Focus Areas

Focus areas generally support one major customer in the Naval Research Enterprise, although there are exceptions. The Office of Naval Research Navy Reserve Component (ONR-RC) focus areas evolve in response to command priorities set forth by the chief of naval research, and are specific to ONR-RC. These focus areas are reviewed annually and adjusted if warranted. They should not be confused with the ONR/Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) focus areas.

To ensure ONR-RC concentrates on priority missions, each focus area is led by a focus area coordinator (FAC) who acts as the principal advocate for their project area within ONR-RC. FACs work closely with the ONR-RC assistant chief of staff for operations and the unit commanding officers. This combination forms a “matrix” organization and establishes an effective means of satisfying project requirements -- as determined by the customer -- by providing vision, enabling tasking, assigning resources, and reporting status.

Project Work Process

New projects are vetted by the responsible FAC, who contacts ONR Reserve members about opportunities through "calls for resources" made by broadcast email or during monthly program teleconferences. Interested Reservists will coordinate with the FAC for support. With agreement from the ONR/NRL/ONR Global sponsor, and the unit commanding officer, assignments are made and the project work begins. Project officers regularly provide progress reports as required to their sponsor and to ONR Reserve leadership.

ONR-RC supports science and technology efforts across 11 focus areas, including:

  1. Technology: Draws on the unique capabilities of ONR-RC personnel to support ONR's director of technology, specifically across the Innovative Naval Prototypes, SwampWorks, and TechSolutions program areas. Innovative Naval Prototypes (INPs) and SwampWorks are high-risk, high-payoff projects with the potential to transform areas of naval warfare.
  2. Research: Supports priority and applied research projects and enterprise efforts managed by ONR's director of research.
  3. Transition: Assists ONR with the evaluation of initiatives projected to transition to an operational environment, including:
    • Future Naval Capabilities (FNCs): Projects planned to transition to an acquisition program of record managed by a systems command (i.e., Naval Sea Systems Command, Naval Air Systems Command).
    • Joint Concept Technology Demonstrations (JCTDs): Joint projects with combatant commander sponsorship and Office of the Secretary of Defense funding to meet emergent operational requirements within four years; ONR participation in JCTDs can vary dramatically from supplying a small piece of technology to acting as the JCTD technical manager for the entire effort.
    • Rapid Technology Transition Program: Designed to identify commercially available technology with military applications that can be fielded within two years.
  4. International and Fleet/Force Science & Technology: Supports worldwide operations through:
    • Naval research science advisors on fleet and force commander staffs
    • The ONR Global Fleet/Force Division, which manages the science advisor program
    • ONR TechSolutions, which coordinates the delivery of technology solutions from the Naval Research Enterprise to fleet and force customers
    • ONR Global offices in London, Tokyo, Singapore, Chile, and the Czech Republic, which coordinate international scientific collaborations.
  5. Expeditionary and Irregular Warfare: Enhances the warfighting and force protection capabilities of operating forces in urban environments against nontraditional enemy forces; this requires close coordination with ONR's Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare and Combating Terrorism Department and the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory in Quantico.
  6. Information Dominance: Defined as "the effective understanding of anything associated with the global maritime environment that could adversely impact the security, safety, economy, or environment of the United States," this area works to increases awareness of the global maritime environment to enhance homeland security and the security of U.S. operating forces.
  7. Autonomy: Draws on the unique capabilities of ONR-RC personnel to assist in the development of unmanned vehicle technologies in close coordination with other focus areas, integrating support for projects within the scope of other ONR efforts o maximize use of ONR-RC personnel with unmanned vehicle expertise.
  8. Power and Energy: Targets increasing naval forces’ freedom of action through energy security and efficient power systems, increasing combat capability through high-energy and pulsed power systems, and providing the desired power where and when needed at the manned and unmanned platform, system, and personal levels.
  9. Education Outreach: Works closely with ONR's education programs manager and corporate communications. ONR is charged with managing science and technology education outreach programs for the Navy. Fostering an academic interest in naval-relevant science and engineering from middle school through post-doctoral levels is of great importance to ONR. These programs include the Naval High School Science Awards Program; regional, state and international science and engineering fairs; and the Junior Science and Humanities Symposia.  ONR provides judges, certificates and monetary awards to fairs and programs, along with qualified judges and presenters.
  10.  Joint: Supports coordination, collaboration and identification of science and technology synergies across the Department of Defense and other government agencies, such as the Air Force Research Laboratory.
  11.  Corporate Communications: Supports to the ONR communications office, using uniformed reservists as the public face of ONR at events such as tradeshows and conferences.

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