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Home : Media : News
NEWS | April 10, 2024

NSWC Crane hosts over a dozen Navy research organizations to meet urgent operational needs

By Sarah K. Oh, NSWC Crane Corporate Communications

NSWC Crane) held a collaborative event to respond to urgent operational needs on January 23-25. The event, called TRON Queen’s Gambit 24, included in-person and virtual participants from more than a dozen organizations within the Naval Research and Development Establishment (NRDE).Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) held a collaborative event to respond to urgent operational needs on January 23-25. The event, called TRON Queen’s Gambit 24, included in-person and virtual participants from more than a dozen organizations within the Naval Research and Development Establishment (NRDE).

Carmelo Fontan (SSTM), the Chief Technology Officer for Naval Surface Warfare Center Headquarters, attended the event. 

Fontan provided context for and encouraged the TRON Queen’s Gambit participants, challenging the group to think beyond a singular event. 

“We have got to get better and faster,” said Fontan. “We need to have the sets and reps by holding events just like this TRON Queen’s Gambit. My only question is, where will the next Queen’s Gambit be held?”

Technical Response to Operational Needs (TRON) is a cross-warfare center team focused on providing rapid fielding of a solution to an emerging threat, delivered at the speed of need and at scale. TRON aims to harness NRDE’s technical and acquisition expertise to provide swift problem solving and technical capability.

NSWC Crane organized this unique event to outline paths, provide quick warfighter capability, and meet their operational needs.

“TRON was given a real-world, urgent operational problem to tackle,” said Perri Bateman Weber, a Scientist at NSWC Crane. “At the end of the event, our scientists and engineers pitched relevant, threat-informed concepts which could be quickly developed, tested, and rapidly fielded. TRON Queen’s Gambit 24 was a milestone for us in Warfighter problem solving; we leveraged the TRON network and pulled together more than forty technical experts from across sixteen different organizations. This collaboration was critical in providing the Warfighter with high-impact technical solutions to combat modern threats.”

The event was intended to create a collaborative environment for participants. Amy Ruggles, Program Support for Expeditionary Warfare at NSWC Crane, helped organized the event and said it was great to see people working together toward a common goal.

“It was really amazing to see the collaboration with people who never met,” said Ruggles. “People came together to brainstorm solutions on a condensed timeline and by Thursday, people had full pitches of their concepts.”

TRON Queen’s Gambit was modeled after two events, including the Warfighter Driven Challenge (WDC) user centered design sprint and NSWC Crane’s Rook Cage innovation challenge process. The WDC is a one-week, rapid prototyping event that brings together scientists, engineers, and warfighters together to work on a specific problem statement from operational military units. At the end of the week, there is some kind of output, such as a white paper, intellectual property, or a prototype created. Queen’s Gambit brings together experts from different backgrounds to work on an operational problem.  Afterwards, like the popular entrepreneurship television show “Shark Tank”, various teams pitch ideas for solutions for internal research and development (R&D) funding to work on their proposed solution.

TRON Queen’s Gambit 24 combined both models and had the participants work for three days to pitch their concepts to a panel where viable concepts received Naval Innovative Science and Engineering (NISE) funding. The NISE funding would then be used to further develop those concepts.  

Adam Parsley, Chief Scientist of the Special Warfare & Expeditionary Systems Department at NSWC Crane, helped organize TRON Queen’s Gambit 24. Parsley said the event was a success on several levels.

“Any time we can get our technical workforce centered on an operational problem set, we find ways to contribute to the fight,” said Parsley.  “This is some of the most rewarding work we can do.  We were able to include multiple Navy labs, as well as representatives from the intelligence community and operational force.  We succeed at a basic level just by overcoming our traditional stovepipes, and we look forward to continued success as some of our proposed ideas become reality.

About NSWC Crane | NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) with mission areas in Expeditionary Warfare, Strategic Missions and Electromagnetic Warfare. The warfare center is responsible for multi-domain, multi- spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability to today's Warfighter.

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