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ONR chief: Inefficiency in tech development a concern.

* As the Pentagon looks for new ways to maintain its technological advantage over adversaries, potential duplication of efforts worries the chief of naval research.


"What keeps me up at night? Inefficiency," said Rear Adm. Mat Winter in July.

Maintaining close partnerships with other military organizations is key to preventing this overlap, he said recently during remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

The Office of Naval Research--which has an annual budget of about $2.1 billion--is working closely with the Defense Department's strategic capabilities office led by William Roper, he noted.

"We look at where our intersections lie in understanding the opportunities for his mission success and our mission success. His focus is department-wide, not just naval or Marine Corps applications," Winter said.

ONR also intends to partner with the Pentagon's Defense Innovation Unit-Experimental. The office--with hubs in Silicon Valley and a newly opened facility in Boston--is meant to facilitate communication between the Defense Department and non-traditional technology companies.

During a recent meeting with Raj Shah, the director of DIUx, Winter told him "we want to be a provider, a performer for DIUx. But we also want to be selfish and ask... [DIUx] to be a performer for us."

The organization has fostered relationships with companies that typically do not work with the Pentagon, Winter said. Such partnerships help the government crack some of its toughest technological nuts. ONR can leverage those new ties for its own programs, he added.

Meanwhile, Winter said it is critical that when looking for cutting-edge technology that researchers and engineers think about the "business of science," he said. ONR doesn't invest in new weapons because they are "cool," but rather because they enable war fighters to complete their missions safely.

"You got to make sure you've got a foundation of effective and efficient business of science," he said. "That means when the cool science is happening, when it hits the belt sander of contracting or funding types... [that we] look at the business of science as much as the science of science.

"Sometimes I get accused of making ONR more business focused than it should be--I'm not here to make this a business," he said. "But I'm here to say that if we don't... use some of the innovative models that corporate America uses then we're not using every tool in our tool box."

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Title Annotation:Global Defensse
Comment:ONR chief: Inefficiency in tech development a concern.(Global Defensse)
Author:Tadjdeh, Yasmin
Publication:National Defense
Date:Sep 1, 2016
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