More than 150 data science professionals from the Department of the Navy (DON) attended to share information, baseline current efforts, identify key technology growth areas and gaps, and collaboratively plan for the future.
Robert Keisler, SSC Atlantic data science and analytics senior science and technology manager, opened the workshop by explaining that the National Defense Strategy specifies big data, data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning and related capabilities will shape how the United States fights and wins future wars.
“This workshop is centered on strengthening the naval data science community,” Keisler said. “Data science professionals want to make connections and develop a community. It’s important we know our roles and responsibilities for the Department of Defense.”
Keynote speaker Margie Palmieri, Navy Digital Warfare Office (DWO) director, discussed DWO’s efforts in exploring how to apply data analytics to warfighting readiness issues. She explained how three digital pilot projects involving aviation, surface ships and personnel showed that applying analytics to data produced specific desired outcomes for issues that were not solved by a traditional approach.
“I’m excited that you’ve brought together data scientists from Navy organizations to collaborate and share information,” said Palmieri. “It's a milestone for the Navy. Everything with data science has to start with outcome – the mission. Then we use analytics to help us improve execution of that mission."
Todd Balazs, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) digital integration officer, discussed NAVAIR’s digital strategy and how it will produce outcomes such as reduced manual effort, decreased overhead, near-real-time data, improved decision quality, and accelerated internal business operations and capabilities to the fleet.
“We must replace the current sustainment model, transition to model-based engineering and democratize the workforce,” said Balazs. “We have to change the organizational construct to an agile environment.”
During the three-day event, employees from a variety of agencies participated in a number of panel discussions and technology sessions about sensing, decision aids, modeling and simulation and predictive analytics. Participants discussed the challenges of readiness, business, warfighting and workforce development – and stressed the importance of cross-NR&DE collaboration in these and other areas to improve capabilities. They agreed on a need to educate leaders in participating organizations about what data science is, and to work together to develop a common lexicon and standards across organizations.
SSC Atlantic Executive Director Christopher Miller reviewed the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command perspective on data science. He discussed how the pace of technology is accelerating, and said we’re overwhelmed with data and trying to keep up with technology.
“Data science is about impacting decision-making and addressing critical mission and enterprise questions,” Miller said. “We need to revolutionize decision-making and accelerate the Navy workforce into the age of automation.”
Miller said SSC Atlantic’s advanced analytics and data science efforts apply in many areas, and its employees need to collaborate across the Navy to build robust partnerships, since every activity struggles with the same concerns.
Other data science and analytics leaders from across the DON discussed how data science is being applied in their organizations.
Tam Nguyen, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) digital officer described NAVSEA’s digital transformation and how she’s helping accelerate it, and Dr. Ryan Zelnio, Office of Naval Research (ONR) chief analytics officer, reviewed ONR’s artificial intelligence projects. Dr. Dale Moore, director, strategy and innovation, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development, Test and Evaluation), talked about the data analytics transformation, and said data and analytics is the basis of everything since the U.S. is committed to being the artificial intelligence global leader by 2030.
Dr. Luke Overbey, SSC Atlantic data science and analytics science and technology lead, directed the final workshop session, presenting a technology roadmap and the way forward to collaborate and develop an NR&DE data science community of practice.
SSC 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, communication, computers, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, cyber and information technology capabilities.