DAHLGREN, Va. –
Creativity and innovation are critical parts of the research, development, testing and engineering (RDT and E) community. As technology continues to expand, the role of modeling and simulation (M and S) has followed in step. M and S efforts seep into every technical department at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) including its echelon five command, NSWCDD Dam Neck Activity (NSWCDD DNA). M and S is a vast method to test and adjust products in a virtualized world – making it easier to pivot and deliver new capabilities to the warfighter.
NSWCDD and NSWCDD DNA teamed together to create the third annual M and S summit August 24 and 25. Hosted in an entirely virtual format, the summit allowed groups across NSWCDD to showcase their M and S technologies.
NSWCDD Commanding Officer Capt. Stephen ‘Casey’ Plew opened the conference, noting the vast M and S community across the warfare center. Acting Technical Director Darren Barnes then spoke about the fidelity of M and S and how the technology can be leveraged to better projects and programs at NSWCDD on the ultimate quest of supporting the warfighter.
Following the introduction to the summit, the audience joined the first of four briefing sessions, which showcased multiple technologies being developed and tested at NSWCDD. Topics included robust and adaptive control for aerodynamic vehicles, predictive modeling of propulsion systems for threats (using threat engineering and analysis) and tools in the M and S toolbox (featuring wargaming simulations, plugins and orchestrated simulation through modeling).
During the working lunch hour, participants tuned in to live poster sessions – a virtual take on the traditional poster show and tell. Each poster exhibition had a chatroom, allowing others to listen and ask questions in real-time to the presenter. Topics centered on a wide range of M and S subjects including gun effectiveness modeling, testing, data verification and validation and the role of M and S in naval digital transformation. Viewers then listened to a panel discussion featuring five M and S specialists at NSWCDD to outline how the technology fits into the center’s strategic thrusts.
As the afternoon progressed, the second briefing session of the day took place. Throughout the sessions, participants could ask questions in the live chat or at the end of each brief. Both the chat and the ability to ask presenters questions allowed for an interactive element of the summit.
The second day of the summit started with words from NSWCDD DNA Commanding Officer Cmdr. Michael Aiena and NSWCDD M and S Community of Interest Lead in the Warfare Analysis and Digital Modeling Department Jesus ‘Mike’ Maldonado.
“Our command’s mission and vision reflect a workforce focused on pacing both current and future threats, which is an important part of the Dahlgren culture,” said Aiena. “At DNA, we understand that our adversaries are rapidly developing and improving their capabilities, and if our nation’s military is to maintain a competitive edge, we can’t just keep pace—we must find ways to accelerate.”
Wednesday’s first briefing session took the audience on a deep dive into several M and S projects, including mission analysis performed to provide information for investment decisions, a text analytics development in the human resources division, artificial intelligence and the incorporation of hypersonics using autopilot design and trajectory methods. The main goal of the summit – collaboration and connections across NSWCDD – played out in the chat during the Q-and-A aspect following each brief. During one brief, a participant asked the presenter how the brief’s technology could be implemented into other projects, connecting teams from across the division.
Following the briefing session, a panel of five employees from the Gun and Electric Weapon Systems, Weapons Control and Integration and the Readiness and Training Systems departments took turns discussing workforce development ranging from topics like the impact of teleworking on the workforce to how to encourage team members or mid-level employees.
The final briefing session treated participants to another presentation and four virtual program demonstrations of up-and-coming M and S technologies, including programs designed to help with workforce development and the ever-changing technologies, analysis and design tools and integration of digital engineering ship labs.
At the close of the summit, Navy Modeling and Simulation Office Verification, Validation and Accreditation Lead Jeremy Smith expanded on the naval vision for the M and S collaborative community going into the future as new technologies begin to take form. Hundreds of government civilians, contractors and sponsors of M and S technologies took part in the summit. One participant from NSWC Port Hueneme Division praised the summit planning team for a job well done, stating, “So much of this information was useful to me in doing my job.” Next year’s conference is already in the early development stages, as the planning committee hopes the fourth annual summit will contain an in-person element in August 2022.