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The Secretary of Defense and all of the Service Chiefs have identified military innovation as a critical requirement in the face of increasingly innovative state and non-state adversaries. Military innovation is the adoption of new technologies and practices in all aspects of the military including manning, training, equipping the force, and combat operations. Military innovation emerges from the actions of individuals at all ranks responding to opportunities and contingencies and is rarely driven by top-down initiatives. We aim to evaluate innovative emerging technologies through research and student theses. We aim to teach our students how to be innovation leaders who can support the rapidly changing requirements of the Navy-Marine Corps team, the Joint Force, and the broader Department of Defense.


Action H1.1—Streamline the processes for working with industry and other academic institutions.

The current process for establishing cooperative research programs with industry and other academic institutions is slow and cumbersome, mostly because of Intellectual Property rules. We will focus on establishing common written rules for government and private intellectual property and other process improvements that enable Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) to be enacted within reasonable times. We will also seek authority for entering into other types of agreements with industry that might be more efficient or broader than permitted under CRADAs. We will investigate ways to create joint institutes or other entities through which NPS can partner with industry on key defense-related areas including cyber operations and data sciences.


Action H1.2—Upgrade education programs that cultivate innovation leaders.

Innovation leaders find new ideas and see them through to adoption as practice in their communities, coping skillfully with resistance and unexpected contingencies along the way. We will promote and advance existing courses and workshops that support the full spectrum from design thinking (focus on ideation) to innovation leadership (focus on adoption). We will make new offers in design and leadership through our resident, distance learning, and short-course programs. Cultivating innovation leaders does not end after a student graduates; the Center for Executive Education already offers short courses on innovation, which will be complemented by short courses offered off-site.


Action H1.3—Establish an Innovation Fellows Program.

This will involve a close partnership with organizations such as the Navy Innovation Advisory Council and the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental. Informal efforts to create such partnerships have already succeeded in generating new opportunities for students and faculty. Innovation Fellows would leverage the geographic proximity of NPS to Silicon Valley and facilitate student-faculty participation with potential governmental and industry partners in projects, internships, and field experimentation. The Innovation Fellows Program will enhance NPS’s ability to take students out of the classroom to see how they can use emerging technologies to solve real problems with together with partners.


Action H1.4—Institutionalize the Big Ideas Exchange (BIX).

The BIX spotlights big, transformative ideas faculty and students are developing for the military and defense community. We will host two BIX events annually and leverage our Public Affairs Office, the Institutional Advancement Office, and external partners to connect the work at NPS to our broader Navy, Marine Corps and Department of Defense stakeholders. We will organize an annual “Discover NPS” day that includes lab tours, presentations of big ideas, youth tournaments, hackathons, and a major public presentation by a national innovation leader. We will promote the Naval Research Working Group, which annually brings together topic sponsors from across the Navy, Marine Corps, and Department of Defense. Using the Human Systems Integration research group as a model, we will reach out to Navy and Marine Corps organizations and promote innovative technologies and practices for their adoption.



Talent Management


The capabilities of our people have been, and will always be, a critical element of warfighting. The growing complexity of the technologies our warfighters use, the diverse locations in which we conduct military operations, the emergence of non-state adversaries, and the expansion of joint military operations all make increasing demands on the education we deliver. We need to anticipate the specialties that will be essential in the years ahead and prepare the workforce. We need to enable our graduates to think, navigate, and lead in a world of accelerating technologies, contingencies, and surprises. We need to design how we work to enable efficient performance.

NPS has critical expertise in talent management and performance that needs to be expanded and coordinated to meet these goals. Towards that end, we propose the following specific actions.


Action H2.1—Build more coherent programs in talent management.

NPS has a long history of conducting studies in the field of defense talent management. For the most part, these studies have focused on answering specific, relatively narrow questions for individual sponsors, but have not addressed longer-range strategic concerns in talent development. We will transition our current capabilities into a sustained education and research program that creates a broadly useful forecasting and analytic capability for recruitment, workforce maintenance, and retention. To do this, we will expand our working partnerships with holders of critical data, develop more general models of the talent management “pipeline” for military personnel in various roles, and, in concert with current and potential sponsors in Department of Defense, identify the most critical problems to which models should be applied.


Action H2.2—Optimize Human Performance.

NPS will expand its activities focused on optimizing human performance. Currently, NPS is a leader in understanding how sleep schedules affect performance. However, this work is just the beginning. NPS will develop further education and research in the field of human performance by investing in studies of how machine and humans interact; how physical performance can be advanced through wearable technology such as head-mounted displays and exoskeletons; and how biological, chemical and other technologies, such as implanted chips, might enhance military effectiveness.





There is a strong demand for increased education, research and training capacity around the ethics of war across NPS curricula as well as for the broader Navy and Department of Defense communities. A number of accelerating factors have changed the role of technology in warfare, including information technology, interconnectivity, and environment. For example, automated fire control systems appear essential to counter enemy threats, yet they must be sufficiently trustworthy for leaders to have confidence that no bug or glitch will start an unwanted war. Connectivity increases the range of coordination and awareness, but also increases the risk of mob behavior when enticing but false stories circulate. Grabbing resources from the global commons creates new risks of conflict in contested environments.


Action H3.1—Create a Center on the Ethics of War.

We propose to create a Center on the Ethics of War to:

  • significantly increase our capacity to provide ethics education to our students as well as extend that opportunity to the broader Department of Defense community;
  • produce top-tier academic research on the ethics of war;
  • propose policy changes, conduct ethical analyses and advise the Navy and Department of Defense; and
  • engage the broader society on military ethics issues, including ethical issues in acquisition and program management.

Once established, the Center on the Ethics of War will recruit a full-time ethics of war Research Professor and additional post-docs who will work to meet the demands for both in-house teaching at NPS and ethics education across the Navy and other military services. Additionally, a team will develop a program of ethics research, analy- sis and policy advisement needs for the Department of Defense.



Global Strategy


The strategic environment facing the United States comprises traditional military threats; evolving challenges on issues such as nuclear proliferation and global terrorism; and newer problems in areas such as cyber, climate, energy and space. These concerns collectively raise demands on existing alliances and increase the need for coalition building and combined operations across the globe. Addressing them effectively requires contextualized understanding of the unique challenges in specific regions of the world. We will expand our portfolio of interdisciplinary research and teaching to strengthen U.S. defense strategy, systems, and technology. We have been and will remain at the forefront of teaching and research in international security, with expertise spanning across regional operational theaters as well as specific functional security threats.


Action H4.1—Establish a strategy-related experience tour program.

Competitively selected faculty will work closely on-site with such partners as Combatant Commands, private sector companies and government agencies. The program will more closely link our faculty and students with operational, technological and policy concerns that might affect future U.S. strategies.


Action H4.2—Establish a Research Fellowship in Deterrence & Diplomacy.

One or two fellowship(s) will be offered annually for faculty and student teams to visit relevant bodies within the U.S. military and government dealing with deterrence and diplomacy issues. These tours and discussions would support faculty research and student theses. Organizations to be visited will include U.S. Strategic Command, Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy, and individual commands dealing with single-domain deterrence (Cyber Command, USAF Space Command, or others). The fellowship program would fund one trip per team and would support new proposals as well as ongoing projects.


Action H4.3—Foster cross-domain research.

NPS will introduce a cross-domain research program that invites teams of faculty from different departments to jointly propose research studies or short courses on some cross-domain issue such as space and cyber, maritime and space, or autonomous systems and warfighting. We will support this with an annual “Monterey Strategy Symposium” organized with regional partners.


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