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Navy’s Michael Stewart Is Intent on Changing How the Service Fields New Technology

At the 100th anniversary celebration of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in the fall, Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro announced the establishment of a new enterprise: the Disruptive Capabilities Office. This endeavor is meant to reconfigure and accelerate the research-to-implementation pipeline for new technologies. And not just any technologies, but ones that can meaningfully make an impact on warfighters’ missions.

Helming this new venture is Michael Stewart, a longtime Navy civilian executive who has served in roles like director of business transformation and deputy director of integrated warfare as well as chaired committees at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a.k.a. NATO, not to mention working for Boeing.

Pending final confirmation, Stewart is slated to deliver a keynote address at the Potomac Officers Club’s 2024 Navy Summit. Every year, this exciting event brings together government contracting’s best and brightest to hear from the most influential Navy officials. Don’t miss out! Join us on August 15 at the Hilton-McLean in Virginia.

The Disruptive Capabilities Office, or DCO, is modeled after the Unmanned Task Force, dubbed UTF, a covert operation that Stewart also headed up from 2021 to 2023. UTF was presented with problem areas or gaps that needed filling regarding threats in Russia and China and hunted for unmanned tech that might dissipate or mitigate the situation.

“We were buying down risk very, very quickly, and we could demonstrate it in an operational setting very quickly,” Stewart noted of the program.

Previewing the DCO, 2024 Wash100 Award winner Del Toro said, “It will look very much like the Unmanned Task Force in the beginning, until we actually start expanding the different topics and issues we’re going to be working in the Disruptive Capabilities Office.”

He also said that starting out, the DCO is going to be primarily concerned with taking stock of the Navy’s unmanned technology arsenal and making sure it’s matched up with “the right operational requirement.” After that, it will branch outward to new challenges and other up-and-coming technologies.

Secretary Del Toro has ambitiously framed the DCO as the Navy’s contribution to the DOD’s Replicator movement, which aims to produce thousands of “attritable autonomous systems” by the end of 2025.

Hear more about the goals and game plan of the DCO at Potomac Officers Club’s 2024 Navy Summit, where the office’s director, Michael Stewart will deliver a keynote address. Save a spot today! All of the top GovCon companies are sending representatives and it’s an invaluable opportunity to ask Navy officials your most burning questions.

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