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77 6 Summary Assessment and Advice At the request of the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the study committee reviewed the state of the National Naval Responsibility for Naval Engineer- ing (NNR-NE) program. Accordingly, the three previous chapters assess and provide advice on the three pillars of the program: technical research, workforce, and institutional infrastructure. The assessment and advice were informed by the committeeâs many consultations with ONR and Navy leadership, other U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) officials, fleet repre- sentatives, industry performers, and academic researchers. The committee also reviewed strategic Navy documents that consider the relevance of the science and technology (S&T) portfolio within the context of a rapidly changing, global technology ecosystem. Because of these consultations and document reviews, the committee gained a stronger understanding of the vast and varied set of technologies that constitute and influence the future of naval engineering (NE). It also developed a stronger appreciation of the need for a highly skilled and talented workforce to implement the NNR-NE research agenda. The review in this report was conducted in large part by applying a âlead, leverage, and monitorâ framework to consider ONRâs programming and prioritization of its efforts to further the NNR-NEâs three pillars. The framework was proposed to help guide ONRâs choices about when the NNR-NE should take the lead in ensuring that research, workforce, and R&D infrastructure needs essential to ensuring that naval-critical platform capabilities are met. It was also proposed as a strategic tool for inform- ing NNR-NEâs choices about when it should leverage the work of others to help meet these critical needs, and thus to formally recognize a shared
78 TOWARD NEW NAVAL PLATFORMS responsibility to transition and adapt S&T innovations across a wide spec- trum for use in the NE enterprise. Additionally, the framework is seen as a way to inform choices about when resources should be devoted to monitor- ing S&T developments within and outside the Navy (e.g., in DOD generally and in the commercial sectors of the United States and abroad), especially in areas that could prove disruptive to Navy operations or to the countryâs NE technical advantage. Carried out for each of the three pillars in Chapters 3, 4, and 5, the âlead, leverage, and monitorâ review provided a testbed for the use of the framework to guide ONRâs vision for and implementation of the NNR-NE. Indeed, after having reviewed the NNR-NEâs three pillars using this frame- work, the committee recommends that ONR use the framework for guiding its choices for each pillar. Table 6-1 provides a compilation of the committeeâs application of the framework for each pillar. In offering these examples, the committee recognizes that as critical naval interests and S&T topics evolve, the subject matter of the cells in Table 6-1 may change, including some mov- ing from one category to another. Many of the findings in the chapters reflect positively on ONRâs execu- tion of the NNR-NE. For instance, interest in NE-relevant science, technol- ogy, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education has increased over time, and a minimal physical experimental infrastructure for NE R&D has been sustained for full-scale testing at the Navyâs Warfare Centers and for smaller-scale testing at an array of academic institutions, despite cost and security availability concerns. At the same time, the frameworkâs application surfaced some chal- lenges to the longer-term NE enterprise and the impact of the NNR-NE program. Technology developments and innovations across a wide range of S&T fields have evolved the NE enterprise, presenting critical choices for ONR as it prioritizes its NNR-NE research, workforce, and infrastructure investments. Increased competition for STEM talent in a technology-driven economy threatens the quality and quantity of the future NE workforce. ONR must therefore be astute in its efforts to sustain and develop the NE workforce, especially in technical areas where the Navy has unique needs. Additionally, the U.S.-based experimental infrastructure for NE is at risk of eroding due to a smaller number of researchers having to bear the high cost of constructing, operating, and maintaining physical facilities as more NE researchers make use of lower cost options such as modeling and simulation. In cases where the United States must maintain a physical experimental capability to meet the Navyâs special NE needs, the NNR-NE needs a comprehensive strategy to ensure the availability and suitability of this capability. After having applied the âlead, leverage, and monitorâ framework to the individual pillars of the NNR-NE program, the committee believes the
SUMMARY ASSESSMENT AND ADVICE 79 TABLE 6-1 Example Application of the âLead, Leverage, and Monitorâ Framework Within and Across the Three Pillars of the NNR-NE Lead Leverage Monitor Research and Development â¢ Platform hydrodynamics â¢ Platform structures and materials â¢ Platform propulsion â¢ Platform power â¢ Platform systems design â¢ Platform control and maneuverability â¢ Platform innovations integration and affordability â¢ Autonomy and robotics â¢ Data science and artificial intelligence â¢ Advanced sensors â¢ Cybersecurity â¢ Communications â¢ Power systems and power electronics â¢ Advanced materials and manufacturing â¢ Multidisciplinary design optimization â¢ Humanâmachine interface â¢ Quantum science and computing â¢ Alternative energy resources â¢ Undersea resource utilization and extraction â¢ Nanotechnology â¢ Biomaterials â¢ Synthetic biology â¢ Cognitive science â¢ Climate change Workforce â¢ Inspire naval engineering education and attraction of talent â¢ Sponsor naval engineering experiential learning and training via university grants that include undergraduate and graduate students â¢ Sponsor Kâ12 programs and other outreach programs relevant to naval engineering (NE) â¢ Sponsor student internships at relevant Navy and U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) facilities â¢ Sponsor NE faculty internships and sabbaticals at relevant government (and possibly industry) facilities â¢ Navy and DOD scholarships, fellowships, and internships toward NE education â¢ Industry internships â¢ Government and industry faculty sabbaticals in NE- relevant settings â¢ United States and international science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) competitions reflecting future NE challenges â¢ Developments in STEM outreach and training programs in the United States and overseas â¢ Technology developers external to DOD, including international sources, with a view to keeping training programs supported by the Office of Naval Research up to date, as well as identifying potential experiential learning opportunities Infrastructure â¢ User group of academic researchers using Warfare Center infrastructure â¢ Consortium of National Naval Responsibility for Naval Engineering university facilities â¢ Warfare Center facilities â¢ Commercial sector test centers â¢ Private and other government infrastructure â¢ DOD high-performance computing â¢ Test capabilities and access provided by international facilities
80 TOWARD NEW NAVAL PLATFORMS same basic framework can be used strategically for making choices both within and across the NNR-NE portfolio, as exemplified in Table 6-2. The committee therefore recommends that ONR should adopt a âlead, lever- age, and monitorâ framework for the strategic programming, prioritiza- tion, and integration of NNR-NE investments both within and across the R&D, workforce, and infrastructure pillars (Recommendation 6-1). Used in this way, this framework can signal to NNR-NE program leaders when they should reallocate resources among the three pillars and also when they should seek high-level support from ONR to supplement portfolio resources. The recommended âlead, leverage, and monitorâ construct can also be used to assess the programâs progress and accomplishments at a strategic, program-oriented level. However, the frameworkâs use in this way will re- quire impact-oriented metrics that are tracked on a multi-year basis. While the metrics collected today can be good indicators of the activity within a given research program (i.e., number of papers, patents, graduate students supported) or trends relevant to a given pillar (e.g., test facility rate of utilization, cost per day), they do not necessarily provide a measure of the programâs effectiveness in sustaining and advancing the NE enterprise over a longer time frame to meet the needs of the future Navy. An example of an impact metric identified in this report is workforce retention statistics for NE R&D talent. Ideally, these impact metrics would be accompanied TABLE 6-2 The âLead, Leverage, Monitorâ Framework as a Strategic, Responsibility Matrix for the NNR-NE Program Lead Leverage Monitor R&D Content Set research scope, priorities, and performance metrics. Fund and manage programs Become an agile adopter through program partnering across the Office of Naval Research and elsewhere Engage, follow, and incorporate emerging relevant technologies Workforce Sponsor/Inspire National Naval Responsibility for Naval Engineering (NNR-NE) education and talent Foster NE perspective in U.S. science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs Track relevant STEM activities, trends, and products R&D Infrastructure Ensure quality and availability of critical NNR-NE computational and experimental infrastructure Facilitate access to novel infrastructure capabilities Maintain awareness of relevant international infrastructure and trends
SUMMARY ASSESSMENT AND ADVICE 81 by leading metrics, such as the number of undergraduate students choos- ing majors in NE and related disciplines, to provide an earlier indication of program successes, opportunities, and challenges. Additional metrics could assist in the evaluation of the NNR-NE portfolio: â¢ Research Potential: The number of graduate students (Ph.D., masterâs), the number of cleared students â¢ Research Impact: Tech transition to Innovative Naval Prototype, Future Naval Capabilities, Program of Record, and Small Business Innovation Research â¢ Workforce Impact: The number of funded students transitioning to NE roles in government, military, academia, or industry â¢ Workforce Flexibility: The number of students pursuing STEM (not NE) degrees on NE projects â¢ Workforce Longevity: Average number of years students remain in NE (or related) positions Such impact metrics would be helpful for informing ONRâs required third-party reviews of the NNR-NE program. The committee believes that such external reviews are critical to ensuring the programâs portfolio is aligned with evolving Navy needs and has the appropriate completeness, breadth, and depth. However, as the technological landscape evolves at a faster and faster pace, this also implies that the external reviews should be conducted on a commensurate time scale if the results are to be used to inform decisions about needed changes to the program. Therefore, the com- mittee recommends that ONR should consider leveraging a body of diverse experts to serve in a periodic advisory capacity. Ideally, the full NNR-NE portfolio, including its classified elements, would be reviewed at intervals of no more than 3 to 4 years using the framework described earlier. This review body would ideally consist of individuals from the S&T community, the Systems Commands and operational Navy, and the platform-building and platform systems sectors to bring a range of expertise and perspectives on S&T capabilities, operational and workforce needs, and the transition of innovations to naval platforms. Given its understanding of evolving Navy needs, this multidisciplinary group could assess and enhance NNR-NE research in a variety of ways on varying S&T time scales (Recommenda- tion 6-2). The committee is pleased to have had the opportunity to provide this second external and independent review of the NNR-NE. The recommen- dations offered in this report are intended to be constructive and to provide the succinct, actionable advice that ONR needs to support its efforts to ensure the NNR-NE achieves its vital mission in fast-changing S&T and operational environments.