In an age of rapidly changing technology, where tech becomes obsolete almost as soon as it hits the shelves, staying on top of the wave is the only way to keep from being rolled over. Mike Wimmer is doing a good job of riding that wave.

Mike Wimmer is an American entrepreneur. He has some exciting ideas on artificial intelligence the US government is interested in. His achievements include being Valedictorian at his high school graduation, starting two tech companies, having membership in Mensa, Congressional briefings, and being coined by the United States Special Operations Command’s (USSOCOM) directorate of science and technology. Did I mention he’s 13 years old?

Mike Wimmer, Entrepreneur. (Photo from nexterainnovations.com)

Real (Young) Genius

About the same age you and I were learning not to finger paint with the contents of our diapers, Mike was learning trigonometry. While we were playing with Hot Wheels cars, Mike was too, developing computer algorithms to recognize his Hot Wheels. At the same age, I was standing against the wall, too nervous to ask a girl to dance at Homecoming; Mike was signing contracts with USSOCOM. Where did I go wrong?

Oh, wait, I didn’t. I spent long years reaching this point, where I could tell you about Mike Wimmer, the cool things he is doing, and how expertise like his is how the US military is stepping into the new millennium. We each have our roles in this life. Mike’s role is different than mine. Or yours. Or most everyone else.

Global Shift to Technological Warfare

In recent articles, the SOFREP team has brought you more information about the future of artificial intelligence in warfare. Technological leaps in global warfare have brought China to the top of the news cycle. Russian hackers appear to have access to nearly every network on the planet (and beyond). Every military branch and office within the US government has a cyber operations division. Globally connected systems are here to stay.

Real-time cyber attacks, including information on the attack’s origin, type, and target, as well as the attacker’s IP address, geographic location, and ports being utilized, are displayed on the Norse attack map on the 275th Cyberspace Squadron’s operations floor, known as the Hunter’s Den. The squadron is one of four squadrons compromising the 175th Cyberspace Operations Group of the Maryland Air National Guard at Warfield Air National Guard Base, Middle River, Md., Dec. 2, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by J.M. Eddins Jr.)

That is what makes people like Mike Wimmer so important in the future of the US. Wimmer seems to innately understand how systems work, how to get the most from them, and how to tweak them to get new results.

DEFENSEWERX and SOFWERX

Wimmer is a participant in USSOCOM’s SOFWERX events. SOFWERX is a collaborative effort between USSOCOM and DEFENSEWERX, a “facilitator” between the DoD and private firms. DEFENSEWERX acts as an intermediary, taking the needs of the government and linking them with companies that are most likely to deliver or at least rise to the challenge. SOFWERX is the Special Operations-driven platform for DEFENSEWERX.

Mike has been invited to attend numerous SOFWERX events in the last few years, along with engineers and programmers from around the country. These events are in the same spirit as the Wright Brothers or the Mercury Space program. Many intelligent people from disparate backgrounds come together to “throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks.” The idea is to gather perspectives from numerous viewpoints, looking for ways to use what we already have in innovative ways.

“Playing War”

Participants are given a scenario concerning planned operations (simulated), broken into groups, and told to brainstorm ideas on how to proceed. Limitations are set regarding communications availability, clandestine vs. overt, and the like. Then, free reign. What can intelligent people from all walks of life, skill sets, and areas of expertise come up with to defeat the scenario? Once a way forward is decided on, each team decides on one idea to pitch to SOCOM leadership. If accepted, some of these ideas will proceed to prototype and possible deployment in real-world scenarios.

Ryan Lynch, a SOFWERX special operations forces technician from the Mobile Technology Repair Complex, mills a metal plate at the SOFWERX Foundry in Tampa, Fla., Feb. 6, 2018. In addition to custom equipment fabrication, the foundry supports service members through prototyping and repair. SOFWERX is an open collaboration facility successfully bringing hundreds of non-traditional partners together to work on some of the U.S. Special Operations Command’s most challenging problems. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Barry Loo)

Mike Wimmer is familiar with most aspects of SOFWERX. He has been part of multiple Innovation Foundry projects, invited to (and coined at) Rapid Prototyping events, and recently attended an Artificial Intelligence in Small Unit Maneuvers (AISUM) tech gathering. He briefed on ideas for an AI-driven natural language translator for use in hostile or denied environments. Apparently, USSOCOM likes what he has to say. Wimmer was coined by the directorate of science and technology not once but twice, once in 2019 and again in 2020.

Superheroes Are Real

Mike has been called “The Real Tony Stark,” and it’s easy to understand why. Not only is he involved in future warfare, but he is also actively involved in robotics, artificial intelligence applications, and the internet of things (IoT). IoT is the increasing number of peripherals and mobile devices populating many desks and pockets that interact with the internet. Mike’s start-up Reflect Social looks for ways to combine our interaction with social media platforms across the IoT, making it easier for individuals to stay connected.

With the growth of cyber-warfare, integrated artificial intelligence, and our increasing connectivity, innovations from people like Mike Wimmer are the future of warfare. If a 13-year-old can see a different, better way to operate, sign him up.

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