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NEWS | March 23, 2021

NAVSEA’s HACKtheMACHINE Prize Challenge seeks cyber innovation, partners

By Naval Sea Systems Command Office of Corporate Communication

WASHINGTON -- Teams from across the country gathered virtually today to solve high-tech Navy challenges in a Prize Challenge hosted by Naval Sea Systems Command.

The competition offers three separate challenges in Maritime Cyber, Data Science, and 3D printing over the next four days with teams competing for $95,000 in prize money.

“HACKtheMACHINE is about bringing innovation to the Navy through connection,” said NAVSEA's Engineering Directorate Technical Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Arthur Anderson. 

The annual competition, primarily virtual this year, is designed to foster engagement between the Navy and public and private sectors interested in tackling the Navy’s toughest digital challenges.   

"HACKtheMACHINE is an opportunity to test your skills against the best in the world and problem solve for the Navy while helping to bolster our national security and defense systems," said Rear Adm. Jason Lloyd, NAVSEA's Chief Engineer and Deputy Commander for Ship Design, Integration, Naval Engineering and Logistics.  "It's our responsibility to keep the Navy's ships and systems secure from attacks from malicious actors, and events like this help keep us abreast of the level and scope of threats we're facing. This broad community truly helps enhance our combat power and meet our national defense missions."

HACKtheMACHINE offers three tracks/challenges this year:

Track I - Maritime Cyber:  Teams will compete against world-class hackers to overtake and breach the U.S. Navy's 2021 cyber games by working to hack into the Grace Maritime Cyber Testbed and attempting to crash one of the tools the Navy is considering for its cybersecurity monitoring environment. This track is a capture-the-flag style event played virtually on a full bridge navigation suite and a fly-by-wire propulsion system.

Track II - Data Science:   Teams will be challenged to create algorithms that support the analysis and modeling of games derived from the COVID-19 crisis. Contestants will face challenges around spectrum labeling, rule set integration and optimizing resources. The ideas generated could directly impact preparations for future global health emergencies and pave the way for artificial intelligence and machine learning tools that enable better decision-making.

Track III – 3D Printing - Heavy Metal:   Teams will accelerate the adoption of Advanced Manufacturing using metallic 3D printing in the U.S. Navy. In the near future, metallic 3D printing capabilities will enable ships and shipyards to keep the fleet ready for tight national security timelines and replace critical components that fail while a ship is on deployment. At the Navy's discretion, the government may decide award a small business contract to the winner of this final track.

Across the next four days, attendees will hear from Navy leadership who will share insight into and analysis of the proceedings and discuss the impact the event has on America's defense systems.

"HACKtheMACHINE is a great avenue for non-traditional partners, many who are small businesses," said Anne Bannister, Director of NAVSEA's Small Business Program. "NAVSEA fully recognizes the small business industrial base holds the key to technical dominance for the Warfighter, therefore strive to improve points of entry for small businesses into the defense market. Helping to get small businesses interested in partnering with NAVSEA is our goal as well as helping them maneuver from challenge to contract."

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