Box 2-2 The Office of Naval Research and Major Oceanographic Research Programs

(Provided by Melbourne Briscoe, ONR)

ONR's Mission

ONR's mission is to support long-range research, foster discovery, nurture future generations of researchers, produce new technologies that meet known naval requirements, and provide order-of-magnitude innovations in fields relevant to the future Navy and Marine Corps. Primary emphasis is the ''navy after next," meaning most science and technology (S&T) investments are aimed at a 3-5 year minimum horizon, with 10-20 years not being unusual and even 20-30 years being possible.

ONR Involvement in Major Oceanographic Programs

In ocean sciences the main programmatic areas in ONR are physical oceanography; biological/chemical oceanography; marine geology and geophysics; environmental optics; high latitude dynamics; marine meteorology and atmospheric effects; ocean modeling and prediction; coastal dynamics; ocean acoustics; ocean engineering and marine systems; remote sensing and space; undersea signal processing; sensors, sources, and arrays; tactical sensing support; sensing-information dominance; and research facilities (especially ships).

Outside ONR there has been, or now is, involvement with essentially all the major oceanographic programs since the early days of IDOE. ONR support for the major oceanographic programs falls into four main categories:


    precursor program support, meaning financial support of investigators, instrumentation development, and workshops that ultimately leads to the formation of a major oceanographic program or to the technical capability to implement one;


    direct performance support, meaning financial support of investigators (or infrastructure, like steering committees) either directly or through the major oceanographic program processes/agencies;


    collateral performance support, meaning financial support of investigators or infrastructure but for related science and technology that is not specifically part of the science plans of the major oceanographic program; and


    post-program support, meaning financial support of investigators or infrastructure addressing problems, synthesis, wrap-up, and extensions that is designed to exploit maximum value from the program (after a major oceanographic program is officially over), and/or to move an S&T topic into some area of applied interest to our naval forces.

    Value of Program Results to ONR

    ONR supports the breadth of ocean science, with some emphasis on ocean acoustics and ocean predictability, including observations and the tools to do them. The major oceanographic programs (and their smaller brethren; see below) are good vehicles to enable interdisciplinary work, focus on specific problems, develop new observing technologies, and acquire meaningful data sets.

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