DVIDS – News – Designer Thought: ONR ‘SCOUTS’ for Creative Combat Solutions at Naval Academy Event


By Warren Duffie Jr., Office of Naval Research

ARLINGTON, Va.—An array of sensors and connecting buoys for performing ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) in the maritime environment. Specialized GPS that can monitor fishing routes and identify suspicious activity that could reveal the presence of drug traffickers.

These are just two of the ideas presented by recent U.S. Naval Academy graduates at a “design thinking” event aimed at addressing a major challenge facing Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-S). – limited resources to cover a large area of ​​operations to combat the smuggling of narcotics into the United States

The Academy event – which ran from Aug. 2-5 and culminated in presentations to Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Lorin Selby and other stakeholders – was a partnership between the Office of Naval Research (ONR)-sponsored SCOUT Initiative, JIATF-S and several warfare centers.

“My job is to train people to think differently and to challenge the current system,” Selby said, “and this generation is the one that will change things. We try to change the conversation and talk openly about the challenges, the obstacles and opportunities to learn and improve.

The event was led by SCOUT, an ongoing multi-agency experimentation campaign that quickly brings solutions to warfighter challenges. SCOUT is committed to rapidly integrating non-traditional, off-the-shelf, government-developed and/or government-sponsored technologies into the fleet.

Currently, SCOUT is assisting JIATF-S, which works with U.S. Southern Command and partner naval forces to leverage all-domain technologies and unmanned capabilities to target, detect, and monitor illicit drug trafficking in airborne domains. and maritime. This facilitates interception and apprehension to reduce the flow of drugs, as well as degrade and dismantle transnational criminal organizations.

“We wanted to have new minds and perspectives to study the combat problems faced by the JIATF-S,” said Dan Cabel, who leads SCOUT. “What better minds than those at the Naval Academy, who will surely bring creative thinking and insights to real-world challenges?”

During the Academy event, graduates split into two teams and listened to JIATF-S operators and subject matter experts describe their mission-specific challenges and needs. From there, they grouped these questions into themes that would serve as the basis for generating ideas. Then they held a Shark Tank-style round robin to pitch ideas and select the top four for final presentation.

In addition to ideas about connecting sensors and buoys and specialized GPS, other concepts included using artificial intelligence and machine learning to predict where drug traffickers might operate – as well as improving data collection for asset allocation and case management.

“An event like this is fantastic for exposing these Academy graduates, who are now new Navy and Marine Corps officers, to the operational issues and challenges they will face as they lead our warfighters.” , said Lt. Cmdr. Allison Mabrey, lead event host. “We look forward to seeing them bring their innovative ideas and skills to use in the fleet. »

The next steps involve SCOUT and JIATF-S reviewing the four presentations and determining which aspects could be incorporated into the experimentation exercises. Academy graduates will be part of this implementation process.

“It was a fantastic experience,” said Ens. Skyler Schork, one of the presenters. “It’s not often someone fresh out of the Academy gets to brief a two-star admiral. It’s inspiring to know that naval leadership cares about an ensign’s ideas and insights.

The Academy event was part of the larger SCOUT experimentation campaign, which will leverage the naval research and development establishment’s corporate communities, capabilities and tools to address warfighter issues. . The goal of SCOUT is a series of innovation sprint events, exercises and experiments to encourage learning and innovation, to rapidly develop technologies and techniques to improve combat capability and help in faster decision making. These events will eventually culminate in a full-scale demonstration early next year.

Warren Duffie Jr. is a contractor for ONR Corporate Strategic Communications.

Date taken: 08.11.2022
Date posted: 08.11.2022 16:06
Story ID: 427076
Location: ARLINGTON, Virginia, USA

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