The committee also recommends that Code 353 personnel attend reviews of Army S&T programs, participate in the appropriate inter-Service technology coordination forums, and seek to leverage other government and industry sources of technology.
One means of communicating needs is by conversation; another is to introduce the relevant Marine and ONR officials to each other. Members of the committee were favorably impressed by the April 2000 3-day “Open Space Meeting” at which 50 Marine Corps technology users from MCWL, Marine Corps Systems Command, and elsewhere interacted with 90 Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) technologists to learn from each other about mutual opportunities and needs.
The committee believes that what apparently worked well with NRL could work well with NRL’s parent organization, ONR, although NRL has the advantage of having gadgets to demonstrate. Group interactions need to be well planned and supported; the success of the NRL interaction was doubtless a result in part of the diligent work of the Marine Corps contingent at NRL and in part of the support of the concept by senior officials at NRL and at the Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Quantico, Virginia.
Code 353 should plan a major group interaction between ONR program officers, ONR-supported researchers, and Marine Corps technology users, and, if the plan appears sound, ONR senior management should ensure the participation of a wide spectrum of ONR program and scientific officers.
The criticisms of the Code 353 program throughout this report may dishearten some ONR readers, but the committee wants to point out that it recognizes the circumstances that led to the current program and also that many of these circumstances represent opportunities. The establishment of MCWL provided a venue for verifying the payoff of improved technology. The transfer of management of the S&T program to ONR provides a current opportunity to purify it of system engineering/technical assistance and preacquisition activities. The initiation of FNCs will provide an opportunity to refocus the Code 353 S&T program toward new and technologically exciting directions. Perhaps most significantly, the people of Code 353 have an opportunity to go beyond managing the official Marine Corps S&T program and to influence the much larger Navy S&T program so that it will be of greater benefit to the Corps.