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CHIPS Articles: Fleet Focus: Agility Summit Seeks Creative Solutions to Naval Challenges

Fleet Focus: Agility Summit Seeks Creative Solutions to Naval Challenges
By Warren Duffie Jr., Office of Naval Research - July 17, 2020
ARLINGTON, Va.—Improving how emerging technologies are identified to meet urgent warfighter needs, and accelerating technology transition to the fleet. Identifying military and civilian personnel in the naval workforce and Naval Research and Development Establishment (NR&DE), who are taking unique and successful approaches to innovation.

These are some of the issues the NavalX Agility Cell, or NavalX, will tackle during its Agility Summit on Sept. 21-25 in Alexandria, Virginia. The event will be hosted by NavalX and supported by multiple partners, including the Office of Naval Research (ONR).

“The purpose of the Agility Summit is to foster meaningful discussions and collaboration that will have a lasting impact on the Navy and Marine Corps,” said the Hon. James Geurts, assistant secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition, who created NavalX. “It will give us a greater understanding of the tools and talent we have to identify performance gaps and opportunities for greater efficiency.”

NavalX enables collaboration; accelerates the pace of discovery, learning and experimentation; and fosters the naval workforce’s capacity for innovation and agility. It gives Sailors, Marines and Department of the Navy (DON) civilians valuable tools for solving problems and translating ideas into actionable solutions.

This enables naval organizations like ONR to better serve warfighter needs by connecting individuals promoting 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 upcoming Agility Summit is designed to build partnerships in the DoN on matters of innovation, acquisition and transition—to share best practices and discuss problems facing the fleet. It will highlight innovation success stories and discuss future efforts through presentations and workshops.

The centerpiece of the Agility Summit will be an educational “agility challenge” involving 10 student teams invited from the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), Naval War College (NWC) and Marine Corps University (MCU). The teams will work to solve pressing naval problems.

“An event like the Agility Summit enables those in the NR&DE to benefit from the creativity and dynamic thinking of the next generation of Navy and Marine Corps leaders,” said Dr. Rich Carlin, ONR’s director of technology-acceleration programs. “The students participating in the challenge will demonstrate the vision and ideas required to keep our nation ahead of its adversaries in the great power competition we currently face.”

NPS, NWC and MCU student teams can visit a designated website to learn about fleet issues and challenges, choose one to address and apply to compete at the Agility Summit. The closing date for student submissions and applications is July 31, and the final 10 teams will be chosen during the week of Aug. 7. Selected teams will receive funding to travel to the NavalX facility in Alexandria, Virginia.

For more information, email or visit the application and registration page.

People can attend the summit both physically and virtually. In-person attendees will wear masks and practice social distancing.

During the Agility Summit, the student teams will receive detailed briefs about their respective naval problems, brainstorm solutions and pitch their ideas to a panel of judges to include Geurts and Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Lorin C. Selby.

The winning teams will receive 10 weeks of follow-on support and access to requirement holders, end users and subject matter experts at warfare centers and naval labs to develop their ideas. Afterward, the teams will present their prototypes or proofs of concept to Geurts, Selby and other naval stakeholders.

Learn more about NavalX at

Warren Duffie Jr. is a contractor for ONR Corporate Strategic Communications.

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