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NEWS | Nov. 6, 2023

NUWC Division Newport and commercial partners gather for problem-solving at Industry Day

By NUWC Division Newport Public Affairs

The Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport and the Undersea Technology Innovation Consortium (UTIC) hosted an Industry Day at the Wyndham Hotel in Newport on Oct. 18 to provide information on upcoming procurements, goals and schedules for various U.S. Navy programs.

More than 200 defense sector leaders attended to gather information on prototype opportunities as well as align their business strategies to U.S. Navy needs.

Rebecca Chhim, acting Technical Director for NUWC Division Newport, kicked off the day-long information session with an update on the current state of the Navy’s cybersecurity efforts – appropriate as October was Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

“This is a critical time for cyber,” Chhim said. “Congress is on record with their concern for our cyber preparedness. We are not cyber ready. The architectures are too complex to defend.”

Chhim shared how a National Security Administration audit presented an opportunity for Division Newport to correct its course and put cybersecurity into action, noting that a future attack will likely be non-kinetic and in the cyber domain. She encouraged industry partners to share the Navy’s demand for improved cybersecurity and a robust, cyber-savvy workforce.

“Everyone needs to be cyber informed,” Chhim said. “Some of our challenges can be solved with basic cyber hygiene.”

Chhim also noted that the government needs to share its cybersecurity requirements with industry representatives.

“We have a manual that’s adopted by the Navy Research and Development Establishment that shows what the cyber requirements are at every level, from development to platform. The government knows the requirements and industry needs to know them too,” Chhim said Chhim. “It’s a culture change.”

Tom Merchant, lead for Division Newport’s Experimental Payload Group, also encouraged government and industry collaboration when he spoke at the event. He briefed attendees on a software solution for industry partners interested in building autonomous underwater vehicles.

OpenAUV is a Navy-developed software framework that delivers operability and shared resources among the Navy and industry partners with regard to adding autonomy to vehicles.

“OpenAUV provides a common underlying software framework that includes hardware interfaces and automation services that are easily adaptable and extensible to different vehicle systems and configurations,” Merchant said.

In addition to a common software architecture, OpenAUV promotes affordability and innovation in the Navy’s fleet of autonomous vehicles.

Tom Carroll, senior analyst with Division Newport’s Strategic Planning Office, works with the UTIC to develop content for Industry Day events. Resource sponsors reach out to Carroll to convey their needs and he connects their requirements to industry partners.

“Industry Days drive collaboration with industry,” Carroll said. “In addition to learning about sponsor requirements, these events provide this community with an opportunity to share ideas, network, and gain a better understanding of how we can take on challenges as a team.”

“We are building tomorrow’s Navy,” Chhim said. “We have to be prepared for non-traditional events with non-traditional solutions.”

NUWC Newport is the oldest warfare center in the country, tracing its heritage to the Naval Torpedo Station established on Goat Island in Newport Harbor in 1869. Commanded by Capt. Chad Hennings, NUWC Newport maintains major detachments in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Andros Island in the Bahamas, as well as test facilities at Seneca Lake and Fisher's Island, New York, Leesburg, Florida, and Dodge Pond, Connecticut.

Join our team! NUWC Division Newport, one of the 20 largest employers in Rhode Island, employs a diverse, highly trained, educated, and skilled workforce. We are continuously looking for engineers, scientists, and other STEM professionals, as well as talented business, finance, logistics and other support experts who wish to be at the forefront of undersea research and development. Please connect with NUWC Division Newport Recruiting at this site- and follow us on LinkedIn @NUWC-Newport and on Facebook @NUWCNewport.