For Immediate Release: Nov. 10, 2010
By Geoff Fein, ONR Corporate Strategic Communications
Arlington, Va.--The naval community must be able to steer investments toward the technologies that provide the greatest promise of benefit to Sailors and Marines, said the Navy's acquisition chief Nov. 10 at the 2010 Office of Naval Research (ONR) Partnership Conference.
"We need to sustain a healthy investment in science and technology and maintain a tolerance for failure," said Sean Stackley, assistant secretary of the Navy, research, development and acquisition on the third and final day of the collaboration conference.
"Breakthroughs in technology only occur about one in every hundred, or perhaps thousands, of initiatives. Often our S&T efforts bear little fruit," he told the more than 1,500 government, industry and academia representatives in attendance.
The effectiveness of the Navy's S&T enterprise relies upon the understanding of its highly unique requirements and the ability to target investments, he said.
Stackley also challenged industry to likewise target its internal research and development funds to meet the same objectives. "The Navy must also continue to leverage small business because it remains a centerpiece of the Navy's strategic plan for future developments," he said. When it comes to the advancement of S&T for naval warfare, Stackley told attendees the service must take a longer view.
The service's greatest achievements have arrived through the persistent development of technologies that are often highly unique to the Navy and Marine Corps, Stackley said, and which lend themselves to evolutionary application and integration with other systems.
He told the gathering that many of the advances ONR has been pursuing are showing positive results. For example, directed energy weapons, such as the electromagnetic railgun and high-powered lasers "appear quite promising," Stackley said.
"We look toward increasing autonomy, endurance and payload capacity of our unmanned systems, which provide our forces one of our truly great asymmetric advantages and promise to take on greater roles in the future force for both the Navy and Marine Corps," Stackley said.
Additionally, the Navy is looking to improve sensor capability and the lethality of weapon systems, he added.
"To do all this, we have to keep an eye on affordability, in particular as naval scientists and engineers," Stackley said, "we must keep in mind that the ultimate objective is ordnance on target and the platform that the Navy needs to deliver that ordnance on target will be a ship or aircraft."
"Since it takes a generation to build a fleet, we must recognize the importance of being able to introduce new technologies by way of evolution and integration into the existing fleet and naval air force," he added. "This [is even] more true when considering the constraints endured by the Marine Corps, where range and power are often limited by the weight a Marine can hoist on his back or in the rear of an armored vehicle."
About the Office of Naval Research
The Office of Naval Research provides the science and technology necessary to maintain the Navy and Marine Corps' technological advantage. Through its affiliates, ONR is a leader in science and technology with engagement in 50 states, 70 countries, 1,035 institutions of higher learning and 914 industry partners. ONR employs approximately 1,400 people, comprising uniformed, civilian and contract personnel, with additional employees at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C.