The Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition (ASN (RD&A)), James “Hondo” Geurts, announced the launch of the first five regional Tech Bridges Sept. 3 to include Southern California; Newport, Rhode Island; Keyport, Washington; Orlando, Florida, and Crane, Indiana.
Geurts established the NavalX Agility Office in February 2019 to connect both internal and external partners for increased awareness and access to best practices and technologies.
The NavalX mission to empower the Navy’s workforce with agility tools that enable flexibility and drive accelerated outcomes directly aligns with NAVWAR’s strategic objective to accelerate and streamline delivery of information warfighting capabilities.
“None of us are as smart as all of us. It is imperative that we engage and collaborate with partners across the Navy, industry and academia to accelerate delivery of cutting-edge capabilities – even faster than speed of relevance.” said NAVWAR Commander Rear Adm. Christian Becker. “We must be able anticipate the need and get ‘to market’ early. The regional Tech Bridges will allow us to lean forward and harness innovation and agility to outpace our adversaries.”
The Tech Bridges will connect, reinforce and sustain regional ecosystems of innovation and tie them into a national network. They will provide a physical space to unite non-traditional partners such as start-ups, academia, corporations, small businesses, non-profits, private capital and other government entities.
The SoCal Tech Bridge was selected largely due to San Diego’s concentration of Naval forces. The Southern California region encompasses a robust technology development and innovation ecosystem already aligned to Navy and Marine Corps interests.
Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Pacific will serve as the SoCal Tech Bridge anchor or facilitator bringing together resources and expertise including industry and academia relations, financial management, contracts, legal, engineering and more.
“We will be identifying an off-base facility to be used for collaborative workshops and events taking advantage of human-centered design and lean start-up facilitation techniques,” said Josh Caplan, NIWC Pacific NavalX SoCal Tech Bridge director. "The goal is to have a low barrier-to-entry environment for innovative problem solving, with NIWC Pacific facilitating these engagements and fleet representatives defining the operational challenge areas.”
Additionally, NAVWAR Headquarters will provide leadership oversight and technical guidance and the Program Executive Offices will provide technology transition pathways and acquisition assistance.
“The SoCal ecosystem is mission ready and Fleet focused,” said Carly Jackson NAVWAR Science and Technology Competency lead. “NAVWAR has a long, proud history of working with small and non-traditional partners to develop and deliver advanced information-based technologies to the fleet, and will bring that experience and momentum to the Tech Bridge.”
Other organizations supporting the SoCal Tech Bridge include Naval Special Warfare Command, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, University of San Diego California, National Security Innovation Network and more.
The NavalX Tech Bridge concept is new and continuously evolving. These first five regional Tech Bridge locations are only the beginning. As other locations are identified, they will be added to the larger Tech Bridge ecosystem, where together they will connect, reinforce and sustain regional ecosystems of innovation into a national network.