Expanding relationships with non-traditional industry partners to tackle naval needs. Spurring innovative research to improve maintenance and sustainment of naval assets. Bolstering the national response to COVID-19.
Since its establishment last year, the Department of the Navy’s (DoN) Tech Bridges initiative has harnessed collaboration and creativity to address naval concerns and capabilities. It’s been so successful that the Naval Agility Office (NavalX) recently announced the creation of six new Tech Bridge locations—doubling the number to 12.
“I’m proud how much NavalX [and Tech Bridges] have accomplished in their first year in support of the Navy and Marine Corps team,” said the Hon. James Geurts, assistant secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition, who also oversees NavalX. “They have accelerated the rapid adoption of proven, agility-enhancing methods. They did this collaboratively, with great support and partnership from the DON’s research, development and acquisition teams, industry, and state and local governments.
“The doubling of Tech Bridge locations exponentially scales this network, enabling us to get new capabilities and solutions into the hands of our Sailors and Marines,” Geurts continued.
A partnership between the Office of Naval Research (ONR), NavalX and all naval systems commands, Tech Bridges are regional innovation hubs where warfare centers, government, academia and industry can team up and work together on technology research, evaluation and commercialization—as well as economic and workforce development.
Tech Bridges build on the mission of NavalX, which is intended to give Sailors, Marines and DoN civilians the tools to deliver ideas into action. This enables naval organizations like ONR to better connect warfighters who have innovative ideas with experts who can experiment with those ideas, invest in them, or help turn them into something tangible for the Navy and Marine Corps.
The six new Tech Bridges are located in the Washington, D.C., region; Patuxent River, Maryland; Hampton Roads, Virginia; and Corona, Monterey and Ventura in California. They join existing hubs in Rhode Island, Washington, California, Florida, Indiana and South Carolina.
The hubs connect and sustain “acceleration ecosystems” in off-base locations across the DoN, fostering greater collaboration. This is done by partnering with colleges and universities, research institutions, start-ups, corporations, small businesses and non-profits, among others.
Each Tech Bridge is supported by NavalX and operates on a “franchise” model that facilitates projects in its respective region—efforts designed to solve pressing problems and technology needs identified by the fleet and DON workforce.
Notable successes in the past year include funding $45 million in projects to solve naval problems; awarding more than $2 million in prize challenges to non-traditional industry partners; sponsoring $37.5 million in small business innovation research targeting maintenance and sustainment; and helping to distribute over $800,000 to COVID-19 response efforts.
“The new Tech Bridge locations bring in a deeper connection to the fleet, rapid prototyping mechanisms and the access to talented naval students at the Naval Postgraduate School,” said Cmdr. Sam Gray, Tech Bridges director. “We have seen this network mobilize during the COVID-19 national crisis and are excited to watch them strengthen and serve our country during times of peace and otherwise, in the future.”
Learn more about NavalX and Tech Bridges at:
Warren Duffie Jr. is a contractor for ONR Corporate Strategic Communications.