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A Look Into the Navy’s Collaboration Priorities

The Department of the Navy has set its course for modernization with the recent release of several long-term strategies. Though progress has been made, the DON needs “the brainpower and the muscle of industry and academia” to continue expanding its repertoire of advanced technologies, according to Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro, a 2024 Wash100 awardee.

You will have the opportunity to get an in-depth look into current Navy priorities at the Potomac Officers Club’s 2024 Navy Summit on August 15. This event will convene top Navy officials and industry leaders to weigh in on key challenges and opportunities the Navy is facing today. To learn more and secure your spot at the summit, click here.

During AFCEA WEST 2024 in February, Del Toro stressed the need for more shipbuilders to support the DON’s long-term modernization push. Within the next 10 years, he said, the Navy will require 150,000 new shipbuilders to maintain the service branch’s fleets.

“We need greater investment in our commercial and naval shipbuilding industry, if we are to build a more lethal and a bigger Navy, and we need to start that journey now,” he noted.

The expertise, time and resources of commercial and academic partners, said Del Toro, “are vital for developing the cutting-edge technologies that we need.”

One way the Navy has reached out to academia is by providing funding for the Center of Excellence for Manufacturing and the Trades at the York County Community College within Maine’s community college network. The investment is intended to expand the defense industry within the state – which hosts multiple bases and shipbuilding facilities – and help revitalize the Navy’s submarine industrial base.

Partnerships are also a major component of the 2024 Naval Science and Technology Strategy. Released in April, the plan aims to enhance “scientific diplomacy” and views partnerships as a long term effort that requires “committed collaboration from both sides to build trust and confidence” over time.

“As our Department continues to re-imagine and refocus our innovation efforts, I encourage all of you – our Nation’s scientists, engineers, researchers, inventors, entrepreneurs and problem solvers – to join us,” Del Toro said in the strategy.

The November 2023 DON Cyber Strategy includes seven lines of effort, two of which are focused on collaboration. One of these objectives – partnering to secure the defense industrial base – takes into account Navy data that is stored on industry systems. To enhance the security of industry networks, the DON intends to simplify compliance frameworks while developing tools that offer “real-time protections and insight” into the ways commercial organizations are safeguarding Navy data. This line of effort also factors in supply chain cybersecurity and contract language.

Fostering cooperation and collaboration, the second collaboration-based goal of the strategy, seeks to encourage cooperation with federal stakeholders, increase engagement and information sharing with nongovernmental organizations and utilize existing alliances and partnerships.

Get even more insights into DON priorities at the 2024 Navy Summit. Register here.

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