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NSWC Crane leader recognized throughout Navy for driving rapid innovation

By NSWC Crane Corporate Communications | April 30, 2019

CRANE, Ind. – A Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) leader was recognized with the Department of the Navy (DoN) Meritorious Civilian Service Award for his contributions to the Navy and Marine Corps.

Andrew Brough, the NSWC Crane Expeditionary Warfare Lead across Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), has led initiatives to pursue Expeditionary Warfare rapid prototyping development to address operational gaps and needs identified by the Navy, Marine Corps, and Special Operations Command (SOCOM) operational forces.

Brough has spent his career at NSWC Crane and has led Expeditionary Warfare efforts for the past seven years.

“It’s an honor to be recognized with the Meritorious Civilian Service Award,” says Brough. “The threats and problems the warfighter faces changes rapidly. This requires collaboration with leadership and different organizations in order to tackle challenges effectively. I am proud of the work we’ve done across NAVSEA to provide efficient, technical solutions for service members around the world.”

Brough leads a group that facilitates efforts to advance Expeditionary Warfighting capabilities. The Expeditionary Warfare Community of Practice was established on May 9, 2018 to provide a forum for collaboration across NAVSEA to streamline efforts to evaluate emerging technologies.  The group facilitates experimentation events such as Advanced Naval Technology Exercises (ANTX), Expeditionary Advanced Operating Base exercises, and other rapid prototyping events and demonstrations to assess the technologies that are the best fit to enable the next generation expeditionary warfighter.  These events establish an environment for the technologists to work directly with operators to obtain feedback on emerging technologies enabling the technologist to expedite the capability to the fleet faster.  Brough has been designated by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research and Development (DASN R&D) to co-lead two ANTX events, both in support of the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab.

At Crane, Brough has been integral in the success of the Warfighter Driven Challenge, which is a process that consists of events where warfighters bring problems they are experiencing to Crane to find a collaborative solution. During the week-long events, several warfighters travel to Crane to work with a diverse, multi-disciplined team to thoroughly understand the problem and brainstorm solutions.

“There are many concepts that provide a platform for warfighters to come together with industry and academic experts to solve their problems,” says Brough. “What’s unique about the Warfighter Driven Challenge is at the end of the week, they get a physical prototype. Servicemen and women come to Crane with a problem and work directly with our technical experts to create a tailored solution.”

Within the last two years, five Warfighter Driven Challenge events have been conducted, and two more are currently scheduled to take place. As a result of these events, thirteen prototypes have been developed, with one being fully fielded, one in operational use in the acquisition process, and five being evaluated further by operational forces.

Brough explains the event provides significant outcomes for the warfighter.

“Warfighters get a prototype, they are able to refine requirements, and the acquisition process is accelerated by putting solutions in their hands,” says Brough. “But the experience is mutually beneficial to Crane as well. The process helps us develop our workforce, helps us better understand the operational environment, builds their external and internal network, grows Crane’s patent portfolio, and develops the Innovation Ecosystem.”

Brough says it’s important to know what value NAVSEA provides.

“I try to build awareness of the technical expertise that NAVSEA brings to the table. Making sure warfighters get the technology they need to execute their mission and come home safe...that’s what these efforts are all about.”

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 Electronic 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.