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Spotlights on Innovation

March 2018


University of Virginia professors and students – teaming up with Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) engineers and scientists through the Naval Engineering Education Consortium (NEEC) – are developing a better understanding of the capabilities and limitations of additive manufacturing (3D printing) and their teamwork is positively impacting Navy programs.

Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SSC) Atlantic served as the site of a March 14, bi-county DimensionU competition which pitted more than 70 students from eight local middle schools against each other as they tested their math and science skills in online, multi-player educational video games. The students took part in the competition under the watchful eyes of SSC Atlantic volunteers and mentors. Winners from each grade in the competition earned a “golden ticket” and will return April 19 to compete against Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy teams in the 2018 Department of Defense Math Games Virtual Tournament.

The Marine Corps is a step closer to getting a large unmanned aircraft that can launch from ships, fly a radius of up to 700 nautical miles with a full payload, escort the MV-22 Osprey and other platforms, network with other manned platforms, and provide offensive air support, including targeting and strike. This incredible unmanned aerial system is known as MUX, for Marine Air Ground Task Force Unmanned Aircraft System-Expeditionary.


By ARL Public Affairs - March 14, 2018
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- U.S. Army Research Laboratory scientists have discovered a way to leverage emerging brain-like computer architectures for an age-old number-theoretic problem known as integer factorization. By mimicking the brain functions of mammals in computing, Army scientists are opening up a new solution space that moves away from traditional computing architectures and towards devices that are able to operate within extreme size-, weight-, and power-constrained environments.

By OTTO KREISHER, Seapower Correspondent
​QUANTICO, Va. — Widely separated small units of Marines conducting distributed operations and requiring immediate resupply could summon streams of unmanned aerial vehicles to deliver the needed material with a few touches on hand-held tablets under an experimental system demonstrated here March 14.


Registration is now open for the DON IT Conference, East Coast 2018, scheduled for April 23-25, 2018, at the Hilton Norfolk The Main in Norfolk, Virginia. No conference fee will be assessed, but registration is required. DON IT Conferences are typically held in fleet concentration areas on the West Coast and East Coast each year to minimize cross-country travel by participants.

It’s not quite a lightsaber, but the sheet metal mechanics who operate Fleet Readiness Center Southeast’s new fiber laser cutting machine are well on their way to becoming the Jedi of their trade. The laser cutter gives the Navy aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul facility an efficient additional way to cut thin metals, like aluminum, that make up such a large part of its workload. “Ninety-percent of what we cut is aluminum,” said sheet metal mechanic John Montgomery. “But it can also cut cold-rolled steel, stainless steel and titanium.”


A team of four engineers from the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) Lakehurst enhanced additive manufacturing (AM) capabilities at the Lakehurst side of base through their research into using a new type of metal-based powder to 3D print composite aircraft parts. “Team INCANTATION” conducted research and testing through the six-month Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Innovation Challenge to determine if composite metal powders could be used in the AM process, more commonly known as 3D printing.

LT Carl Governale, Naval Special Warfare Innovation Directorate, speaks about autonomous drones and how NSW special operation forces train with them to leverage battle space superiority while reducing risk to SOF personnel.


After more than a year of discussion and speculation, it's o​fficial: the Marines have a brand-new set of military occupational specialties for cyberwarfare Marines. The service announced the creation of the 17XX MOS community Monday, calling it part of a larger effort to establish cyber dominance on the battlefields of the future. The field will include seven new military occupational specialties, according to a Marine Corps administrative message released today. That range of MOSs creates positions for enlisted Marines, officers, and warrant officers, ensuring that troops can spend an entire career in the specialty.

Quantum computing and blockchain technology face similar obstacles when it comes to gaining acceptance in the federal government. Most leaders know they have potential, but practical experience is limited. Quantum computers are not yet advanced enough to crack encryption, but Department of Defense agencies can't wait until an attack occurs.


The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency will employ enhanced funding to discover technologies used to defend the homeland, bolster deterrence and aid service members engaged in counterterror and counterinsurgency fights, the agency’s director said here today. A man speaks to a reporter while surrounded by others. Steven H. Walker, center, the director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, speaks with a reporter after a discussion with the Defense Writers’ Group in Washington. Walker said the agency is being true to its roots in examining technologies and giving DoD options. DoD photo by Jim Garamone Speaking with the Defense Writers’ Group, Steven H. Walker said his agency is working on artificial intelligence projects, hypersonic technologies, promising biological technologies and advanced electronics, among other technologies.

The National Training and Simulation Association (NTSA) recognized scientists from Naval Health Research Center (NHRC) with the Outstanding Achievement in Modeling and Simulation (Cross-Function) award Dec. 1. NHRC's Physiological and Cognitive Operational Research Environment (PhyCORE) team was honored for their work in expanding a virtual reality walking and balance-based rehabilitation tool for injured warfighters into one now capable of promoting injury prevention and resilience. "This award is well deserved," said Capt. Rita Simmons, commanding officer of NHRC. "The PhyCORE team embodies the professionalism, expertise and collaborative spirit that can be found in each of our researchers. This recognition also spotlights the type of innovative work that goes on every day at NHRC and how we are uniquely positioned with cutting-edge tools and seasoned experts to do some exciting and ground-breaking work."

Navy Undersecretary Thomas Modly believes the key to implementing the new national defense strategy, not to mention prevailing in any future conflicts, is agility. “In a word, I believe the National Defense Strategy calls for a Navy and Marine Corps team in which agility is the defining characteristic,” Modly said at a Feb. 23 AFCEA lunch. “It is a term which describes the overall organizational quality that has determined and will determine who and what survives in any increasingly complex, competitive, rapidly changing and unpredictable environment. This is the environment we face today, so I think we will ultimately be judged on how well we transition our forces and our supporting organizations … to a future in which agility is the defining characteristic.”

Starting this spring, the Navy plans to begin testing a concept that might eventually transform the way data is moved to and from its afloat vessels, the way its sailors use that data to operate underway and the way it develops new applications. Among other things, the approach could let the Navy deploy new software capabilities in under 24 hours, not the 18 month timeframe that’s commonplace today. The pilot,​ called “Compile to combat in 24 hours,” will be based on web services and a new cloud architecture the Navy is testing, including a “micro cloud” aboard the vessel and a more robust commercial cloud ashore equipped with machine learning capabilities that can help “stage” and pre-package data before it’s synchronized with the ship.

The future of naval aviation is complex: aircraft are growing more technologically advanced, pilots face a proliferation of high-end and low-end threats, military budgets are squeezed and demand for U.S. Navy forces around the globe is growing. So how will naval aviation training keep up? In part, with increasingly sophisticated simulators. The Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center at NAS Fallon is undergoing a massive modernization effort to improve air warfare training, and much of the modernization revolves around the use of Live, Virtual and Constructive (LVC) training opportunities.


Students at the Defense Language Institute (DLI) are taking charge of their foreign language education under the guidance of a former subsurface engineering officer assigned to Information Warfare Training Command (IWTC) Monterey. Lt. Tony Le redesignated to the Navy's Foreign Area Officer (FAO) career field and is now studying Arabic at the DLI alongside new enlisted recruits from all military branches. Despite the differences between the fields, Le has managed to take process improvement skills from the submarine world and apply them to the foreign language classroom. "When I was an engineer, I worked in a unit that was charged with figuring out how to make items user friendly and more intuitive," said Le. "One time we actually took the cumbersome design of an old-school periscope and replaced it with an off-the-shelf Xbox controller. This planning concept is no different."

Headquarters Marine Corps, Deputy Commandant, Installations and Logistics Department in partnership with the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), conducted the first Hybrid Logistics Symposium Feb. 26 – Mar. 1, 2018. More than 100 Marines and Sailors, junior enlisted and officers, along with civilian Marines, joined UCSD students to discuss concepts and equipment that will support the Marine logistical community in achieving success into the year 2025 and beyond. In a release announcing the conference, Lt. Gen. Michael Dana, Deputy Commandant for Installations said, “Moving toward a Hybrid Logistics model will require a logistics community that questions conventional wisdom, without ignoring the realities of the modern battlefield.”

Part of the Office of Naval Research’s efforts in command, control, communications and computers is to provide key analytical tools to planners, analysts and commanders swamped by data. To that end, the office, known as the ONR, is conducting basic and applied research in applications that will cut maneuver planning time, expand access to data, enhance analytical processing and improve predictions. The tools are meant to improve decision making across antisubmarine warfare, integrated air and missile defense, electromagnetic maneuver warfare, and expeditionary and integrated fires missions.


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