Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Gary Roughead visited the Office of Naval Research (ONR) June 13 and spoke about the vital role he sees science and technology playing within the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, and how ONR and the Naval Research Enterprise are poised to bring about the "next big thing."
"This, I believe, is the organization that will be able to deliver that for the Navy," said Roughead. "Because you have the insights, you have the intellect, you have the tentacles that reach out into the organizations that produce the types of ideas and technologies that will give the Navy the next big thing. And the next big thing really does come from you ... from our people. It's through your judgment and your perspectives that you can say 'this may be something that can trip that trigger.'"
Innovative next-generation technology is key to ensuring that Sailors and Marines are never in a fair fight, emphasized Roughead. "We always have to be giving them the advantage over an adversary."
In particular he sees opportunities and challenges in the area of cyberspace. "There are so many dimensions to it, and it goes beyond the technology," said Roughead. "Your thoughts and ideas on how the human element plays into that are extraordinarily important."
The CNO noted that technology has a great impact on all of the core capabilities of the Maritime Strategy. He also emphasized that one of the most important areas he's been concentrating on is how the Navy generates and develops new operational concepts. From the development of amphibious warfare doctrine to coming up with the concept of the nuclear-powered submarine, the Navy has a history of developing novel operational concepts—but today there's room for improvement in how that development takes place.
"We also have to be able to look at the technologies that you [at ONR] have the best insight into," said Roughead, "and we have to bring the concept development and the maturation of the technologies to some point out in the future to where they intersect... As we work down those two processes there should be a synchronization, a view, and a dialogue that takes place so that we are getting the right technology to the right point in time to meet an operational concept that gives an advantage to our Navy and to our nation."
The Office of Naval Research and the entire Naval Research Enterprise are a part of that effort.
"It is clear to me that the work that you're doing and the ability to bring technological innovations to bear quickly is going to be, as it has always been, key to our future," said Roughead.