Panelists: Speed of Innovation at NPS Meets Navy Needs for 21st Century Education and Research
Speed is a defining characteristic of the innovation our U.S. Navy and Marine Corps need, from faster risk assessment to more rapid adoption of advanced technology—and the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) is fostering this speed and agility through its graduate education, applied research, and collaboration processes that take “ideas to impact.”
- Those two points were repeated throughout the panel “Winning the Innovation Race,” moderated by NPS President Vice Adm. (ret.) Ann Rondeau at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space expo held April 5 and 6, 2023.
VADM Rondeau (center) on stage with VADM Jeff Hughes, Heidi Shyu, Lt Gen Matthew Glavy, and VADM Frank Morley (left to right).
As moderator, Rondeau pointed out that the areas of expertise represented by the four panelists charted a continuum spanning the lifecycle of fostering an innovative mindset tailored to defense needs:
- The Honorable Heidi Shyu, Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, is leading outreach to encourage education in defense-focused science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) that begins with kindergartners and continues to the Ph.D. level.
- Vice Adm. Jeff Hughes, USN, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfighting Development, N7, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, discussed the role of graduate education for naval professionals at NPS and other institutions in the Naval Education Enterprise.
- Gen. Matthew Glavy, USMC, Deputy Commandant for Information, illustrated how educated military professionals are key to implementing force design.
- Vice Adm. Frank Morley, USN, Principal Military Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development and Acquisition), explained how the Navy is working to deliver mature, innovative technologies to the Fleet.
Why it matters: The pace of technological change demands warfighters who can pivot mentally and strategically, informed with the latest knowledge, skills, and abilities to make real-time assessments in line with national security imperatives. NPS provides that context and capability, as both Glavy and Hughes noted.
“NPS has been the secret of success to how fast the Marine Corps Commandant can move on Force Design 2030,” said Glavy.
- Glavy cited examples in cyber operations and cloud migration as times when NPS grads understood how to take capabilities to the next level of relevance–and achieved the goal “without drama.”
A value proposition for education and learning: Hughes argued that the Navy needs strategic thinkers and creative problem solvers who can “deal with uncertainty at machine speed.”
- Research has the same need for speed, Hughes said, and needs to “drive to solutions faster.”
To make this happen, curriculum and research need to be aligned to deliver outcomes relevant for Navy, naval, and joint forces. One way to do that:
- Tie research to the DOD’s 14 critical technology areas and joint capabilities. “We can’t afford to do education for purely academic purposes or put research on the shelf.”
Both Shyu and Morley discussed developing and deploying new technologies to the warfighters and in line with the latest joint warfighting concept, efforts that require close collaboration with industry partners to understand the latest capabilities and their potential defense applications.
CRADAs are a catalyst: Hughes and Rondeau reflected on how NPS is leading with recent industry partnerships through Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs).
- Hughes noted that NPS relationships with Microsoft and Xerox, for instance, “have led to tangible outcomes.”
- Rondeau shared that these and other CRADAs have taught NPS that “risk management of big companies is different than with smalls.” The recent Space Summit held at NPS and collaboration with Hybrid Air Vehicles (see stories below) showcased relevant student research and partnerships that illustrate how this understanding of commercial capabilities has been applied to advance capabilities in diverse settings.
The NWSI impact: NWSI supports many of these innovation efforts at NPS in its role as central connector. Our team has facilitated several recent CRADAs, supports the faculty embark program that keeps NPS educators tightly connected to the fleet, and research groups that solve challenges initiated by and iterated with operational commands (such as the Nimitz Research Group profiled above).
What’s next: NPS and NWSI are moving out on several initiatives, including the Naval Innovation Center at NPS, other efforts to modernize facilities, and a streamlined focus on nine core research areas. Stay tuned for updates on these and other efforts that are picking up the pace and sharpening the focus of NPS research, education, and innovation.
NPS in the News
Naval Space Summit Brings SECNAV, Other Senior Leaders To NPS
Lt. Cmdr. Ed Early, Naval Postgraduate School
Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro speaks at the inaugural Naval Space Summit.
As global dependence on space-based technology continues to grow, senior leaders from throughout the Department of Defense joined Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) from March 29-31 to examine the challenges, needs and opportunities of space operations unique to the maritime domain.
- The inaugural Naval Space Summit at NPS featured a series of classified discussions involving top representatives from the DOD’s major stakeholders in the space domain.
- The main goals of the summit were to foster greater understanding about the reliance of the Navy and Marine Corps on existing space capabilities, to acknowledge the issues faced in adapting to and incorporating rapid technological changes, and to identify the challenges involved in enabling future naval and joint warfare and protecting the United States and its allies. Read more.
Charting the Navy’s Future Course in Advanced Space Education
NPS Public Affairs
From the very beginning of the “space race” in the late 1950s, the U.S. Navy established itself as a global leader in the utilization of the space domain. In today’s era of strategic competition, however, naval and joint operations depend more than ever on the space domain – everything from intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, to positioning, navigation, and timing, to communications, environmental monitoring, space domain monitoring and more.
- One organization poised to help the Navy answer that call is the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), which has played a critical role in the evolution of the Navy’s space leadership through education, space-related science and technology research since 1959, most notably with the establishment of its Space Systems Academic Group (SSAG) in 1982. Read more.
US DOD Operational Energy Office Announces Funding for Ground-Breaking Hybrid Aircraft Project Hybrid Air Vehicles Press Release
Marine Corps Capt. Ben Cohen and Capt. John Schmaltz, while students at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), became interested in the defense applications of civilian hybrid aircraft like Airlander, the highly efficient aircraft currently under development by HAV, as a disruptive technology, and were introduced to HAV through the NPS alumni network.
- Their thesis, which serves as a guide to interaction and engagement for Department of Defense personnel to navigate the innovation ecosystem while assessing commercially developed, large-capacity transportation platforms, has been instrumental in the current work with HAV.
- In the latest development of this work, the Operational Energy Capability Improvement Fund (OECIF) in the DOD’s Operational Energy Office recently announced funding for the Zero Carbon Logistics Support Via Hybrid Aircraft project.
- This ground-breaking collaboration between the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and HAV can enhance logistics, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) operations, and communications in the Pacific. Read more.
2023 Winter Quarter Graduate Spotlight – Capt. Emily Hastings, U.S. Marine Corps (video)
Watch a video profile of U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Emily Hastings, a recent graduate of the Manpower Systems Analysis curriculum at NPS and a recipient of NWSI support. As a manpower officer, recruitment, retention, and the factors that impact Marines’ decisions are all fundamental to her occupational specialty’s success.
- Last fall, NWSI supported Capt. Hastings when she facilitated the 2022 Manpower, Personnel, and Administration Operational Advisory Group at Quantico. For her thesis, Hastings developed a qualitative study incorporating behavioral psychology concepts at key points in a young Marine’s career.
- Catching the interest of the Department of the Navy Office of Manpower and Reserve Affairs (M&RA), Hastings’ work informed eight initiatives improving Marine Corps talent management practices. Upon graduation Hastings will report to M&RA to implement her research and graduate education.
Current Openings at NPS – Join the NPS Team!
Central Coast Tech Bridge Director, Professor of the Practice Office of Research and Innovation
The Office of Research and Innovation (OR&I) is currently searching for a forward-looking leader to serve as Director of the Central Coast Tech Bridge (C2TB), part of the NavalX ecosystem of Tech Bridges.
Joint Interagency Field Experiments (JIFX) 23-3
1 - 5 May 2023
NPS Field Laboratory at Camp Roberts
Focus Area: Autonomous Logistics Enabled by Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning, including the following concentration areas:
- Logistics in a contested environment
- Autonomous resupply and cargo delivery
- Undersea vehicle maintenance, monitoring, and prediction systems
- Artificial Intelligence based UXO detection
- Runway detection methods and systems
- Fully autonomous unmanned cargo delivery and resupply missions of food, fuel and water
For more information about JIFX events and submissions requirements, visit our How to Participate page.
Rapid Innovation Design Challenge
NPS is excited to announce the Rapid Innovation Design Challenge for 2023, focusing on how workflow process automation can address local community climate change challenges. Schools and students are invited to envision, develop, and design innovative solutions that unleash the power of technology to solve problems in their communities. Through engagement with NPS student mentors and industry experts, student will engage in scaffolded learning activities that ask teams to consider how science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) can be used to create meaningful solutions with global impact.
The Design Challenge is open to students in grades 9-12. The curriculum instruction and solution development are designed to be accomplished over a 2.5-month period to fit you and your students' needs. Participants will create low code or no-code custom applications for their challenge solutions.
- School Group Registration Open Until April 1, 2023
- Design Challenge Period: February 1 - April 30
- Design Challenge Judging Period: May 1 - 12
- Winners Announcement Event: May 19
20th Annual Acquisition Research Symposium
10-11 May 2023
The Annual Acquisition Research Symposium provides a forum for the presentation of scholarly acquisition research, as well as for dialogue between scholars and acquisition policymakers and practitioners. Research papers and presentations are given on recently completed and ongoing Department of Defense and Department of the Navy (DOD/DON)-sponsored projects conducted by researchers at a variety of research institutions. Senior DOD/DON acquisition officials serve as panelists or keynote speakers to present their critiques and comments on research papers and priorities.
This year features keynote speakers Nick Guertin, Director, Operational Test & Evaluation, and Bill LaPlante, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition & Sustainment.
See the full program and register.
Seapower Conversation: Reflections on Navy Strategy & Force Design
May 25, 2023, 1500-1700 PDT
Location: ME Auditorium
With Bruce Stubbs, Former Deputy Director of Strategy and Policy (N51), the Director of Strategy (N50), and the Director of Strategy and Strategic Concepts (N722). The brief offers a deep dive into Navy Force Design. Its purpose is to provide a “navalist” audience an assessment of Navy Force Design and Strategy. The brief describes the factors and issues affecting Force Design and places them into a thematic framework. Force Design is a complex subject with many facets. The brief addresses Key Issues Affecting Navy Force Design (20 Stand-Alone Issues).
Read more and register.