For Immediate Release: Feb. 24, 2021
By Warren Duffie Jr., Office of Naval Research
ARLINGTON, Va.—The Office of Naval Research Reserve Component saw its new commander sworn in Feb. 22—Capt. Michael Van Poots, a decorated submarine officer and naval engineer.
The change-of-command ceremony took place at ONR headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, but was streamed virtually to the wider ONR and U.S. Navy Reserve community, due to COVID-19 safety concerns.
Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Lorin C. Selby oversaw the ceremony.
“ONR’s Reserve Component is a uniquely qualified and mobilization-ready cadre of personnel with advanced scientific and technical skills, as well as experience in fleet operations and technical program management,” said Selby. “I’m confident Capt. Van Poots will further enhance the Reserve Component’s efforts in helping the Naval Research Enterprise discover and develop technological solutions for warfighters.”
ONR supports science efforts around the world, from basic and conceptual research to applied research and quick-turnaround technologies requested by Sailors and Marines. Established in 1946 by public law, ONR’s mission is to “plan, foster and encourage scientific research in recognition of its paramount importance as related to the maintenance of future naval power, and the preservation of national security.”
To carry out this mission, ONR relies heavily on the scientific and technical talent of its Reserve Component—or ONR-RC.
The ONR-RC comprises approximately 190 Navy Reservists from 15 units nationwide. Many of these individuals have advanced technical degrees in science and engineering disciplines, as well as deep operational experience in the fleet.
The ONR-RC supports ONR in many ways—including developing concepts of operations and integration plans for new and developing technologies; taking part in transition boards and assessments; participating in technology demonstrations and war-gaming exercises; and serving as military liaisons to allied nations.
“I’m honored to take command of the ONR-RC, which is one of the Navy’s most highly integrated, technically skilled reserve components,” said Van Poots. “I look forward to expanding its mission to provide strategic depth and operational relevance, in order to advance the fleet’s technical advantage.”
As ONR-RC commander, Van Poots leads all Reserve fleet engagement, research and acquisition transition support for the Naval Research Enterprise. Concurrently, he serves as the community manager for the Navy Reserve Science and Technology Program 38, a post command billet responsible for 15 units nationwide.
Van Poots holds a Bachelor of Science in engineering physics and a Master of Business Administration degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He earned a Ph.D in applied management and decision sciences from Walden University.
He takes the ONR-RC’s helm after previously serving as its deputy commander and chief of staff.
Van Poots succeeds Capt. Robert Mark, an accomplished naval aviator and acquisition officer.
During his tenure as ONR-RC commander, Mark strengthened the Component’s strategic mission and relevant operational capabilities. Efforts included augmenting combat and fleet commands with Reservists to rapidly integrate technology into theater; re-designing the ONR-RC to be warfighter-oriented; and better integrating the ONR-RC into the Navy Reserve’s administrative and readiness infrastructure.
Mark said the ONR-RC will be in excellent hands with Van Poots.
“I’ve worked with Capt. Van Poots for nearly a decade,” said Mark. “He’s been an excellent leader, and I look forward with great anticipation to where he will take the Reserve Component. Capt. Van Poots has an exceptional ability to frame challenges and capitalize on opportunities for success.”
Warren Duffie Jr. is a contractor for ONR Corporate Strategic Communications.
About the Office of Naval Research
The Department of the Navy’s 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, 55 countries, 634 institutions of higher learning and nonprofit institutions, and more than 960 industry partners. ONR, through its commands, including headquarters, ONR Global and the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., employs more than 3,800 people, comprising uniformed, civilian and contract personnel.