Seventy Years of U.S. Navy Innovation
The U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) is celebrating 70 years of innovation this year.
In August 1946, just after the Second World War, the U.S. Congress mandated a new military command to identify and cultivate forward-looking science and technology capabilities to ensure the superiority of U.S. warfighters.
It was the first time a peacetime organization would use government funds to support civilian science and technology research at universities, laboratories and businesses.
Since then, the command, along with its Naval Research Enterprise organizations that include ONR Global and the Naval Research Laboratory, has played a leading role in many of the most important discoveries and inventions from the earliest computer systems and software, to the exploration of the ocean’s depths, to new materials and sensors that have been integrated into everything from household items to warships.
Recent developments that have benefitted the U.S. Marines include swarming unmanned air vehicles, mobile laser weapons and virtual reality training technologies.
ONR is currently working on a number of programs using big data that are designed for future Marine Corps operational requirements. The data-focused Naval Tactical Cloud, for instance, will integrate large volumes of incoming data from multiple sources; provide afloat intelligence analysis capabilities for Navy and Marine Corps intelligence teams; and provide tactical intelligence support for expeditionary warfare planning and execution, among other uses.
Other priorities in three-dimensional printing - everything from manufacturing difficult-to-find replacement parts for weapons or vehicles, to creating shelter for Marines in theater, rather than having to find and secure existing facilities.