Nickolas Guertin, left, is briefed by Cmdr. Nathan Hardy about earthquake recovery efforts at a naval warfare center. (DVDS)
On May 11, 2023, the Honorable Nickolas Guertin, Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E), will kick off the second day of the 20th Annual Acquisition Research Symposium, hosted by Naval Postgraduate School’s (NPS) Acquisition Research Program (ARP) and the Naval Warfare Studies Institute (NWSI). As one of two keynote speakers at the event, Guertin will set the stage for presentations to follow throughout the day, providing insights from his long career in the Navy, the Department of Defense, Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute, and his current role at DOT&E.
In September 2022, Guertin was nominated to serve as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition (ASN RDA), and he testified last month at his second confirmation hearing for the role with the Senate Armed Services Committee. Just this week, Guertin received the Wash100 Award for his leadership in mission systems development.
Guertin has presented multiple papers at the Acquisition Research Symposium over the years and even attended virtual happy hours during the Zoom-only versions of the Symposium held in 2021 and 2022. For 2023, we’re thrilled to welcome Guertin back to Monterey for an opportunity to speak and connect with other attendees in person.
Research presented at the Acquisition Research Symposium has an outsized ability to fuel innovation and to impact changes in defense acquisition programs, policies, and practices. Guertin himself has seen this impact play out with his own research. We asked him to share some thoughts on the value of presenting at this unique gathering of acquisition researchers, practitioners, leaders, and policymakers. His comments are below (edited slightly for clarity).
ARP: You’ve attended the Acquisition Research Symposium for many years. It looks like your first appearance was in 2010, with almost yearly appearances since then. What keeps you returning to the symposium?
Nick Guertin (bottom left) joins other attendees for virtual happy hour at the 18th Annual Acquisition Research Symposium in 2021.
ARP: You’ve presented research from a variety of roles, as a leader in the Department of Defense and a researcher at the Software Engineering Institute. What have you gotten out of the experience of presenting and of hearing what others are working on?
ARP: Has any of the research you presented at the symposium led to changes to acquisition policy or practice?
ARP: Is there anything else you’d like to share about how the symposium, the Acquisition Research Program, or Naval Postgraduate School has been valuable to you?
The 20th Annual Acquisition Research Symposium will be held May 10 and 11, 2023, as a free event open to the public. In addition to presenters who travel from across the country, numerous faculty and students from the Naval Postgraduate School attend as both presenters and attendees. This connection keeps NPS research and education integrated with the latest insights from the defense acquisition community. Register to join us in Monterey, California, or tune in to watch select panels on Zoom—including Guertin’s keynote address.
Learn more about the hosts of the symposium: Acquisition Research Program and the Naval Warfare Studies Institute.