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spotlights-2018-01
31
JAN

Only one more day to submit nominations for the 2017 Annual SECNAV Innovation Awards. The awards program acknowledges top Naval Innovators by recognizing top DON individuals or teams making significant problem solving contributions in nine different areas. Nominations are due by Midnight tonight, 31 January 2018.

30
JAN

The Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command is the latest DoD organization to look to Other Transaction Authority as a work-around to the traditional acquisition system in p​ursuit of new cyber capabilities. SPAWAR plans to spend about $100 million though a forthcoming OTA structure it calls the Information Warfare Research Project (IWRP), according to a draft copy of the program announcement distributed to industry last week. Awards for specific projects could begin as soon as fall 2018. The proposed OTA would pay firms for prototype work across 14 different “technology areas,” among them: cyber warfare, cloud computing, data analytics, assured command and control, and embedded systems in the “Internet of Things.”


When the Defense Innovation Board first came into existence a year and a half ago, its chairman, Eric Schmidt, and his fellow panelists vowed that they would not be in the business of writing reports. There are enough federal advisory committees that do that sort of thing already, they reasoned. That abstention hasn’t lasted long, because Congress does not share the Silicon Valley-centric group’s distaste for voluminous, paper-based descriptions of problems and how to solve them. The DIB’s first official tasking from Capitol Hill, directed in this year’s Defense authorization bill, is spend the next year writing a report on one of the Defense Department’s thorniest problems: software acquisition.

29
Jan

Naval Postgraduate School’s Department of Defense ​analysis lecturer Kristen Tsolis, director of the university’s RoboDojo lab, demonstrates the proper use and functions of a laser cutter to NPS students and staff during Introduction to Laser Cutting and Engraving workshops. The workshop is just one of a full slate of workshops available to all students, faculty and staff through the innovative lab.


The Navy conducts a wide variety of training operations, some of which are dangerous, very expensive, or infrequently done. The Battlespace Exploitation and Mixed Reality (BEMR) Lab, based at the Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific (SSC Pacific) in San Diego, is using 360-degree videos to provide initial familiarization and virtual experience for these tasks that can significantly reduce the cost and risk.

25
Jan

The U.S. Naval War College’s Institute for Future Warfare Studies is partnering with CIMSEC to solicit articles putting forth concepts for warfare on and from the seabed as part of the larger maritime battle. While the broad matter of economics and sea lines of communications should drive a national and Navy interest in securing the seabed, the transformative nature of warfare on and from the seabed should capture the imagination and be of concern to the Navy.

24
Jan

Only one week remaining to submit nominations for the 2017 Annual SEC​NAV Innovation Awards. The awards program acknowledges top Naval Innovators by recognizing top DON individuals or teams making significant problem solving contributions in nine different areas. Nominations are due by 31 January 2018.


A new team of innovation pioneers is paving the way to process improvement at the Navy's four public shipyards. The Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Mobile Implementation Team (MIT) was formed as a way to share innovative products and solutions between the shipyards. Puget Sound Naval Shipyard's (PSNS) Susan Simms was working in process improvement when the opportunity arose for her to travel to the different shipyards and share innovations. "We have a lot of mechanics who have developed products or are coming up with ideas on how to improve at their respective shipyards," said Simms. "It's my job to work with these mechanics and bring them and their hard work to the other shipyards to share what innovations are available for them."


Whether it is excited electrons emitting photons in a lightbulb or the vibrational frequency of atoms in an atomic clock, quantum phenomena are simultaneously fundamental aspects of nature and the basis of current state-of-the-art and future technologies. This is particularly the case as sensor and device performance continue to improve and approach their fundamental limits. It is not lost on DARPA that controlling quantum phenomena is an increasingly important challenge in the realm of national defense. High-precision atomic clocks can enable timekeeping for navigation and communications with GPS-like performance even in GPS-denied environments. And computing based on quantum bits, or qubits, which can represent a one, a zero, or a coherent linear combination of one and zero, could open routes to new kinds of computation. But there’s a hitch. The performance and reliability of quantum sensors and devices is dependent on the length of time the underlying quantum states can remain coherent. If you wait long enough, interactions with the environment will make the state behave like a conventional classical system. In many cases, this time is significantly short. DARPA, with an eye on practical quantum devices and sensors in compact sizes, has set its sight on demonstrating protocols that can dramatically extend the longevity of the coherence of quantum systems.

23
Jan

Many times sailors ask why things must be done a certain way. Often, they’re convinced they know a more effective way. Sometimes, they’re right. The Innovation L​ab, better known as the iLab, gives sailors a chance to take those ideas and possibly turn them into reality. “We believe that [for] many of problems that sailors are experiencing right now, there are solutions,” said Lt. Cmdr. Chris Keithley, iLab’s military advisor. “Unfortunately, they’re nascent inside of the Sailors’ heads, and getting to the point of actually developing a prototype and testing that idea is rather difficult. What we do here is try to take in these ideas, show it to our staff here at [Submarine Force Pacific], and propose how we can proceed forward with it.”


Permanent change of station moves can be extremely stressful for service members – having to make new friends, learn a new area and even small things like find a new group at the gym to shoot hoops with, or a new partner for your tennis doubles game. One Marine, 1st Lt Jeremy Graves, has invented an app that makes finding people to play ball with easier.

18
Jan

The Marine Corps announce the 2d quarter FY-18 Commandants Innovation Challenge. The latest installment of quarterly innovation challenge is sponsored by the Marine Corps Rapid Capabilities Office (MCRCO) at the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory (MCWL). This challenge is focused on how the Marine Corps ​can man, train, or equip to perform the functions of MAGTF Information Environment Operations. Marines (active and reserve), Sailors, and government civilians from across the Marine Corps have the opportunity to participate by submitting ideas, commenting, and voting at: http://www.marines.mil/innovate until 20 February 2018. Submitted ideas will be carefully reviewed and winner(s) will be selected as well as noteworthy submissions identified. Challenge winners will be announced via MARADMIN, the website, and e-mail beginning 31 Mar 2018.


The Defense Innovation Board – a federal advisory committee encompassing experts in academia, technology and business – approved two recommendations today aimed at improving innovation in the Defense Department. The board, chaired by Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Alphabet Inc., met in a closed session at the Pentagon, and then in a public session in a separate location in Arlington, Virginia. In the open meeting, the board approved recommendations for DoD to create a new innovation, science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or I-STEM, career field and to establish a technology and innovation training program for the department’s senior leaders.


Most Sailors know it can be difficult to keep up with training while deployed, or even at home in a high optempo environment.Navy leaders know it too, and the chief of naval operations' Ready, Relevant Learning (RRL) initiative pledges to deliver training at the right time, in the right place and in the right format for today's Sailors. The Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD) is a key stakeholder in this effort.

17
Jan

There are only two weeks remaining to submit nominations for the 2017 Annual SECNAV Innovation Awards. The awards program acknowledges top Naval Innovators by recognizing top DON individuals or teams making significant problem solving contributions in nine different areas. Nominations are due by 31 January 2018.


An interdisciplinary team of scientists, including meteorologists from the Navy Research Laboratory's (NRL) Marine Meteorology Division, received the American Meteorological Society's (AMS) "Special Award," Jan. 10. The team received the award for providing an innovative suite of satellite passive microwave products to the global tropical cyclone community via a tailored website, enabling enhanced storm monitoring.


The Marine Corps Warfighting Lab / Futures Directorate identifies future challenges and opportunities, develops warfighting concepts, and uses wargames and experiments to comprehensively explore solutions and inform the combat development process. MD5 is the Department of Defense’s national security technology accelerator. MD5 provides a platform to cultivate the people and ideas necessary to build technology-based ventures that align national economic, security and social objectives for the good of the nation.The memorandum of agreement between the MCWL and MD5 is designed to support the Adaptive Threat Force Cadre to enhance future experimentation. MCWL has demonstrated that creative, predictive and relevant innovation occurs in an environment where Marine experimental forces are challenged by a realistic, thinking and adaptive threat force.

16
Jan

Forty innovative thinkers from the four military services gathered here last week for a class where they tested out new methods to solve problems in the Defense Department. Joshua Marcuse, executive director of the Defense Innovation Board, speaks to participants in a Defense Department-wide Innovative Corps boot camp in Washington, Jan. 12, 2018. Forty people from across the four military services took part in the weeklong course, in which they applied new ways of thinking to problem solving. "When you hit that barrier, I want you to figure out a way to push forward," Marcuse said Jan. 12, closing out the weeklong class. "When the going gets tough, you need to hang in there."


Reminder that NAVADMIN 309/17 encourages you ​to forward all your cutting edge readiness, cost savings, or improved safety ideas with the potential to provide significant benefit to the Navy, to navyAM@navy.mil by no later than 1 March 2018.

11
Jan

CSS Virginia, the former steam frigate Merrimack now an ironclad ram, steamed into Hampton Roads to attack the wooden-hulled Union warships blockading Norfolk. Commanded by Flag Officer Franklin Buchanan, the Confederate vessel quickly sank the USS Cumberland and Congress, then damaged Minnesota. Despite a barrage of fire by these warships and shore batteries, Union shots bounced harmlessly off the ironclad's sloped armor. The next morning Virginia sortied to finish off the Minnesota. From nearby a new vessel appeared, which one observer described as “a gigantic cheese box,” seemingly with “no sails, no wheels, no smokestack, no guns.” The USS Monitor was on the scene to intercept the Confederate ironclad.


DARPA’s Collaborative Operations in Denied Environment (CODE) program aims to extend the capability of the U.S. military’s existing unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) to conduct dynamic, long-distance engagements of highly mobile ground and maritime targets in contested or denied battlespaces. Multiple CODE-equipped unmanned aircraft would navigate to their destinations and find, track, identify, and engage targets under established rules of engagement—all under the supervision of a single human mission commander.

10
Jan

There are only three more weeks to submit nominations for the 2017 Annual SECNAV Innovation Awards. The awards program acknowledges top Naval Innovators by recognizing top DON individuals or teams making significant problem solving contributions in nine different areas. Nominations are due by 31 January 2018.


Defense officials want to go beyond radar or sonar to scan across large expanses of ocean by using thousands of small, low-cost floats to serve as a distributed sensor network — a camera-type network floating across the seas, always monitoring. This month, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which deals with the future of combat for the Department of Defense, will field proposals about how to accomplish that during the new Ocean of Things program.


Acquiring the naval combat capabilities needed in the future will require greater integration of all the Navy and Marine components, and commonality of systems, better man-machine integration and improved modeling and simulation to speed up fielding of new systems, the directors of surface and expeditionary warfare said Jan. 9.

09
Jan

In early 2016, the Office of Strategy and Innovation (S&I) was approached by 1st Marine Logistics Group, 1st Maintenance Battalion’s Marine Corps Expeditionary Manufacturing (EXMAN) for seed funding for its Mobile Test Bed Initiative. The objective was to design, build, and test an Advanced Manufacturing (i.e. additive manufacturing / 3D printing and subtractive manufacturing / CNC milling or lathing) facility that would perform under actual operational conditions, and would be tested during the Marine Corps’ annual Exercise Steel Knight (SK-17). Original funding for the Concept Initiation Phase had been sponsored by Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) Headquarters, and now seed funding was needed to build a prototype for 1st Maintenance Battalion at Camp Pendleton in time to support the exercise.

08
JAN

Like any other organization, the Navy is not perfect. Many times Sailors ask why things must be done a certain way. Often, they are convinced they know a more ef​fective way. Sometimes, they are right. The Innovation Lab, better known as the iLab, gives Sailors a chance to take those ideas and possibly turn them into reality. Established in 2016, the iLab is located at the Naval Submarine Training Center Pacific. Although the room is small in size, it is jam-packed with the latest virtual and augmented reality technology. The iLab team also offers tours in hopes of inspiring Sailors to come up with and share ideas to improve the fleet.


Nanophotonic devices have direct applications for use in ultra-high resolution microscopes, solar energy harvesting, optical computing and targeted medical therapies. A team of physicists, headed by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), have demonstrated the means to improve the optical loss characteristics and transmission efficiency of hexagonal boron nitride devices, enabling very small lasers and nanoscale optics.

It's a new year and we thought we it would be fun to look back at our top five Articles from 2017...
05
JAN

Dr. Lucas Overbey is a research engineer in the Basic and Applied Sciences Competency at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SPAWARSYSCEN) Atlantic. He is the lead for the SPAWARSYSCEN Atlantic Analytics Research Center (ARC) and has been the principal investigator on multiple ongoing and previous data analytics projects.

As a leading data analytics innovator, Dr. Overbey has contributed greatly to basic and applied research and workforce development. Supported by the Naval Innovative Science and Engineering (NISE) program, he conceptualized and led the establishment of the SPAWARSYSCEN Atlantic ARC. The ARC is a collaborative Center of Excellence created with the goal of bringing together researchers from computer science, statistics, mathematics, psychology, sociology, and engineering disciplines to jointly write proposals, support and coordinate training in relevant subject areas, hold topical seminars, and allow members to present their current work for review and feedback by other ARC members.


EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – Master Chief Michael Lentz, Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal (NAVSCOLEOD) Training Technology Development (TTD) lead, spearheaded and has diligently advanced the Scalable Mobile Applications and Ready Training (SMART) pilot program, achieving significant milestones toward modernizing NAVSCOLEOD’s learning environment.

The SMART pilot was established in 2014 and vetted in 2015 as part of the Secretary of the Navy’s Task Force Innovation (TFI) program. The SMART team, led by Master Chief Lentz, is comprised of over 50 members/staff including joint service instructors, Information Technology (IT) leads, videographers, and other key catalysts that have transformed training by employing mobile, encrypted tablets and remotely accessible instructional videos and content.


UNITED STATES NAVAL ACADEMY, Annapolis, MD. – Apache Rya (incubating) is an open source database management system. Rya is one of the most advanced database projects underway in the Department of the Navy today. The latest naval application of Rya was recently highlighted in a CBS 60 Minutes episode on the new generation of drones. With its ability to store billions of linked information sets and return answers to most computer-based questions in under a second, Rya demonstrated an ability to support advanced tactical communications between Marine Captain Jim Pineiro and two autonomous robots and Navy Lt. Cdr. Rollie Wicks and a missile boat to accomplish a mission through manned-unmanned teaming. The joint manned-unmanned team accomplished portions of the mock naval Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition (RSTA) mission in multiple orders of magnitude faster with artificial intelligence and Rya than they would have without it. Efforts are underway to transition Rya as an embedded technology that can support autonomous swarms of smaller robots.


The U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) community completely transformed a 2012 Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD) Fastlane Initiative into the Navy's premier Mine Countermeasures (MCM) unit of action, the Expeditionary MCM (ExMCM) Company.

The success and speed of this truly groundbreaking initiative, including the fielding of the MK18 unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) family of systems and commercial remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), resulted in the delivery of effective and reliable operational MCM capability in the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility. Due to its many successes, global demand for this specialized capability continues to grow.


If someone told you that the technology underpinning the cryptocurrency Bitcoin will likely revolutionize much of the way we do business in the next ten years, you might shrug it off. I would like to tell you it’s just the beginning, and that it might also revolutionize Naval Additive Manufacturing, finance, and logistics writ large, and that’s only scratching the surface.

Blockchain quite simply is a “distributed database” shared through peer to peer connections in such a way that each block is a unique record that gets added to the end of the “chain.” The records are permanent and are unable to be modified. This bond creates trust between all the members of the chain and removes the need for third party mediators to handle transactions, or any other transfer of information. This “immutable trust” allows for the removal of members not providing value (formerly used as middle-men or brokers) and allows two or more parties to conduct transactions with complete trust. If you can imagine any transaction in your life that depended on trust between you and someone you did not know, you will immediately see the value in Blockchain.

04
Jan

In 2015, Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) contacted the Office of Strategy and Innovation (S&I) with a request for seed funding for a progra​m which would help the entire DoD, and other local, state and federal law enforcement agencies rapidly identify criminal threats, trends, and suspicious activities. The problem was that law enforcement analysts required a discovery and analysis tool to build and share work related, situational awareness concepts across the different types of data that was being collected. Due to the volume of information available, identifying specific threats can be a challenge. In other words, while the haystack of data was being freely shared, what NCIS was looking for was a metal detector to find the needle.

03
Jan

There are only four more weeks to su​bmit nominations for the 2017 Annual SECNAV Innovation Awards. The awards program acknowledges top Naval Innovators by recognizing top DON individuals or teams making significant problem solving contributions in nine different areas. Nominations are due by 31 January 2018.


Happy Belated 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.


The U.S. Navy resolves to maneuver successfully at sea and in the electromagnetic spectrum. The ability of the U.S. Navy to maneuver during combat will soon be as important in the airwaves as it is in the air and the waves. The sea service has designated information warfare a domain as critical as its more commonly known physical counterparts, and the capacity to exploit and operate within it may hold the key to prevailing in future maritime conflicts. In addressing concerns about electronic warfare (EW), the Navy focuses on electromagnetic maneuver warfare, or EMW. “What we have done as a Navy is taken electronic warfare and expanded it beyond the traditional thoughts of EW to also account for maneuver across the spectrum,” states Vice Adm. Jan Tighe, USN, deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare (IW) and director of naval intelligence (N2N6).

02
Jan

Back in 2015, the leadership and staff at Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal (NAVSCOLEOD) envisioned a schoolhouse that could leverage smart devices, employ a cloud environment to host online classrooms, and transit across mesh networks using modernized education techniques. They further imagined online classrooms which hosted individual study apps, virtual laboratories, gaming, and ocular immersion technologies. They visualized mesh networks which reduced time required of instructors "off the podium" and enabled electronic grade books, programmable data analysis, advanced analytic capabilities, electronic feedback reporting, and much more. ​They also foresaw tailoring education and technical training methods for a tech-savvy generation accustomed to immediate information access.


The Navy is actively seeking ideas from the Fleet to create innovative solutions to materiel problems. Additive Manufacturing (AM), often referred to as 3-Dimensional (3-D) printing, can enable those solutions. AM is the process of making a 3-D object of virtually any shape from a digital model by adding successive layers of material. It includes a diverse set of processes and materials such as plastics, composites, metals and others.

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