DAHLGREN, Va. - Mission engineering, cyber warfare, and directed energy.
Innovative ideas impacting these Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) thrust areas are constantly transforming Navy technological capabilities.
"Keep the ideas coming and let's find a way to get them to the Fleet faster," Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., told a gathering of Navy scientists and engineers at the two-day Mission Engineering & Analysis, and Integration & Interoperability conference sponsored by the American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE) and NSWCDD, April 25.
"We can bring innovation creation in a faster manner to our men and women out there in the front lines, and we can do things less expensively," said Wittman, the event's keynote speaker. "When we can expedite them more efficiently, speak out - let folks know of your ideas because we are indeed a nation of great ideas."
Throughout his speech, entitled, 'Capitol Hill Perspective of 355 Ship Navy Pitch and Budget Topline', Wittman emphasized that ideas from the Navy Warfare Centers are crucial to achieve a 355 ship Navy.
Creativity, discovery, and innovation will foster opportunities for breakthroughs and provide technology options for future naval capabilities and systems that can be leveraged to the nation's advantage, said Wittman, Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee. "It will lay the groundwork for what we can do in getting those items to our men and women out on the frontlines faster and do it less expensively. Your ideas matter, your thoughts about how we can make the process more efficient matter. Let us know how we can do that."
The collaboration and speeches at the conference covered processes and technologies related to modeling and simulation; mission engineering, surface warfare; maritime cyber security; human augmentation and interoperability; integration and interoperability; affordable future surface combatants; integrated power and energy systems; and world-wide technology desktop virtualization.
"Mission engineering in these times with the threat that we are facing is an absolute necessity," NSWCDD Commanding Officer Capt. Godfrey 'Gus' Weekes told the ASNE conference attendees, mostly government and defense contractor scientists and engineers.
Mission engineering is the planning, analyzing, organizing, and integrating current and emerging operational concepts for the purpose of evolving the end-to-end operational architecture and capability attributes, across the doctrine, organization, training, material, leadership and education, personnel and facilities spectrum. It includes anticipated Blue Force and Opposition Force behaviors that are needed to inform the communities of interest involved in fulfilling mission needs statements.
Weekes described mission engineering activities that NSWCDD scientists and engineers are accomplishing within the command's Mission Engineering and Analysis Directorate.
"They are assisting and interfacing with the Fleet and the Fleet commander - at the strategic level in some respects," said Weekes. "We work with the Fleet tactically in regard to real world exercises - basically making civilian EDs (engineering duty officers). It is one thing to engineer a system to meet a requirement. It's totally different to go out and be a part of an exercise, engaging in discussions with flag level war gamers and hear from them how they will implement your system. To have that level of interaction at a junior to senior civilian engineer level is critical."
We understand the value in digitally representing systems under test and evaluation and the value in replicating systems aboard ships, submarines and aircraft, said NSWCDD Technical Director John Fiore in his opening remarks.
"It's necessary to understand future capability of surface warfare, air warfare, and undersea warfare capabilities," he emphasized. "We must do it collectively while using the right model and tool for the right purpose. I have witnessed personally that modeling and simulation can save hundreds of millions of dollars and like the Captain said - give the warfighter insight into what a new capability might represent for them without spending a lot of money or committing to programs of record to determine later that it's not going to be useful."
Collaborating to engineer technological programs collectively is how ASNE was founded.
In 1888, a group of naval engineering pioneers, most of them officers of the U.S. Navy's Engineering Corps, started the technical society to engage with their fellow engineers for a unified approach to their profession and make the most of new advances in technology.
"You are the backbone of building the Navy of the future," said Anthony Lengerich, ASNE president, a retired admiral. "We talk about distributed operations, distributed lethality - it's everything that the warfare centers are engaged in. I encourage you to think about submitting articles and ideas into ASNE. Let's get a dialogue going that will change the composition of ASNE, but more importantly, it will become a rallying point for everybody in the warfare centers. This is your organization. Write to the journal, get your ideas on paper. Make it an organization that supports the Navy in a greater way."
Meanwhile, Wittman is committed to supporting and rebuilding a 355 ship Navy.
"We're going to lay out a pretty aggressive schedule on what we do to rebuild our Navy," said Wittman. "Every one of you in this room will be part of that effort. There's great work that goes on here with not only developing concepts but bringing those concepts to operation and what we will do for our ships of the future. I've talked to the CNO (Chief of Naval Operations) at length as well as our flag officers in the Navy about what we're going to do to bring new systems onboard - whether it's railgun, whether it's lasers. All those things are extraordinarily important and we have to be able to get those operationalized quickly and we've shown we can do that."