development of needed improvements to existing weapon systems as well as whether it was examining imaginative solutions to existing problems and was exploring possible solutions for emerging problems and future needs. In addition to assessing the relevance of ONR's ASWT program components to present and perceived naval needs, the committee also tried to determine if the supporting science and technology (S&T) (6.1 and 6.2) work pursued by ONR's Naval Expeditionary Warfare Science and Technology Department was at the forefront of technology in the fields involved, and the committee attempted to determine the degree to which ONR and its principal investigators were aware of or involved with similar work done elsewhere.

GENERAL OBSERVATIONS

Favorable Aspects of the ONR ASWT Program.

Generally, most elements of the ASWT program were coupled to stated Navy and Marine Corps future needs, and specific opportunities for transitioning technology into naval weapon system development programs were considered in order that meaningful, exploitable technology development could be ready in time for introduction into these programs. In many cases, knowledge of parallel developments in other services or agencies was evident. The program also exhibited cooperation with industry and leveraging of industry independent research and development (IR&D). Also, the program components, for the most part, looked at the right time frame—far enough into the future without being futuristic. Although specific comments on individual program components are made in Chapter 2, the committee notes here its though that the work on enhancements of the hybrid gun missile (extended-range guided missile [ERGM]) at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Dahlgren, which could be transferable to a pure missile system, was particularly noteworthy.

To overcome the inability to fund important program components adequately because available money must be spread over too large an area, ONR has recently adopted a top-level strategy of concentrating funding on specific, highly important naval capability shortfalls. These areas of funding concentration are called “spikes.” Some of the ASWT program components seemed to be in “spike” areas (e.g., time-critical strike) and some (e.g., Global Positioning System [GPS] and integrated high-performance turbine engine technology) did not. The impact of the “spike” approach was not elaborated in the presentations made to the committee. Even though it will reduce funding in some areas now pursued, the “spike” approach was regarded by the committee as a good strategy that affords opportunities to accomplish important advances in a reasonable period of time in selected technologies.

ONR also recognizes that in certain areas other organizations (including industry) spend considerably more money than ONR can afford, and therefore ONR has elected not to do work in those areas. ONR, on the other hand, is funding efforts in areas important to the Navy and Marine Corps where other organizations are not likely to expend much effort. For example, traditionally the technology of air-to-air weaponry guidance and control, aerodynamics, and airframe technology has been developed by industry. On the other hand, to a large extent, warhead and propulsion technologies are not funded by industry. In these respects ONR's contributions are well invested.

The committee also noted that several recommendations of the ONR Board of Visitors (BOV) review group were implemented,1 to the general benefit of the ONR ASWT program. Among these were relating the ONR program to specific naval needs and attempting to identify transition opportunities.

1  

 See “Other Issues” following the next section.



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