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Navy Warfare Centers Harnessing Data to Expand the Advantage

By Naval Surface Warfare Center Public Affairs | NSWC Corona | April 26, 2019

NORCO, Calif. — In data science, one of the biggest hurdles to achieving a goal is identifying and sharing pertinent data.

In 2017, Hovanes Keseyan was only the second NSWC Corona employee to earn his specialized master’s degree in data science from the University of California, Riverside. Soon after, he attended a Naval Application of Machine Learning workshop and discovered others from the Navy and academia who wanted to implement new technologies he’d learned about. Many questions arose about the data that fuels them: Where does the data reside? Who owns it? How can we access it? Do we have enough?

The search for answers quickly developed into a research and development project under Keseyan’s tutelage: Universal Hub for Big Data, a mega project to catalog, combine and share Navy research, development, test and evaluation data across the enterprise in a manner scalable across the Defense Department and other data repositories. The data hub idea caught the attention of NSWC Corona Chief Technology Officer Taylor Cole, who shepherded it through the Navy Innovative Science and Engineering funding application process. The project has rapidly gained traction across the Navy, particularly as Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Bill Moran has emphasized the need to harness data and data analytics to not only enhance the decisions made for the warfighter, but to gain a digital edge over competitors.

With funding from multiple Navy programs, Keseyan and his working group have catalogued data from 13 warfare centers across four systems commands so far: Naval Sea Systems Command, Naval Air Systems Command, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command and Naval Facilities Engineering Command. In June, Keseyan’s group aims to have a test version of the web interface, and potential users can apply to become testers and gain access. The group will seek additional data sets – 15 per command – to reach close to 200 data sets by the end of the fiscal year. The next step is integrating that data.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done,” he continued. “Here at NSWC Corona, we want to make sure this work is done properly so everyone can start playing in the new data science capability.

“Others are interested in bringing in machine learning and artificial intelligence into their processes,” Keseyan said, “and they also want to marry that with augmented reality, virtual reality and Live Virtual Constructive environments. So there’s this intersection of these new technology fields and we’re laying the foundation to have these conversations. We want to remove those barriers and let the scientists do what they’re excited to do.”

NSWC Corona’s commanding officer said he wants to champion the project because of its critical importance to advance the Navy and NAVSEA strategic goals.

“Universal Hub is a great example of how the warfare centers are leveraging a talented and empowered workforce to utilize high velocity learning to accelerate warfighting decisions across the Navy,” said Capt. Rick Braunbeck. “This project will help the Navy make every dollar count to drive lethality and improve readiness across the fleet.”

NSWC Corona, a field activity of Naval Sea Systems (NAVSEA) Command, is headquartered in Norco, Calif., and has a workforce of more than 3,300 scientists, engineers, contractors and support staff and annual business of more than $450 million each year. The command leads the Navy’s research, development, test, and evaluation process responsible for gauging the warfighting capability of Navy ships and aircraft for performance, readiness, quality, and supportability throughout the entire life cycle.