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DON Innovation NIAC Advisors Selected
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NIAC Advisors Selected


By DON Innovation
Published: 15 Apr 2016


ALNAV 12/16 formally established the Naval Innovation Advisory Council (NIAC). The NIAC is a dynamic new forum for the top Navy, Marine Corps and DON Civilian Innovators to advance problem-solving projects and to advise the Secretary of the Navy on innovation opportunities within the Department of the Navy.

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus recently selected four naval innovators as the initial cohort of the 2016 NIAC. The opening team of hand-selected military and civilian personnel will stand up the NIAC, and establish and validate its processes and policies. These Innovation Advisors will consider, develop, and accelerate concepts for presentation to the SECNAV and other DON senior leaders. The FY16 theme/focus area is "Exploiting Information as the Backbone of Innovation." The initial cohort of advisors are:

Ms. Elizabeth Haldeman. Ms. Haldeman is a senior program analyst with the Naval Supply Systems Command. Throughout her career Elizabeth successfully led efforts to reform existing policies in a variety of fields. Ms. Haldeman was instrumental in researching and developing policy recommendations for SECNAV which resulted in the Fair And Inclusive Review (FAIR) action memorandum. These changes to the personnel system are intended to ensure naval leaders help foster the culture of innovation across the naval services. Ms. Haldeman will continue to focus on initiatives to build a learning organization.

LCDR Drew Barker. LCDR Barker is a Naval Aviator with a long history of leading innovation events across the fleet. He is co-located with the Defense Innovation Unit (Experimental) (DIUx) in Silicon Valley, CA. LCDR Barker is assessing the efficacy of expanding the national ATHENA Network and other nodal elements of innovation to help enlarge the Naval Innovation Network. His work will also examine new ways to engage private industry and identify legal and policy barriers to innovation.

LCDR Rollie Wicks. LCDR Wicks is a nationally recognized expert in machine learning and artificial intelligence. He is currently developing a next-generation computer modeling language for semi-automated ontology construction, with potential application to autonomous systems, human resource IT transformation, automating assessment and authorization, and information-centric security technologies. LCDR Wicks will continue to advise senior DON leaders on opportunities where the “human on the loop” concept can be used to reform outmoded management practices.

LT Kristen Wheeler. LT Wheeler is a Surface Warfare Officer who led innovation and crowdsourcing challenges while assigned to the USS Iwo Jima. LT Wheeler is also co-located with DIUx and focuses on developing a curriculum which will introduce and sustain critical thinking skills and problem solving techniques through an entrepreneurial lens. LT Wheeler and LCDR Barker both played key leadership roles in making the first Innovation Jam a success.

This initial cohort will also complete a group project that will result in set of responsibly bold recommendations to the Secretary of the Navy. The NIAC will become a fully operational and enduring program in FY17, providing the ways and means to accelerate innovation within the DON. Additional details on the FY17 NIAC will be forthcoming in a separate ALNAV. For more information, contact the Office of Strategy and Innovation


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