI can solve critical challenges within special operations and how the advances APL is making will help ensure trust in AI capabilities for the good of the nation and the world,” Colangelo said. “In addition to new capability development, we will continue our focus on the test and evaluation, assurance and standards for the adoption of AI.”

“The partnership between the DoD and university affiliated research centers like APL goes beyond research and development — it’s about safeguarding our nation,” Maier said. “You are the unsung heroes of our technological advantage. You shape the future of our national security through your game-changing research and curiosity. Thank you for your partnership and making innovation our strategic advantage.”