U.S. defense secretary looks for cutting edge technology in St. Louis this week

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ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - The U.S Defense Department is looking for game changing high tech products that will help improve national security.  That search is going on in St. Louis this week.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter spent Wednesday morning at Boeing learning about the company’s latest innovative concepts.  He then opened his department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency technology forum underway this week at the St. Louis America’s Center Convention complex.

Speaking to about 100 Boeing line workers Carter praised their innovative efforts.  He called changes in manufacturing processes “breathtaking and very consequential.”

One of the Boeing workers asked Carter how Boeing compares to more well-known high tech firms like Microsoft and Google.  “I know for a fact that some tech companies that we work with also learn from Boeing and not the other way around.  For example, they learn about big data techniques and how to apply that to various processes,” he said.

1.200 engineers, scientists and inventors are expected to attend the conference in St. Louis to discuss how developing technology could help or hurt national security.

DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, has developed the internet, stealth technology, precision weapons and GPS systems that are also used in consumer goods.