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NEWS | June 2, 2021

NSWC Dahlgren Division Hosts Regional Partnership Intermediary Agreement Summit

By NSWCDD Corporate Communications

The Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) drew stakeholders from Virginia and Maryland together in April for a one-day Regional Partnership Intermediary Agreement (PIA) Summit at the division’s Innovation Laboratory (iLab) at Dahlgren, Va.

The partnership intermediaries included the Center for Innovative Technologies (CIT), Fredericksburg Regional Alliance at the University of Mary Washington (FRA), King George County, the Maryland Department of Commerce and the Chairman of Stafford County Economic Development Authority. The PIA agreements, used across the warfare center enterprise, allow the warfare centers to partner with semi-private institutions to develop potential interactions with state and local business entities with the ultimate goal in developing of interactions that increase the utilization of division facilities and expertise.

“Partnering with industry and academia is key to delivering resilient capabilities to the fleet faster and by leveraging mutually beneficial relationships with our partnership intermediaries we will improve outcomes for the Navy and the U.S. economy,” according to NSWCDD Technical Director John Fiore. “The digital proving grounds will be the foundation of the digital ecosystem and will create opportunities for non-defense industry partners to leverage advanced prototyping and testing capabilities to support their advanced technology portfolios.”

Partnership intermediaries assist by connecting NSWCDD with industry and academic research and development partners to enter into cooperative agreements as well as focus on commercializing patented technology developed at the federal lab. While there may be opposing priorities across an ecosystem, these agreements allow for coordination, or parallel play, between NSWCDD and its partners yielding positive outcomes for the region.  

“Strengthening the partnership between Dahlgren and the surrounding communities will strengthen the technology pipeline, encourage economic development and help attract new talent to the area,” said attendee David Ihrie with CIT.

“We are excited to see Dahlgren Division’s uptick in engagement across the regional ecosystem and the benefits that come with it,” said Fredericksburg Regional Alliance at the University of Mary Washington President Curry Roberts. “We look forward to our continued collaboration and the increased economic opportunities this partnership affords our region.”

NSWCDD Deputy Technical Director Darren Barnes thanked the intermediaries for attending and detailed the importance the division places on proactive engagement with its collaborators. “Being able to have these discussions is key to advancing our strategic goals and developing warfighting systems for the 21st Century,” he said. “The digital proving grounds we are developing here is just one of the tools we can leverage with our partners.”

Dahlgren’s Chief Technology Officer Jennifer Clift agrees, “In addition to finding opportunities for collaboration with non-defense industry, aligning with our partnership intermediaries helps us find innovative industry and academia partners to develop capabilities for the warfighter at a relevant pace using the digital proving grounds.” She added, “…Collaborating on commercialization will supplement Dahlgren Division’s licensing efforts yielding positive outcomes for the region.”

NSWCDD has invested over the years to create a digital range and test bed that ecosystem partners can utilize to experiment, prototype and test their technology solutions in areas including, but not limited to, artificial intelligence, machine learning, cyber, virtual and augmented reality, modeling and simulation, quantum and advanced algorithm development.

As the largest federal research and development employer in Virginia, with over 5,000 federal civilians and nearly 4,000 contractors, NSWCDD is a working capital funded organization executing an annual budget of $1.8 billion. The division is an engine for innovation across the region enabled by its strategic partnerships across academia, its ties to traditional and nontraditional defense contractors through the Naval Surface Technology and Innovation Consortium and its focus on establishing Cooperative Research and Development Agreements across a wide range of technology-centric firms, according to Clift.   

“Holding PIA Summits on a regular basis demonstrates we are actively invested in helping to shape our regional ecosystem. We look forward to collaborating with our partners and finding new ways to work with academia, traditional industry and non-defense industry on the digital proving grounds,” said NSWCDD Director of Collaborative Innovation Kyle Lackinger.