NORFOLK, Va. – Old Dominion University and Naval Surface Warfare Center
Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) leaders initiated an epic increase in Navy and
university collaborative efforts by signing three agreements at a ceremony Oct.
The agreements – a memorandum of understanding, an education partnership
agreement, and a non-disclosure agreement - will expand collaboration benefitting
Navy technology programs as well as the university's students and faculty.
"We are looking forward to a meaningful partnership," said
NSWCDD Commander Capt. Brian Durant. “We've had a long history with ODU and
this opportunity is the next step to solidify and leverage our joint efforts that
benefit the Navy and the nation.”
In effect, the agreements signed by Durant and ODU President Dr. John
Broderick formalize a strong link between the organizations.
Specifically, the memorandum of understanding defines the engagement
field of the maturing NSWCDD-ODU relationship. The non-disclosure contract enables
NSWCDD and ODU to leverage each other's intellectual capacity in a secure
manner. The education partnership agreement enables NSWCDD to enrich ODU
students in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics arena to
foster a pipeline of future employees.
"Almost 25 percent of our student population is military
affiliated," said Broderick, emphasizing that the agreements signify, “a
much more engaged partnership that will open even more doors for all.”
The memorandum of understanding also creates a new framework of
cooperation for mutually beneficial innovative research projects and
"Academic partnerships such as this are vital to our Navy research
and development efforts because they bring a unique perspective to the table,”
said Dr. Marty Irvine, head of the NSWCDD Maritime Warfare Systems Department
based at Combat Systems Direction Activity Dam Neck, Virginia Beach, Va.
This collaboration on technology focus areas such as mission
engineering and cyber warfare engineering – crucial to NSWCDD and ODU – provides
opportunities to expand into cybersecurity, decision science, modeling and simulation,
marine engineering, warfighter performance, and unmanned and autonomous systems.
“ODU has an outstanding and growing capacity in the field of
engineering, particularly in some of our interest areas, like cybersecurity
engineering and additive manufacturing/3D printing,” said Irvine. “We are
greatly looking forward to leveraging and sharing knowledge and
Navy and university officials look forward to a maturing relationship
that may result in another formal contract, called a cooperative research and
development agreement (CRADA), in the future. The CRADA is one of the principal
mechanisms used by federal labs to engage in collaborative efforts with
non-federal partners to achieve goals of technology transfer.
"The partnership between ODU and NSWCDD provides critical linkages
toward the institutionalization of the innovative mission engineering
approach,” said Dr. James Moreland, Naval Warfare deputy director and an ODU
adjunct professor who teaches and is developing a curriculum on mission
engineering at the university. “To rapidly embed this behavior change into a
large technical workforce, it will take both academia and NSWC Dahlgren
Division hands-on training resources.”
The linkages enable increased collaboration across the university on
research in specific areas, the development of courses, and certification for
NSWCDD staff. It also provides opportunities for ODU faculty and students to
participate in research projects.
“ODU is well positioned based on physical location to the operational
Fleet as well as their foundational work in system-of-systems engineering and modeling
and simulation,” said Moreland.
The ODU National Centers for System of Systems Engineering is
nationally recognized for its system-of-systems engineering work. ODU’s
modeling and simulation research takes place at the Virginia Modeling, Analysis
and Simulation Center – a university-wide multidisciplinary research center
that emphasizes modeling, simulation, and visualization, research, development
“The pairing of these institutions creates a good incubation cell for
advanced research ideas to drive the quantitative methods for the next
generation of integrated warfighting capabilities," said Moreland, who
served as NSWCDD chief engineer before his current position supporting the
Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and
In fiscally constrained environments, it’s important for the Navy and
academic institutions to look for more synergistic ways to continue providing
cutting edge technology to the warfighter with less funding using progressive
relationships and agreements.
In addition to on-campus and on-line courses, ODU professors have been
teaching at the University of Mary Washington Dahlgren campus – near NSWCDD’s
Dahlgren, Va., location – for several years, enabling Navy scientists and
engineers to keep abreast with technology and understand the realm of the possible
for the future.