Story by Nathanael T. Miller on 09/05/2019The Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division, Keyport participated in the launch of Tech Bridges, an initiative by the Naval Expeditions Office (NavalX) to facilitate better connections, communication and collaboration between the Navy and the private sector Sept. 3.
Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development, & Acquisition) James Geurts officially launched the Tech Bridges initiative during a Washington DC press conference with each of the first five locations represented with their local press via video conference.
"My sense was that, while we had great innovation going on in pockets of the Navy, we were not as well-connected as we could be," said Geurts. "We were, in many cases, not leveraging our ability to learn from each other at the speed we need to be relevant."
Geurts said there were challenges in connecting the warfighters in the fleet with the resources that might help them swiftly develop solutions to the problems they encounter. To counter this trend, Geurts said NavalX is standing up five "Tech Bridge" locations to create a culture of collaboration and integrate the various facets of naval development in order to speed communication.
The first five centers are at Newport, Rhode Island; Keyport, Washington; San Diego, California; Orlando, Florida and Crane, Indiana. All five are centers of naval research and development already, and are poised to provide a unique level of communication and collaboration between different parts of the Navy and the private sector.
Geurts stressed the Tech Bridges concept is not a one-size-fits-all approach.
"Think of it as a franchise model," said Geurts. "Each of these has their own flavor, focus, areas of emphasis and ways of operating, but they do so with a standard of performance and expectations. We, then, can take these Tech Bridges and leverage many big programs we have across the Navy. We get a multiplier effect."
Capt. Jon. H. Moretty, Commanding Officer of NUWC Division, Keyport, said the warfare centers that are part of the initial five Tech Bridge centers offer unique capabilities.
"We have science and technology authority in order to promote our ideas out there. It's a fascinating concept," Moretty said. "This will allow us to find solutions to difficult problems because we have the interaction between academia, business and the military. By having it we get a diversity of ideas, so we can answer customer's problems just by increasing the collisions' of people with disparate backgrounds."
Moretty said Tech Bridge also provides NUWC Division, Keyport greater opportunities to impact not only the Navy, but the local community through stronger and more efficient relationships.
"Most importantly for Keyport and the Kitsap Peninsula is that it enables us to possibly contribute to economic development locally," said Moretty. "This helps us to develop a local network going forward. The more people we can connect with, the stronger our community and Navy will be in solving Department of Navy challenges locally."