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Category Archives: Technology

At NAWS China Lake, Scientists and Sailors Are Building the Future Fleet

By Adm. Robert Burke, Vice Chief of Naval Operations

On a recent swing to the West Coast, I visited Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake, home of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD), for the first time.

This remote location has been a premiere spot for technology and an institution in naval weapons. Several physical features distinguish NAWS China Lake from any other Dept. of Defense property, to include the air field, surrounding mountains, access to ranges and open ocean, as well as the laboratory and testing space. The extensive ranges cover upwards of 1 million acres. The area is sprinkled with state-of-the-art industrial facilities.

Amid classified briefings and highly detailed exhibits of advanced weapons technology, what struck me the most was the people – passionate about the mission and incredibly forward-thinking. Each and every professional I met displayed pride and purpose. With more government civilians than Navy Sailors, NAWCWD China Lake is the bedrock of innovation and integration and a shining example of where government not only gets it right, but does it better.

Here, engineers and rocket scientists, test pilots and software technicians, and generations of high-tech employees are building the weapons of the future. In areas such as hypersonics, long-range precision munitions, and ground strike capabilities, the Sailors and civilians assigned to the NAWCWD China Lake team are experimenting and building things from scratch, charting the course for defense industry giants to move to production in many cases.

As a Navy, we need significant research laboratories and a place for civilian scientists, engineers, and innovators to create prototypes, test emerging technologies, and contribute to R&D initiatives that give us a competitive edge. This in-house, long-term continuity provides an invaluable mechanism to incubate our intellectual capital while insulated from the unpredictability of the current fiscal environment.

Staying ahead of our competitors and building the future fleet is happening at NAWCWD China Lake. The work at China Lake supports the full-spectrum warfighter and an integrated fleet, and I was thoroughly impressed by the time I spent there. If you have the chance, get out there and learn what they’re up to; I’m positive you’ll be impressed too!

https://navylive.dodlive.mil/2019/12/30/at-naws-china-lake-scientists-and-sailors-are-building-the-future-fleet/ jbell

At NAWS China Lake, Scientists and Sailors Are Building the Future Fleet

By Adm. Robert Burke, Vice Chief of Naval Operations

On a recent swing to the West Coast, I visited Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake, home of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD), for the first time.

This remote location has been a premiere spot for technology and an institution in naval weapons. Several physical features distinguish NAWS China Lake from any other Dept. of Defense property, to include the air field, surrounding mountains, access to ranges and open ocean, as well as the laboratory and testing space. The extensive ranges cover upwards of 1 million acres. The area is sprinkled with state-of-the-art industrial facilities.

Amid classified briefings and highly detailed exhibits of advanced weapons technology, what struck me the most was the people – passionate about the mission and incredibly forward-thinking. Each and every professional I met displayed pride and purpose. With more government civilians than Navy Sailors, NAWCWD China Lake is the bedrock of innovation and integration and a shining example of where government not only gets it right, but does it better.

Here, engineers and rocket scientists, test pilots and software technicians, and generations of high-tech employees are building the weapons of the future. In areas such as hypersonics, long-range precision munitions, and ground strike capabilities, the Sailors and civilians assigned to the NAWCWD China Lake team are experimenting and building things from scratch, charting the course for defense industry giants to move to production in many cases.

As a Navy, we need significant research laboratories and a place for civilian scientists, engineers, and innovators to create prototypes, test emerging technologies, and contribute to R&D initiatives that give us a competitive edge. This in-house, long-term continuity provides an invaluable mechanism to incubate our intellectual capital while insulated from the unpredictability of the current fiscal environment.

Staying ahead of our competitors and building the future fleet is happening at NAWCWD China Lake. The work at China Lake supports the full-spectrum warfighter and an integrated fleet, and I was thoroughly impressed by the time I spent there. If you have the chance, get out there and learn what they’re up to; I’m positive you’ll be impressed too!

https://navylive.dodlive.mil/2019/12/30/at-naws-china-lake-scientists-and-sailors-are-building-the-future-fleet/ jbell

Innovation Boosts Fleet Readiness

In the new age of warfare, Navy has been using modern technologies to solve problems demonstrating the potential to increase fleet readiness even further and strengthen our Navy for the future.

Whether it’s additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, unmanned systems or mobile applications, Navy has been implementing the newest technologies and increasing the rate of technological creation in the face of great power competition.

Make sure to bookmark and frequently visit this page to learn more about how Navy’s adoption of advanced technology helps to modernize the fleet, restore readiness, increase lethality, generate higher operational tempo, lower costs and build capacity for the future fight.

3D MEDICAL APPLICATIONS CENTER: Software and Digital Application

In the video below, see how Navy medicine is using advanced software technologies utilized by 3D printers to create devices and prosthesis at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Maryland.

  • NAVSEA TIIL Gets Cold Spray Down Cold (July 10, 2019)

KEYPORT, Washington (NNS) — The Naval Sea Systems Command’s Tactical Innovation Implementation Labsprinted toward the future with the Cold Spray Sprint in January, an effort that kicked off the deployment of cutting-edge cold spray technology to shipyards and depot-level maintenance centers. Read more on Navy.mil

  • NAVWAR Enterprise Launches Artificial Intelligence Prize Challenge with $150,000 Offerred in Prizes (July 9, 2019) 

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (NNS) — The Navy kicked off the Artificial Intelligence Applications to Autonomous Cybersecurity Challenge, a prize competition seeking innovative machine learning and artificial intelligence solutions for real-world cybersecurity challenges. Read more on Navy.mil

  • Navy Data Platform Consolidates Business Intelligence Capabilities  (July 9, 2019)

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (NNS) — Naval Supply Systems Command Business Systems Center launched Navy Data Platform, a standardized business intelligence and data platform that supports Navy supply-chain data-analytic capabilities. Read more on Navy.mil 

  • Eye on Innovation: Making Huge Strides in Virtual Reality at Norfolk Naval Shipyard  (July 3, 2019)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) — Imagine conducting ship checks and training aboard a ship without ever leaving your office. At Norfolk Naval Shipyard, this has become a reality thanks to virtual reality. Read more on Navy.mil

UNMANNED AERIAL SYSTEMS LABORATORY

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division’s Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Laboratory, based under the Sea-Based Aviation and Aeromechanics Branch, develops UAS for the maritime mobility mission of Carderock. This is a video feature on the lab, located at West Bethesda, Maryland.

 

  • Junior Navy Scientists, Engineers Develop Integration Capability for Electric Weapons   (June 13, 2019)

DAHLGREN, Va. (NNS) — Six junior Navy technologists recently out of college proved the potential of their project known as PEGASUS (Power and Energy Generation Analysis SimUlation System) to integrate electric weapons and electric propulsion systems aboard Navy ships. Read more on Navy.mil 

  • Navy’s 3D Submarine Radio Room Training Technology Adapted for USMC Tactical Communicators  (June 13, 2019)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (NNS) — Naval Information Warfare Center Atlantic developed and fielded 3D virtual training technology traditionally used by Navy submariners as part of a New Equipment Training package designed for U.S. Marine Corps communicators. Read more on Navy.mil

  • Laser Focus: ONR Global and the Competition for High-Intensity Lasers (June 4, 2019)

ARLINGTON, Va. (NNS) — In the 1990s, the United States was the leading innovator and dominant user of high-intensity laser technology, according to a 2017 report published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. Read more on Navy.mil

  • Carderock’s McAllister Talks Future of Unmanned Vehicles  (May 28, 2019)

WEST BETHESDA, Md. (NNS) — Before the turn of the century, futurists imagined today looking something like an episode of “The Jetsons,” with robots doing the dull and dirty work in every home, and pilotless flying cars providing seamless transportation. Read more on Navy.mil

  • Marines Make Virtual Training Reality for Naval Aviators  (May 20, 2019)

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (NNS) — The dream of becoming jet pilots was almost within their reach. Self-confessed mechanical engineering geeks, the Occhipinti brothers commissioned as second lieutenants in the United States Marine Corps in 2013. Read more on Navy.mil

  • NAVSEA and NUWC Division, Keyport’s 3D Blueprint for the Future  (May 16, 2019)

KEYPORT, Washington (NNS) — Naval Sea Systems Command Tactical Innovation Implementation Lab is advancing and maturing additive manufacturing (AM, also known as 3D printing) technology into the naval shipyards to support the fleet through Print Sprint II. Read more on Navy.mil

  • NRL Introduces Newly Acquired Aircraft for Airborne Research  (May 14, 2019)

WASHINGTON (NNS) — The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and the Navy’s premier science and technology research squadron, Scientific Development Squadron ONE (VXS-1), unveiled the UV-18 “Twin Otter” as the newest addition to the squadron’s unique fleet of aircraft research platforms. Read more on Navy.mil

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory™s exclusive science and technology research squadron, Scientific Development Squadron ONE (VXS-1), Warlocks, add the twin engine, Twin Otter aircraft to their versatile fleet, which include three NP-3C and P-3C Orions, an RC-12 King Air, and 12 TigerShark Unmanned Aircraft Systems.
  • NAVSUP Showcases Innovation at Sea Air Space Expo 2019  (May 6, 2019)

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (NNS) — Naval Supply Systems Command showcases innovative technology and processes at this year’s Sea Air Space Exposition, May 6-8, in National Harbor, Maryland. Read more on Navy.mil

  • Modernization Takes Navy Enterprise Resource Planning to the Cloud  (May 6, 2019)

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (NNS) — From purchase request to final delivery, a well-coordinated orchestra of technology and people work in harmony to ensure Navy supply-chain integrity. Read more on Navy.mil

  • Data, Web, and Artificial Intelligence: Navy’s Next Frontier  (May 6, 2019)

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (NNS) — As information technology rapidly advances, the use of mobile applications and artificial intelligence will continue to impact Navy decision-makers well into the future. Read more on Navy.mil

  • Mobile Devices Enhance Navy Inventory Control  (May 6, 2019)

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (NNS) — Navy Mobile Computing teams from Naval Supply Systems Command Business Systems Center are deploying mobile technology and support to deliver improved logistics readiness to the fleet. Read more on Navy.mil

  • NUWC Division, Keyport Strives to Leap Ahead in Virtual Reality  (May 2, 2019)

KEYPORT, Wa. (NNS) — The Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Keyport is bringing what used to be science fiction to the world of science fact through the development of practical augmented reality and virtual reality technology. Read more on Navy.mil

  • Eye on Innovation: NNSY T&I Lab Hosts Shipyard Sharing Program  (May 1, 2019)

PORTSMOUTH, VA (NNS) — The Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) Technology and Innovation Lab strives to break down barriers and bring technologies of the shipyard to the forefront, aiding employees who aim to make their jobs safer and more efficient through NNSY’s Innovation Program. Read more on Navy.mil

 

Follow this page to learn more about Navy’s adoption of advanced technology.

https://navylive.dodlive.mil/2019/07/15/innovation-boosts-fleet-readiness/ poyrazdogany

Ready, Relevant Learning: Better, Faster, More Effective

By Rear Adm. Kyle Cozad
Commander, Naval Education and Training Command

Ready, Relevant Learning (RRL) is one of the Navy’s Sailor 2025 key initiatives with a focus on providing Sailors the right training at the right time throughout their career. It isn’t just an opportunity for us to overhaul the very industrial training model we’ve employed for several decades, but a chance to look at the totality of our current training model in how we optimize Sailor training throughout the continuum of his or her career.

GREAT LAKES, Ill. (Oct. 19, 2017) A student from Electronics Technician and Fire Controlman “A” School prepares to troubleshoot the radar simulator partial task trainer (PTT) at Center for Surface Combat Systems Unit Great Lakes. Over the past year students have been utilizing the PTT system after a complete overhaul of the equipment. (U.S. Navy photo by Brian Walsh/Released)

 

Since fleet readiness starts at Naval Education and Training Command, we are obligated to provide the fleet the very best in training and education delivery. We must be “better, faster and more effective” to win in today’s competitive environment and to keep moving forward implementing new initiatives.

We are looking at different ways of how we train, and RRL seeks to achieve more performance-based training – where Sailors actually get “hands on” training as opposed to the more traditional knowledge-based training that relies on textbooks and PowerPoint instruction we stress today.

So when I talk about RRL, I’ll invite you to think about the “when,” the “how,” and the “where” we are teaching our Sailors.

THE WHEN

Sailors perform better when they have the necessary skills to do the job that’s needed of them right now. Traditionally, we have we frontloaded Sailors with much of their required training for their entire career at accession-level “A” and “C” schools. By the time they reach their second or third follow-on assignment, Sailors often found their knowledge and skills may have atrophied and the training they had received outdated. For some, the foundational training they receive during their accession pipeline is not retained, given the vast amount of training they’ve received en route to their first command – much of which, is focused beyond the scope of what we expect our new Sailors to perform during their first few years.

We want to invest in our Sailors to make them successful when they go to the fleet. What does a Sailor need to know in their first 18 to 24 months? We asked subject matter experts on each of the type commander staffs to identify the precise time a Sailor needs a particular training to develop a continuum.

Of the Navy’s 87 ratings, we are analyzing 54 of them to determine which portions of their training can transition from the traditional delivery of upfront training before arriving at the first command. Of those 54 ratings, 22 have been approved by U.S. Fleet Forces Command as the executive agent for RRL and are in what we call “block learning.” Individual “blocks” of training will deliver only the technical knowledge and skills required by the rating at specific points in a Sailor’s career.

After the first “block” of training that will occur after boot camp, Sailors report to their first ship, squadron, submarine or battalion and complete their first and possibly second tour in the fleet. At designated points in that particular Sailor’s career – based on rate, deployment schedule and training cycle – a Sailor will return to the next tailored “blocks” of training to continue to develop professionally. Those subsequent “blocks” will ensure that as Sailors becomes more senior (and more fleet experienced), they receive additional training appropriate to the skill levels we expect at that point in their career.

ORLANDO, Fla. (Oct. 12, 2017) A Sailor explores a virtual Virginia-class submarine forward compartment lower level.  The Virtual Interactive Shipboard Instructional Tour 3D (VISIT 3D) provides a photo-realistic interactive experience of a real-world environment. (U.S. Navy photo by Doug Schaub/Released)

THE HOW

First and foremost – RRL is NOT more computer-based training. RRL will leverage training technology that ranges from simple visual demonstration tools such as YouTube-like videos to more complex, immersive simulators and virtual trainers. Many examples of these technologies are already being piloted at our learning centers around the country that will supplement traditional classroom instruction – with demonstrated and measurable improvements to a Sailor’s ability to learn and to retain the knowledge and skills required to be successful at a given point in his or her career.

SMART. The Scalable Mobile Applications and Ready Training (SMART) eTablets used at Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal provide students a self-paced study and academic remediation tool. The tablets include quizzes, references and how-to videos. The students are able to take them home, study unclassified information, and retain the material. Sailors are learning better, and we are seeing a decrease in attrition rates.

MRTS 3D®. Multipurpose Reconfigurable Training System 3D® (MRTS 3D®) is affordable, versatile and flexible, flat panel touch-screen gaming technology. The system gives students multiple opportunities to virtually perform specific tasks such as turning valves and selecting tools for the job before them. We are using MRTS 3D® to train on submarine radio rooms, Virginia-class attack submarine torpedo rooms, emergency diesel generators, and aircraft Mobile Electric Power Plants.

PENSACOLA, Fla. (Aug. 25, 2017) Chief Aviation Support Equipment Technician Andrew Czarnecki, assigned to Naval Air Technical Training Center (NATTC), demonstrates the Multipurpose Reconfigurable Training System 3D® (MRTS 3D®) Mobile Electric Power Plant simulator to Capt. Maxine Goodridge, commanding officer of NATTC, in the NATTC MRTS 3D® Test and Evaluation Laboratory at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. Installation of desks, monitors and software in the laboratory finished Aug. 25 and provides a platform to explore capabilities of future MRTS 3D technological applications. (U.S. Navy photo by Ensign Clara Navarro/Released)

 

VISIT 3D™. Virtual Interactive Shipboard Instructional Tour 3D™ (VISIT 3D™) provides a photo-realistic interactive experience of a real-world environment. For example, on the Virginia-class submarine, VISIT 3D offers platform familiarization and equipment location training for the forward compartment lower level through timed, scored and tailored scavenger hunts. Sailors can practice critical ship operating procedures that could previously only be performed on the actual equipment.

IVSE. Littoral Combat Ship Immersive Virtual Shipboard Environment (IVSE) uses an avatar to virtually access shipboard facilities and locations, simulating real-life scenarios. A student can look in any direction and complete watch station requirements before even stepping aboard a ship.

I have seen firsthand the benefits of how this type of training impacts our Sailors. These tools increase the number of training “reps and sets” a Sailor can perform and build upon muscle memory before actually interacting with physical equipment or systems.

THE WHERE

Closely tied to modernizing our training methods is an ability to deliver our content and make it accessible at the waterfront or flight line. While we still need the traditional brick-and-mortar schoolhouse, we also need to leverage the types of technology and learning experiences that many of our Sailors today have grown up with.

Our goal is for Sailors to be able to walk across the street, receive a few hours of training and return to their command. Better yet – to give the Sailor the ability to receive that same level of sophisticated training aboard their ship or submarine, at their squadron, or in their work center – delivery at the point of need.

The key as we move forward is to think outside of the box and continue to challenge the status quo. We must be flexible and adaptive during every phase of transition and not look in the rear view mirror at how we have always done things – challenge each other with a mindset of “what if?”

Our competitive advantage as a Navy lies in our “people.” Just as we’ll never completely walk away from traditional brick-and-mortar schools, the need for fleet subject matter experts – our instructors – will never be replaced by future training technology. The power of RRL lies in the ability to supplement the hands-on, face-to-face everyday interaction with students while integrating more mobile and virtual components that bring training directly to our Sailors when and where it makes sense.

Going forward we will remain agile and keep pursuing new technology and concepts to develop our nation’s best and brightest into Sailors prepared for success in their roles in maintaining maritime superiority.

ORLANDO, Fla. (Oct. 18, 2017) Jesse Gusse, a computer engineer at Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, demonstrates advances in technology and mobile applications used for training, such as the Navy’s eHelm and mobile Virtual Interactive Shipboard Instructional Tour 3D™, during a Ready, Relevant Learning (RRL) Summit. The event included presentations on the role fleet and subject matter experts will play in determining future training requirements as well as new modernized technology and learning strategies that will be incorporated as RRL is implemented across the Navy. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Cmdr. Kate Meadows/Released)

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2018/03/16/ready-relevant-learning-better-faster-more-effective/ parcher

Ready, Relevant Learning: Better, Faster, More Effective

By Rear Adm. Kyle Cozad
Commander, Naval Education and Training Command

Ready, Relevant Learning (RRL) is one of the Navy’s Sailor 2025 key initiatives with a focus on providing Sailors the right training at the right time throughout their career. It isn’t just an opportunity for us to overhaul the very industrial training model we’ve employed for several decades, but a chance to look at the totality of our current training model in how we optimize Sailor training throughout the continuum of his or her career.

GREAT LAKES, Ill. (Oct. 19, 2017) A student from Electronics Technician and Fire Controlman “A” School prepares to troubleshoot the radar simulator partial task trainer (PTT) at Center for Surface Combat Systems Unit Great Lakes. Over the past year students have been utilizing the PTT system after a complete overhaul of the equipment. (U.S. Navy photo by Brian Walsh/Released)

 

Since fleet readiness starts at Naval Education and Training Command, we are obligated to provide the fleet the very best in training and education delivery. We must be “better, faster and more effective” to win in today’s competitive environment and to keep moving forward implementing new initiatives.

We are looking at different ways of how we train, and RRL seeks to achieve more performance-based training – where Sailors actually get “hands on” training as opposed to the more traditional knowledge-based training that relies on textbooks and PowerPoint instruction we stress today.

So when I talk about RRL, I’ll invite you to think about the “when,” the “how,” and the “where” we are teaching our Sailors.

THE WHEN

Sailors perform better when they have the necessary skills to do the job that’s needed of them right now. Traditionally, we have we frontloaded Sailors with much of their required training for their entire career at accession-level “A” and “C” schools. By the time they reach their second or third follow-on assignment, Sailors often found their knowledge and skills may have atrophied and the training they had received outdated. For some, the foundational training they receive during their accession pipeline is not retained, given the vast amount of training they’ve received en route to their first command – much of which, is focused beyond the scope of what we expect our new Sailors to perform during their first few years.

We want to invest in our Sailors to make them successful when they go to the fleet. What does a Sailor need to know in their first 18 to 24 months? We asked subject matter experts on each of the type commander staffs to identify the precise time a Sailor needs a particular training to develop a continuum.

Of the Navy’s 87 ratings, we are analyzing 54 of them to determine which portions of their training can transition from the traditional delivery of upfront training before arriving at the first command. Of those 54 ratings, 22 have been approved by U.S. Fleet Forces Command as the executive agent for RRL and are in what we call “block learning.” Individual “blocks” of training will deliver only the technical knowledge and skills required by the rating at specific points in a Sailor’s career.

After the first “block” of training that will occur after boot camp, Sailors report to their first ship, squadron, submarine or battalion and complete their first and possibly second tour in the fleet. At designated points in that particular Sailor’s career – based on rate, deployment schedule and training cycle – a Sailor will return to the next tailored “blocks” of training to continue to develop professionally. Those subsequent “blocks” will ensure that as Sailors becomes more senior (and more fleet experienced), they receive additional training appropriate to the skill levels we expect at that point in their career.

ORLANDO, Fla. (Oct. 12, 2017) A Sailor explores a virtual Virginia-class submarine forward compartment lower level.  The Virtual Interactive Shipboard Instructional Tour 3D (VISIT 3D) provides a photo-realistic interactive experience of a real-world environment. (U.S. Navy photo by Doug Schaub/Released)

THE HOW

First and foremost – RRL is NOT more computer-based training. RRL will leverage training technology that ranges from simple visual demonstration tools such as YouTube-like videos to more complex, immersive simulators and virtual trainers. Many examples of these technologies are already being piloted at our learning centers around the country that will supplement traditional classroom instruction – with demonstrated and measurable improvements to a Sailor’s ability to learn and to retain the knowledge and skills required to be successful at a given point in his or her career.

SMART. The Scalable Mobile Applications and Ready Training (SMART) eTablets used at Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal provide students a self-paced study and academic remediation tool. The tablets include quizzes, references and how-to videos. The students are able to take them home, study unclassified information, and retain the material. Sailors are learning better, and we are seeing a decrease in attrition rates.

MRTS 3D®. Multipurpose Reconfigurable Training System 3D® (MRTS 3D®) is affordable, versatile and flexible, flat panel touch-screen gaming technology. The system gives students multiple opportunities to virtually perform specific tasks such as turning valves and selecting tools for the job before them. We are using MRTS 3D® to train on submarine radio rooms, Virginia-class attack submarine torpedo rooms, emergency diesel generators, and aircraft Mobile Electric Power Plants.

PENSACOLA, Fla. (Aug. 25, 2017) Chief Aviation Support Equipment Technician Andrew Czarnecki, assigned to Naval Air Technical Training Center (NATTC), demonstrates the Multipurpose Reconfigurable Training System 3D® (MRTS 3D®) Mobile Electric Power Plant simulator to Capt. Maxine Goodridge, commanding officer of NATTC, in the NATTC MRTS 3D® Test and Evaluation Laboratory at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. Installation of desks, monitors and software in the laboratory finished Aug. 25 and provides a platform to explore capabilities of future MRTS 3D technological applications. (U.S. Navy photo by Ensign Clara Navarro/Released)

 

VISIT 3D™. Virtual Interactive Shipboard Instructional Tour 3D™ (VISIT 3D™) provides a photo-realistic interactive experience of a real-world environment. For example, on the Virginia-class submarine, VISIT 3D offers platform familiarization and equipment location training for the forward compartment lower level through timed, scored and tailored scavenger hunts. Sailors can practice critical ship operating procedures that could previously only be performed on the actual equipment.

IVSE. Littoral Combat Ship Immersive Virtual Shipboard Environment (IVSE) uses an avatar to virtually access shipboard facilities and locations, simulating real-life scenarios. A student can look in any direction and complete watch station requirements before even stepping aboard a ship.

I have seen firsthand the benefits of how this type of training impacts our Sailors. These tools increase the number of training “reps and sets” a Sailor can perform and build upon muscle memory before actually interacting with physical equipment or systems.

THE WHERE

Closely tied to modernizing our training methods is an ability to deliver our content and make it accessible at the waterfront or flight line. While we still need the traditional brick-and-mortar schoolhouse, we also need to leverage the types of technology and learning experiences that many of our Sailors today have grown up with.

Our goal is for Sailors to be able to walk across the street, receive a few hours of training and return to their command. Better yet – to give the Sailor the ability to receive that same level of sophisticated training aboard their ship or submarine, at their squadron, or in their work center – delivery at the point of need.

The key as we move forward is to think outside of the box and continue to challenge the status quo. We must be flexible and adaptive during every phase of transition and not look in the rear view mirror at how we have always done things – challenge each other with a mindset of “what if?”

Our competitive advantage as a Navy lies in our “people.” Just as we’ll never completely walk away from traditional brick-and-mortar schools, the need for fleet subject matter experts – our instructors – will never be replaced by future training technology. The power of RRL lies in the ability to supplement the hands-on, face-to-face everyday interaction with students while integrating more mobile and virtual components that bring training directly to our Sailors when and where it makes sense.

Going forward we will remain agile and keep pursuing new technology and concepts to develop our nation’s best and brightest into Sailors prepared for success in their roles in maintaining maritime superiority.

ORLANDO, Fla. (Oct. 18, 2017) Jesse Gusse, a computer engineer at Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, demonstrates advances in technology and mobile applications used for training, such as the Navy’s eHelm and mobile Virtual Interactive Shipboard Instructional Tour 3D™, during a Ready, Relevant Learning (RRL) Summit. The event included presentations on the role fleet and subject matter experts will play in determining future training requirements as well as new modernized technology and learning strategies that will be incorporated as RRL is implemented across the Navy. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Cmdr. Kate Meadows/Released)

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2018/03/16/ready-relevant-learning-better-faster-more-effective/ parcher

From Science Fiction to Reality: U.S. Navy Technology and Innovation

Happy Science Fiction Day!

The unofficial “holiday” coincides with the 1920 birth of sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov. Almost 100 years later, what was once only fiction is now either reality or under development, thanks to researchers and innovators like those at the Office of Naval Research.

From investments in the earliest computers to spearheading seminal research in deep sea exploration to cultivating groundbreaking efforts in solid-state electronics and countless other innovations, ONR has been shaping the Navy and Marine Corps — and the world around us — for seven decades and counting.

So, let’s celebrate Science Fiction Day with a look at four science fiction-like technologies that ONR is developing and researching.

By David Smalley
Office of Naval Research

 

Laser Weapons

From the 1930s on, science fiction comics, books and movies had plenty of futuristic portrayals of “ray guns” shooting some kind of mysterious energy.

Decades later, Star Wars and Star Trek helped captivate millions more with the idea. But all along, the Office of Naval Research has been steadfastly developing the real thing. Starting in the 1950s, ONR sponsored research that ultimately led to the first “lasers” (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation). Today, ONR is working on high-energy, solid-state laser weapons. The Laser Weapons System (LaWS), a prototype, was fitted on a ship in the Arabian Gulf in 2014 and proved the ability of this test platform to shoot down UAVs in the air, and surface targets on the waves. Laser capabilities and power are growing every year. Coming soon to a theater (of operations) near you!

Robotics

MOBILE, Ala. (Nov. 6, 2014) The Office of Naval Research-sponsored Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot (SAFFiR) undergoes testing aboard the Naval Research Laboratory's ex-USS Shadwell in Mobile, Ala. SAFFiR is a bipedal humanoid robot being developed to assist Sailors with damage control and inspection operations aboard naval vessels. (U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams/Released)
MOBILE, Ala. (Nov. 6, 2014) The Office of Naval Research-sponsored Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot (SAFFiR) undergoes testing aboard the Naval Research Laboratory’s ex-USS Shadwell in Mobile, Ala. SAFFiR is a bipedal humanoid robot being developed to assist Sailors with damage control and inspection operations aboard naval vessels. (U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams/Released)

 

Like ray guns, robots have dominated popular imagination for decades.

And as with the development of lasers, yesterday’s science fiction has really become today’s science fact. Today robots perform complex duties on factory floors, clean floors in our houses and even deliver meals to your hotel room. But robots can also save lives. Think shipboard fires. Take lots of Sailors or Marines, add gunpowder and tight quarters where maneuverability is limited, and shipboard fires are a deadly threat – and extraordinarily dangerous to combat. As Sailors learn in firefighting training: In a fire at sea, there is no place to run. What if, ONR scientists thought, we could lessen the dangers of firefighting aboard ships? Using decades of investment into robotics (in 1963, ONR sponsored Shakey the robot, the first to reason through what actions it should take to fulfill a command), ONR researchers are developing SAFFiR – the Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot. This human-sized robot can find and suppress even extreme shipboard fires, keeping Sailors out of harm’s way. Here’s hoping SAFFiR never has to do his (its?) job – but it’s nice to know it will be on watch.

Additional examples include augmented reality systems and advanced wireless networks that were among the technologies shown during the Ship-to-Shore Maneuver Exploration and Experimentation Advanced Naval Technology Exercise (S2ME2 ANTX) 2017, a set of amphibious exercises at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in California last spring.

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (Apr. 25, 2017) A unmanned aerial vehicle launches from a Multi-Utility Tactical Transport (MUTT) vehicle after exiting an Autonomous AAV during the Ship-to-Shore Maneuver Exploration and Experimentation (S2ME2) Advanced Naval Technology Exercise (ANTX) 2017. (U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams/Released)
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (Apr. 25, 2017) A unmanned aerial vehicle launches from a Multi-Utility Tactical Transport (MUTT) vehicle after exiting an Autonomous AAV during the Ship-to-Shore Maneuver Exploration and Experimentation (S2ME2) Advanced Naval Technology Exercise (ANTX) 2017. (U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams/Released)

 

S2ME2 ANTX focused on five capability areas of amphibious operations: ship-to-shore maneuver; weapons fire support and effects; clearing assault lanes; command and control; and information warfare. Demonstrated technologies included unmanned and autonomous vehicles equipped with sensors to gather intelligence in the air, on land and underwater.

During each amphibious beach demonstration, unmanned surface and underwater vehicles approached the shore first, collecting intelligence about battlespace conditions-including threats and obstacles-providing an accurate picture of what warfighters would face when leaving their vessels and vehicles.

Autonomy

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sep. 30, 2016) An unmanned rigid-hull inflatable boat operates autonomously during an Office of Naval Research (ONR)-sponsored demonstration of swarmboat technology held at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story. During the demonstration four boats, using an ONR-sponsored system called CARACaS (Control Architecture for Robotic Agent Command Sensing), operated autonomously during various scenarios designed to identify, trail or track a target of interest. (U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams/Released)
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sep. 30, 2016) An unmanned rigid-hull inflatable boat operates autonomously during an Office of Naval Research (ONR)-sponsored demonstration of swarmboat technology held at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story. During the demonstration four boats, using an ONR-sponsored system called CARACaS (Control Architecture for Robotic Agent Command Sensing), operated autonomously during various scenarios designed to identify, trail or track a target of interest. (U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams/Released)

 

Hardly a day goes by without a news story that shows driverless cars, UAVs delivering holiday packages, or other uses of autonomy in modern life.

Many of these capabilities are possible because of ONR investments in autonomy. The ability for unmanned systems to take on dull, dirty or dangerous tasks has been a priority for ONR engineers. The Office of Naval Research recently developed a hardware and software suite and put it on swarms of unmanned small boats. Once equipped with the autonomy package – called the Control Architecture for Robotic Agent Command and Sensing, or CARACaS – the boats could collaboratively communicate; detect an intruding vessel in their area of responsibility; approach it; determine whether or not the intruder was a threat; and convey the information to the Sailors on a manned vessel outside the patrol zone. Think safer mine clearance, delivery of supplies in hot zones, ship escort and more.

Virtual Reality

SAN DIEGO (Sept. 14, 2015) Lt. Jeff Kee explores the Office of Naval Research (ONR)-sponsored Battlespace Exploitation of Mixed Reality (BEMR) lab located at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific. BEMR is designed to showcase and demonstrate cutting edge low cost commercial mixed reality, virtual reality and augmented reality technologies and to provide a facility where warfighters, researchers, government, industry and academia can collaborate. (U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams/Released)
SAN DIEGO, California (Sep. 14, 2015) Lt. Jeff Kee explores the Office of Naval Research (ONR)-sponsored Battlespace Exploitation of Mixed Reality (BEMR) lab located at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific. BEMR is designed to showcase and demonstrate cutting edge low cost commercial mixed reality, virtual reality and augmented reality technologies and to provide a facility where warfighters, researchers, government, industry and academia can collaborate. (U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams/Released)

 

When you think “virtual reality,” you may imagine Tony Stark from the “Iron Man” movies, hands raised and moving virtual displays in the air.

Well, Navy engineers are working hard to bring that to life. The Battlespace Exploitation of Mixed Reality (BEMR) Lab features a host of advanced virtual reality capabilities that will help warfighters train and operate in the future. ONR’s Jim Blesse recalls the moment of inspiration. “Someone came in and told us his two-year-old had a tantrum that morning because the television screen didn’t function the way his tablet did. A two-year-old! We looked at each other and said ‘Wow. What is that kid going to expect from technology when he’s 18? We need to envision that, now.'” ONR sponsored the BEMR Lab at SPAWAR Pacific to develop virtual reality technologies that are already impacting how the future force trains. (You can even get real-life dizzy looking down from the virtual crow’s nest.)

 

 

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2018/01/02/from-science-fiction-to-reality-u-s-navy-technology-and-innovation/ U.S. Navy

5 Things to Know about the U.S. Naval Observatory

The U.S. Naval Observatory continues to be the leading authority in the United States for astronomical and timing data required for such purposes as navigation at sea, on land, and in space, as well as for civil affairs and legal matters.

The main building of the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., April 26, 2017. Completed in 1893, the building, designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt, houses the observatory's administrative department and is the headquarters of the Oceanographer and Navigator of the Navy. (U.S. Navy photo by Geoff Chester/Released)
The main building of the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., April 26, 2017. Completed in 1893, the building, designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt, houses the observatory’s administrative department and is the headquarters of the Oceanographer and Navigator of the Navy. (U.S. Navy photo by Geoff Chester/Released)

On this International Astronomy Day, here are 5 things to know about the observatory:

  1. The United States Naval Observatory (USNO) provides astronomical data that is critical for Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT), a mission essential for the accurate navigation and communication of naval and DoD assets. The Naval Observatory, originally known as the Depot of Charts and Instruments, has been in operation since 1830.
  2. Astronomical observations are used extensively to prepare the Naval Observatory’s annual astronomical, nautical and air almanacs. The almanacs are essential for celestial navigation, which is currently the only viable alternative to GPS-based navigation in situations where GPS service is compromised.
  3. Today, the Naval Observatory is recognized around the world as the foremost authority in determining and disseminating the spatial and temporal reference frames that enable much of today’s digital technology and precision navigation.
  4. Nightly observations made at the Naval Observatory’s Flagstaff Arizona Station (NOFS) provide precise positions of planetary satellites, asteroids and other small solar system bodies. These observations are used extensively to navigate interplanetary spacecraft.
    The main building of the U.S. Naval Observatory's Flagstaff, Arizona Station (NOFS). It houses the observatory's largest telescope, the 1.55-meter Kaj Strand Astrometric Telescope. (U.S. Navy photo by Geoff Chester/Released)
    The main building of the U.S. Naval Observatory’s Flagstaff, Arizona Station (NOFS). It houses the observatory’s largest telescope, the 1.55-meter Kaj Strand Astrometric Telescope. (U.S. Navy photo by Geoff Chester/Released)
  1. Some of USNO’s contributions to current astronomical research and applications are below:

    Star Catalogs:
    USNO produces a variety of star catalogs for various applications. Its CCD Astrograph Catalog (UCAC) series provides precise positions, proper motions, and parallaxes of millions of stars in the visible part of the spectrum. The follow-on Robotic Astrometric Telescope Catalog (URAT, currently nearing completion) extends the UCAC’s capabilities to much fainter stars and provides the highest positional precision available in a ground-based catalog. These catalogs are important for Space Situational Awareness and are used to detect, identify and track unknown objects in Low Earth Orbit as well as Near Earth Asteroids and Potentially Hazardous Asteroids.  The Washington Double Star Catalog is a compiled catalog of long-term observations of double star systems, which make up the vast majority of visible stars. These observations are vital to the navigation of certain space-based assets such as geostationary satellites.Very Long Baseline Interferometry Catalogs: In collaboration with a number of radio observatories around the world, USNO collects and maintains data gathered through a technique for arraying widely-scattered radio telescopes known as Very Long Baseline Interferometry. Observations of thousands of extremely remote celestial radio sources known as “quasars” creates a fundamental reference frame against which all other objects in the universe can be measured. Using these data the motions of objects within our solar system, local star association, the Milky Way galaxy, and our parent galaxy cluster can be precisely determined. In addition, the instantaneous speed of Earth’s rotation, the precise angle of the planet’s rotational pole and other geophysical parameters can be precisely measured in near real-time.

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2017/04/29/5-things-to-know-about-the-u-s-naval-observatory/ U.S. Navy

5 Things to Know about the U.S. Naval Observatory

The U.S. Naval Observatory continues to be the leading authority in the United States for astronomical and timing data required for such purposes as navigation at sea, on land, and in space, as well as for civil affairs and legal matters.

The main building of the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., April 26, 2017. Completed in 1893, the building, designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt, houses the observatory's administrative department and is the headquarters of the Oceanographer and Navigator of the Navy. (U.S. Navy photo by Geoff Chester/Released)
The main building of the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., April 26, 2017. Completed in 1893, the building, designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt, houses the observatory’s administrative department and is the headquarters of the Oceanographer and Navigator of the Navy. (U.S. Navy photo by Geoff Chester/Released)

On this International Astronomy Day, here are 5 things to know about the observatory:

  1. The United States Naval Observatory (USNO) provides astronomical data that is critical for Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT), a mission essential for the accurate navigation and communication of naval and DoD assets. The Naval Observatory, originally known as the Depot of Charts and Instruments, has been in operation since 1830.
  2. Astronomical observations are used extensively to prepare the Naval Observatory’s annual astronomical, nautical and air almanacs. The almanacs are essential for celestial navigation, which is currently the only viable alternative to GPS-based navigation in situations where GPS service is compromised.
  3. Today, the Naval Observatory is recognized around the world as the foremost authority in determining and disseminating the spatial and temporal reference frames that enable much of today’s digital technology and precision navigation.
  4. Nightly observations made at the Naval Observatory’s Flagstaff Arizona Station (NOFS) provide precise positions of planetary satellites, asteroids and other small solar system bodies. These observations are used extensively to navigate interplanetary spacecraft.
    The main building of the U.S. Naval Observatory's Flagstaff, Arizona Station (NOFS). It houses the observatory's largest telescope, the 1.55-meter Kaj Strand Astrometric Telescope. (U.S. Navy photo by Geoff Chester/Released)
    The main building of the U.S. Naval Observatory’s Flagstaff, Arizona Station (NOFS). It houses the observatory’s largest telescope, the 1.55-meter Kaj Strand Astrometric Telescope. (U.S. Navy photo by Geoff Chester/Released)
  1. Some of USNO’s contributions to current astronomical research and applications are below:

    Star Catalogs:
    USNO produces a variety of star catalogs for various applications. Its CCD Astrograph Catalog (UCAC) series provides precise positions, proper motions, and parallaxes of millions of stars in the visible part of the spectrum. The follow-on Robotic Astrometric Telescope Catalog (URAT, currently nearing completion) extends the UCAC’s capabilities to much fainter stars and provides the highest positional precision available in a ground-based catalog. These catalogs are important for Space Situational Awareness and are used to detect, identify and track unknown objects in Low Earth Orbit as well as Near Earth Asteroids and Potentially Hazardous Asteroids.  The Washington Double Star Catalog is a compiled catalog of long-term observations of double star systems, which make up the vast majority of visible stars. These observations are vital to the navigation of certain space-based assets such as geostationary satellites.Very Long Baseline Interferometry Catalogs: In collaboration with a number of radio observatories around the world, USNO collects and maintains data gathered through a technique for arraying widely-scattered radio telescopes known as Very Long Baseline Interferometry. Observations of thousands of extremely remote celestial radio sources known as “quasars” creates a fundamental reference frame against which all other objects in the universe can be measured. Using these data the motions of objects within our solar system, local star association, the Milky Way galaxy, and our parent galaxy cluster can be precisely determined. In addition, the instantaneous speed of Earth’s rotation, the precise angle of the planet’s rotational pole and other geophysical parameters can be precisely measured in near real-time.

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2017/04/29/5-things-to-know-about-the-u-s-naval-observatory/ U.S. Navy

Underway for Science

MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Feb. 21, 2017) The aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) transits the Mediterranean Sea in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Daniel Gaither/Released)
MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Feb. 21, 2017) The aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) transits the Mediterranean Sea in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Daniel Gaither/Released)

By Dr. Marcus Tepaske
U.S. Fleet Forces Science Advisor

I’m aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77) in a region of the world that isn’t a popular vacation destination for many Americans. The Sailors of the GHWB Strike Group, however, are here willingly, ready to put themselves in harm’s way to do their part to defend our way of life and uphold freedom around the globe.

I’m the U.S. Fleet Forces science advisor, sponsored by the Office of Naval Research Global. My fellow science advisors and I are the chief of naval research’s liaisons to the fleet. We work side by side with Sailors and Marines to identify operational deficiencies that science and technology can address. Then we develop and mature solutions, and get new gear into the hands of those who would use the technology, a process that sometimes requires that we go into the field or get underway.

Which brings me to why I’m steaming off the coast of a foreign land on 104,772 tons of American diplomacy: after the scientists, engineers and program managers have conducted their research and developed new capabilities, one of the final steps of science and technology development is to demonstrate and assess those new capabilities in an operational environment – and what better environment than aboard an aircraft carrier operating at sea?

One of the systems I’m evaluating is a 360-degree Electro-Optic and Infra Red situational awareness system that combines multiple camera systems and other advanced sensors to give maximum coverage around the ship, as well as the ability to see surface contacts beyond the horizon. The current version of this system represents more than 10 years of investment from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and its international branch, Office of Naval Research Global, as well as multiple operational assessments along the way, in order to mature the right system for the warfighter. Not only does the recent installation seek to provide a unique capability to the ship, it is also perfectly timed to provide input into the Navy’s capability-based assessments, which will shape future advances.

5TH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS (March 10, 2017) Sailors congregate on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) to view the Friendship Bridge as GHWB transits the Suez Canal. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michael B. Zingaro/Released)
5TH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS (March 10, 2017) Sailors congregate on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) to view the Friendship Bridge as GHWB transits the Suez Canal. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michael B. Zingaro/Released)

 

U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS (March 18, 2017) The aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) participates in a passing exercise with the Royal Danish navy frigate HDMS Peter Willemoes (F362) and the French Marine Nationale anti-air frigate FS Forbin (D620). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Daniel Gaither/Released)
U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS (March 18, 2017) The aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) participates in a passing exercise with the Royal Danish navy frigate HDMS Peter Willemoes (F362) and the French Marine Nationale anti-air frigate FS Forbin (D620). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Daniel Gaither/Released)

Implementation of this system has highlighted some of the challenges we face in our efforts to bring new technologies from the laboratory to the theater. While the capability is often great, we cannot fully understand our opportunities and constraints until systems are installed. That’s where the science advisors come in: to help evaluate a new technology – when Sailors are underway and operating – as well as to determine the challenges of deploying a system within the operating parameters of the ship, and to review methods of disseminating and sharing data.

Testing real-world applications of naval technologies at early stages of their development allows us to shorten the timelines for getting solutions to the fleet. In some cases, we might “fail fast,” which allows ONR to quickly recognize those areas that are no longer worth investing in and to adjust resources accordingly. With this approach, we can leverage the best concepts, techniques and technologies to accelerate our learning as individuals, teams and organizations.

While I’m conducting these assessments, I’m also getting an education from the Sailors on board. Learning firsthand about numerous shipboard systems, from flight ops to laundry services, greatly contributes to my ability to develop and advocate for new technologies for the fleet.

I’ve had the opportunity to engage with Sailors from petty officers to captains to hear what they have to say and to educate them about what ONR and ONR Global do, how we do it, and how it relates to the overall mission of the Navy. ONR puts tremendous value on fleet engagement, which is why it funds the science advisor program, putting someone at every Navy component command, TYCOM and warfare development center.

From large programs, like the electromagnetic rail gun, to smaller programs, like TechSolutions –which develops prototypes in response to Sailor submissions, ONR continually strives to make sure our warfighters will never be in a fair fight.

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2017/03/24/underway-for-science/ U.S. Navy

Navy Innovation, Silicon Valley Style

By Cmdr. Zachary Staples
Director, Naval Postgraduate School Center for Cyber Warfare

A diverse collective of nearly 150 of Silicon Valley’s best coders, hackers and all around cyber experts gathered June 24-26 at warehouse-turned-innovation hub Galvanize in the heart of San Francisco, California. Their charge was to hack into the code controlling the Naval Postgraduate School’s fleet of autonomous swarming drones.

Participants brainstorm their methods of attack during the 2016 Navy “#HackTheSky” hackathon, hosted by the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) and Navy Office of Strategy and Innovation, at Galvanize in San Francisco, California, June 24-26.The event brought together an array of hackers, cyber experts, Silicon Valley tech representatives, and data scientists to discover vulnerabilities in code for unmanned aerial vehicles developed at NPS. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Victoria Ochoa)

Participants brainstorm their methods of attack during the 2016 Navy “#HackTheSky” hackathon, hosted by the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) and Navy Office of Strategy and Innovation, at Galvanize in San Francisco, California, June 24-26.The event brought together an array of hackers, cyber experts, Silicon Valley tech representatives, and data scientists to discover vulnerabilities in code for unmanned aerial vehicles developed at NPS. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Victoria Ochoa)

 

Coined #HackTheSky, the event included three distinct events – an onsite hackathon, the Future of Autonomy Workshop, and a global crowd-sourced initiative to create a user experience and interface for a swarm commander. The event proved to achieve all we had hoped it would – improved control software and several steps forward on some innovative technology developed on a shoestring budget. But the event was about much more than simply improving technology, as important as that is.

Fundamentally, we are interested in ideas that protect our nation and influence adversaries through power in the information age.  #HackTheSky was an experiment to see if there are techniques within the Federal Acquisition Regulations that allow for software development at a pace significantly faster than we develop and acquire hardware. Moreover, a system with two speeds – one for software acquisition and one for hardware – is the model we must adopt to avoid strategic risk against an adversary that adopts software development speed as an organizing principle of their force.

#HackTheSky also was designed to increase diversity of our technological base. As a Navy, we are focused on increasing our cultural diversity because we understand that diverse teams address and solve problems with greater flexibility and creativity. However, we have limited our prime technology developers to a closed set of large contractors.

Participants brainstorm their methods of attack during the 2016 Navy “#HackTheSky” hackathon, hosted by the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) and Navy Office of Strategy and Innovation, at Galvanize in San Francisco, California, June 24-26.The event brought together an array of hackers, cyber experts, Silicon Valley tech representatives, and data scientists to discover vulnerabilities in code for unmanned aerial vehicles developed at NPS. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Victoria Ochoa)

Participants brainstorm their methods of attack during the 2016 Navy “#HackTheSky” hackathon, hosted by the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) and Navy Office of Strategy and Innovation, at Galvanize in San Francisco, California, June 24-26.The event brought together an array of hackers, cyber experts, Silicon Valley tech representatives, and data scientists to discover vulnerabilities in code for unmanned aerial vehicles developed at NPS. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Victoria Ochoa)

Although there is support for small business in the Federal Acquisition Regulations, we routinely see the same companies bidding on government work. More than 70 organizations registered for #HackTheSky, most of which had never worked with the government before. And our social media campaign reached more than 3.4 million impressions with a positive sentiment analysis around a very sensitive topic, military drones. This is a powerful statement about Silicon Valley’s best and brightest and their willingness to help us answer difficult questions in new ways.

In cybersecurity we used to say that, “Every company has been hacked, some just don’t know it yet!”  A more useful riff on this idea is that, “Every organization is a software and data company, some just don’t know it yet.”

As a Navy this is hard to accept because we love our ships, submarines and aircraft, but increasingly, the capabilities of our hardware are fully dependent on good software.  So we are truly a software “company” with all the risks and benefits that reality affords.

Fundamentally, there are hundreds of good software tools and security products that we will be able to buy from the commercial market, but we face an existential challenge against nation-state threats that drive unique military requirements. And of course, there are domains where we should not, and some where we cannot, use commercial solutions, either because they do not exist or we would need to differentiate our risk exposure. In those cases, we will simply need to have unique Department of the Navy solutions.

Ultimately, this three-day hackathon provided two key takeaways for both business and military leaders. First, we are a data driven organization and we need to understand our data rights, protections and streams. Second, we need to produce unique software that keeps pace with leading software companies. We do not have many examples of this being done well right now, but #HackTheSky foreshadowed some ways we might begin this effort.

Finally, #HackTheSky demonstrated that we cannot continue to advance autonomy and unmanned systems without a closely linked parallel effort to implement cyber security for those systems. We have invested in an innovative capability to conduct unmanned and autonomous research at the Naval Postgraduate School, but we should probably look at a similar vehicle for cyber experimentation to move the entire set of capabilities forward in concert.

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2016/07/08/navy-innovation-silicon-valley-style/ U.S. Navy