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Expanding the Uses of Naval Ocean Science and Technology
The amount of transferable technology in the coatings area (see Table D6 and Table D7 in Appendix D), though already significant, is likely to increase because of regulatory constraints and the high-quality research supported by ONR. ONR also supports research on corrosion inhibitors and anodic protection (passivity) at NRL and several universities. Several additional projects sponsored through ONR’s Small Business Innovation Research program involve possible sensor technology for detecting various forms of localized corrosion in marine environments. The potential for technology transfer should increase in the future because of (1) the environmental concerns mentioned above (e.g., how Navy activities affect the environment or workplace), and (2) the Navy’s continued desire to prolong the life of ship systems in the extreme conditions of the marine environment.
The high-quality, scientific research and the technology development supported by ONR are an important component of the Navy’s efforts to maintain combat readiness and tactical advantage. The committee recognizes that R&D supported by ONR is of vital importance for fleet effectiveness and national defense. Many of the marine research efforts described above, and the expertise they represent, do not exist outside ONR-supported programs. It is, therefore, unfortunate that few of the products discussed thus far have been successfully transferred to the nonmilitary sector. Much of the value has yet to be discovered by the commercial user. Tangible products are generally the first to be transferred, although slowly. Despite an apparent broadening of customer need for hardware and for interpreted information, there is no formal mechanism in place to transfer models and information to users outside the defense industry.