Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic’s recently established Palmetto Tech Bridge (PTB) hosted an opening event aimed at presenting future innovation opportunities to industry and academic partners, Jan. 7 at the College of Charleston.
The PTB is the sixth bridge established under the Naval Agility Office (NavalX) office since Sept. 3.
“NIWC Atlantic is the naval component of this tech bridge,” said Peter C. Reddy, NIWC Atlantic executive director. “We’re always working to strengthen that connection between our traditional defense industry partners, but also expand our ecosystem by working with small businesses, startups and academia to come up with novel ways to solve warfighters’ problems.”
Michael Merriken, PTB director, described the mechanisms that will operate the tech bridge. In his remarks, he explained the team’s intent to use existing processes, procedures, acquisition tools and funds in a more effective way.
“Our goal here is to build this innovation ecosystem to the point where we become a center of excellence around the country,” said Merriken. “We will select difficult technology challenges in the areas of cyber security, autonomous systems, communications (5G), and advanced manufacturing. Using an agile innovation pipeline development process, the PTB will develop dual-use solutions to these challenges to meet both national defense needs and enhance the region’s economic strength with innovative commercial products.”
One way the PTB plans to allocate resources is through the Information Warfare Research Project (IWRP), a consortium of industry partners that collaborate with each other in many technology areas.
During the event, NIWC Atlantic Agreements Officer Lisa Rosenbaum spoke about additional procurement resources including prize challenges, grants, small business innovation research funding mechanisms, purchase order requests, cooperative agreements and partnership intermediary agreements.
Robin Rourk, NIWC Atlantic small business director, spoke on existing Department of Defense strategy in the area of small business and the necessity of advancing capabilities with cutting-edge technology.
“Small business is an important piece of innovation and collaboration in order to get what we need to the warfighter quickly,” Rourk said.
The PTB is looking at the Navy’s afloat mission as its first technical focus area with industry and academic partners. Ship commanders asked NIWC Atlantic scientists to create a more effective way to operate, maintain and troubleshoot the new and complex shipboard computer networks and systems, according to Richard Anderson, chief scientist of NIWC Atlantic command, control, communications, computers and intelligence department.
“The PTB is looking at the possible solutions, to include a network and data center intelligence assistant that will have multiple functions to support the shipboard warfighter,” said Merriken.
Over the next several months, the tech bridge partners will discuss innovative solutions to this technology challenge and other topics relevant to the warfighter. For updates and information on PTB events, visit https://www.public.navy.mil/navwar/Atlantic/Pages/PalmettoTechBridge.aspx.
As a part of Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, NIWC Atlantic provides systems engineering and acquisition to deliver information warfare capabilities to the naval, joint and national warfighter through the acquisition, development, integration, production, test, deployment, and sustainment of interoperable command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, cyber and information technology capabilities.
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