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Introduction

In this chapter, background information concerning the study is given, and the study scope and approach are described.

BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

The Ship Hull, Mechanical, and Electrical Systems Division of the Office of Naval Research (ONR) sponsors basic and applied research and technology transfer in naval architecture, marine engineering, and related fields. This division supports research in solid mechanics, structural acoustics, structural dynamics, computational mechanics, control of dynamic systems, dynamics of electric power networks, and control of acoustic and nonacoustic signatures. In addition, the division supports exploratory development of technology for ships and submarines in the following areas: structural systems, power and automation, signature control, maneuvering, and seakeeping. This division of ONR has three sets of stakeholders in its research program: the U.S. Navy, industry, and academia. Each group has different objectives and seeks somewhat different outcomes from the research.

With the continuing retrenchment of the large, oceangoing commercial shipbuilding industry in the United States, the Navy has become the major customer for new ships in U.S. shipyards. About 90 percent of the shipbuilding undertaken in this country is done for the U.S. government, most of it for the Navy. The consensus is that investment in design and innovation in this sector is inhibited because “the acceptance of one failure is very low” and “there are too few opportunities for a return on that investment” (MIT 2000). This is in contrast to the commercial sector—particularly the recreational boat industry—where there is extensive innovation, although on a smaller scale (MIT 2000). The Navy’s interests are to create innovative ship concepts that can take advantage of new technologies to improve the Navy’s combat capabilities. The operational Navy wants to see more useful products in the near term and therefore has a more active interest in the applied research aspect of the ONR programs than in longer-term, more fundamental research.

The major shipyards, most of which now build ships exclusively for the Navy, also depend on ONR research to develop new concepts, but find that they have little direct influence on the nature of the ONR program. These shipyards provide a major component of design today for the Navy. To the extent that the Navy expects them to introduce new technologies, the shipyards strongly support more research in applied areas of ship design, production, and new materials.

A small number of universities teach ship design and naval engineering. The Navy recognizes the importance of maintaining a university infrastruc-



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Naval Engineering: Alternative Approaches for Organizing Cooperative Research 1 Introduction In this chapter, background information concerning the study is given, and the study scope and approach are described. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY The Ship Hull, Mechanical, and Electrical Systems Division of the Office of Naval Research (ONR) sponsors basic and applied research and technology transfer in naval architecture, marine engineering, and related fields. This division supports research in solid mechanics, structural acoustics, structural dynamics, computational mechanics, control of dynamic systems, dynamics of electric power networks, and control of acoustic and nonacoustic signatures. In addition, the division supports exploratory development of technology for ships and submarines in the following areas: structural systems, power and automation, signature control, maneuvering, and seakeeping. This division of ONR has three sets of stakeholders in its research program: the U.S. Navy, industry, and academia. Each group has different objectives and seeks somewhat different outcomes from the research. With the continuing retrenchment of the large, oceangoing commercial shipbuilding industry in the United States, the Navy has become the major customer for new ships in U.S. shipyards. About 90 percent of the shipbuilding undertaken in this country is done for the U.S. government, most of it for the Navy. The consensus is that investment in design and innovation in this sector is inhibited because “the acceptance of one failure is very low” and “there are too few opportunities for a return on that investment” (MIT 2000). This is in contrast to the commercial sector—particularly the recreational boat industry—where there is extensive innovation, although on a smaller scale (MIT 2000). The Navy’s interests are to create innovative ship concepts that can take advantage of new technologies to improve the Navy’s combat capabilities. The operational Navy wants to see more useful products in the near term and therefore has a more active interest in the applied research aspect of the ONR programs than in longer-term, more fundamental research. The major shipyards, most of which now build ships exclusively for the Navy, also depend on ONR research to develop new concepts, but find that they have little direct influence on the nature of the ONR program. These shipyards provide a major component of design today for the Navy. To the extent that the Navy expects them to introduce new technologies, the shipyards strongly support more research in applied areas of ship design, production, and new materials. A small number of universities teach ship design and naval engineering. The Navy recognizes the importance of maintaining a university infrastruc-

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Naval Engineering: Alternative Approaches for Organizing Cooperative Research ture incorporating faculty and students with expertise in the fields the Navy requires, but with the continuing decline in the shipbuilding industry, the schools are finding it difficult to maintain faculty and programs in naval architecture (MIT 2000). ONR funding of research has been a critical component of supporting the university base to educate undergraduate and graduate students. However, there is a continuing decline of engineering graduates who become the future naval engineers in government and industry. ONR has recognized a critical need to improve human capital for developing future Navy ships. Within the context of the Navy’s national defense mission, future naval and maritime capabilities depend on innovative operational systems, which, in turn, depend on creative ship designers with adequate and continuing research support. The naval environment is unique and complex, and in order to ensure U.S. superiority the Navy must maintain the following: A robust and focused research community to advance the state of the art in critical technologies, An adequate pipeline of new scientists and engineers in naval engineering disciplines, and The ability to implement advanced technology products needed by operational forces to enhance fleet performance. ONR has been concerned about the eroding base of creative ship designers and the limitations of the naval engineering research community for some time. In 1996, the Marine Board completed a study for ONR on shipbuilding technology and education that focused on the need for improved competitiveness in the U.S. shipbuilding industry and recommended that universities become more involved with the shipbuilding industry through cooperative efforts (NRC 1996). In 2000, a report prepared by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology group under ONR sponsorship examined naval engineering research and education and noted problems in maintaining an adequate research base for the future and providing the necessary educational programs and environments (MIT 2000). In addition, under ONR sponsorship, the Marine Board hosted a workshop on naval engineering research and education in May 2001 (TRB 2001). It explored multiple aspects of this problem and offered members of the involved community an opportunity to describe their concerns and present ideas that might lead to an acceptable solution. The above efforts have indicated that the existing ONR system of supporting mainly single-discipline research projects has certain limitations that may be corrected through a new institutional approach to organizing and managing research in naval engineering (ASNE 1998; NRC 2000). In October 2001, ONR decided to take national responsibility to maintain the health of

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Naval Engineering: Alternative Approaches for Organizing Cooperative Research this naval-critical science and technology area and establish the Naval Engineering National Naval Responsibility to ensure that the following objectives are achieved: “A robust research expertise is sustained in the U.S. working on long-term problems of importance to the Department of Navy (DON); An adequate pipeline of new researchers, engineers and faculty continues; ONR can continue to provide superior S&T [science and technology] in naval architecture and marine engineering.” The memorandum describing this action (ONR 2001) also calls for ONR to take the following actions: “Develop University/Industry/Laboratory Consortia for S&T in naval engineering; and Encourage Industry/University partnership for career development of future naval engineers.” The Navy’s primary goals for this initiative are to maintain and develop human capital in naval engineering and to stimulate innovation in new ship designs in order to meet future national defense needs. Among the actions called for to achieve this responsibility is the development of new cooperative research venues. ONR asked the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies to investigate and evaluate alternative approaches for organizing and managing cooperative research programs in naval engineering. ONR believes that such programs would attract talented researchers and enable stakeholders to collaborate and guide research and development of naval and maritime technology. This study is intended to provide ONR with a basis for evaluating available options and selecting the most effective approaches to meet its goal. The approaches set forth are not intended to address some of the broader issues concerning a general decline in the U.S. maritime industry; rather, they are more specifically intended to help meet the Navy’s needs for developing a more capable and effective future fleet. STUDY SCOPE AND APPROACH The committee began its review and evaluation of cooperative research programs with the assumption that a key national responsibility of ONR is to maintain a robust capability in naval engineering. This capability includes a research community that will advance the state of the art, generate an adequate pipeline of new scientists and engineers, and provide the necessary sci

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Naval Engineering: Alternative Approaches for Organizing Cooperative Research ence and technology to enhance the fleet. It also encompasses a research program that incorporates input from all stakeholders in order to establish firm links to the total ship production system. In the context of this study, naval engineering includes all arts and sciences applied in the research, development, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and logistic support of ships, submarines, support vessels and craft, combat systems, ocean structures, and related shore facilities. In its work, the committee stressed the importance of total systems aspects of the naval engineering discipline. ONR asked the study committee to identify options for structuring programs in naval engineering research to provide a venue for stakeholders to collaborate, cooperate, and guide research and development of naval and maritime technology. The committee was asked to consider how such programs could assist the Navy in maintaining and developing the human capital in naval engineering that is required to meet current and future national security needs. The committee was also asked to comment on specific proposals to revitalize the field of naval engineering and improve ship design and production. The two goals of developing human capital and revitalizing naval engineering were used by the committee to provide a foundation for evaluating how well each option for structuring a cooperative research program will serve the Navy’s needs. In its review and evaluation of cooperative research options, the committee did not reevaluate the underlying problem that was presented to it by ONR and that is supported by several previous investigations. As a starting point, the committee accepted the ONR definition of the problem because ONR had accomplished sufficient previous analyses (Bernitsas 2001; MIT 2000; NRC 1996; NRC 2000; ONR 2001; U.S. Department of Commerce 2001) and the committee did not have time within the project schedule for additional work on that aspect. These reports support ONR’s view that cooperative research offers a number of benefits that are not available through other approaches. To accommodate the sponsor’s request for an accelerated schedule, the committee also restricted this study to a description of the options and the identification of advantages and disadvantages of each option. The report thus contains findings resulting from its analyses and deliberations but does not contain conclusions or recommendations. Such an outcome provided ONR with the information it needs in a timely manner while allowing the committee to accomplish its work in a shorter time. The committee focused its efforts on identifying the possible institutional models that would provide the intended results and could be adopted to support ONR’s mission. It then identified the features of each model and analyzed whether and how these features provide the mechanisms to best address ONR’s objectives.

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Naval Engineering: Alternative Approaches for Organizing Cooperative Research As a starting point for identifying models and their features, the committee asked each of the various stakeholders to present what they considered to be the most appropriate cooperative research organizational approach. Several of these stakeholders presented proposals to the committee and described their views on key attributes that would address ONR’s objectives. The committee took these presentations into account in its process of identifying appropriate models but did not specifically evaluate the individual proposals. Because of the short time frame for the study, the committee relied heavily on past work and expertise of the industry, government, and academic communities represented by stakeholders who addressed the committee in presentations and who provided additional information and documentation. (See Appendix A.) The committee also relied heavily on the expertise of its membership to render judgments based on a broad range of experience and education. REFERENCES Abbreviations ASNE American Society of Naval Engineers MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology NRC National Research Council ONR Office of Naval Research TRB Transportation Research Board ASNE. 1998. Preserving Our Naval Engineering Capability. Naval Engineers Journal, May. Bernitsas, M. 2001. Marine Research Center (MRC) for Advanced Ship Design. White paper. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. MIT. 2000. Naval Engineering—A National Naval Obligation. Cambridge, Mass. NRC. 1996. Shipbuilding Technology and Education. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. NRC. 2000. An Assessment of Naval Hydrodynamics Science and Technology. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. ONR. 2001. National Naval Program for Naval Engineering. Memorandum. Washington, D.C. TRB. 2001. Workshop on Naval Engineering Research and Education. www.nationalacademies.org/trb/publications/MarineBoard/NavalEngineering.pdf. U.S. Department of Commerce. 2001. National Security Assessment of the U.S. Shipbuilding and Repair Industry. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.

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