6

Findings and Recommendations

The success with which the Office of Naval Research (ONR) carries out its mission clearly depends on mastery of the marine environment. This competence comes from a predictive knowledge of ocean processes as well as the tangible technology necessary to operate within the marine regime. With declining federal support to various agencies, it is critical that ONR maintain its leadership in ocean sciences, technology, and education and further focus its efforts in the ocean environment. This role will ensure continued U.S. leadership in marine technology and provide the information and technology pool on which the private sector can draw. The present vertical integration of the agency could provide a structure to facilitate technology transfer. This structure should then be augmented, as discussed in this report, to improve the means and the measurement of technology transfer to military and nonmilitary users. The findings and recommendations discussed below are intended for use by the director of ONR’s Ocean, Atmosphere and Space Department and the Chief of Naval Research. These recommendations can and should be acted upon as soon as is practically possible.

ONR RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT

Finding: The Office of Naval Research supports leading-edge research and development in many areas of ocean science and technology with applications for nonmilitary users.

ONR-supported research accounts for a tremendous array of leading-edge scientific information and technological developments with potential application



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Expanding the Uses of Naval Ocean Science and Technology 6 Findings and Recommendations The success with which the Office of Naval Research (ONR) carries out its mission clearly depends on mastery of the marine environment. This competence comes from a predictive knowledge of ocean processes as well as the tangible technology necessary to operate within the marine regime. With declining federal support to various agencies, it is critical that ONR maintain its leadership in ocean sciences, technology, and education and further focus its efforts in the ocean environment. This role will ensure continued U.S. leadership in marine technology and provide the information and technology pool on which the private sector can draw. The present vertical integration of the agency could provide a structure to facilitate technology transfer. This structure should then be augmented, as discussed in this report, to improve the means and the measurement of technology transfer to military and nonmilitary users. The findings and recommendations discussed below are intended for use by the director of ONR’s Ocean, Atmosphere and Space Department and the Chief of Naval Research. These recommendations can and should be acted upon as soon as is practically possible. ONR RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT Finding: The Office of Naval Research supports leading-edge research and development in many areas of ocean science and technology with applications for nonmilitary users. ONR-supported research accounts for a tremendous array of leading-edge scientific information and technological developments with potential application

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Expanding the Uses of Naval Ocean Science and Technology to nonmilitary problems. These products range from coatings and materials to reduce ship corrosion at sea to sophisticated computer models for predicting the fate and transport of oil spills (see Chapter 2). The high-quality scientific research and the technology development supported by ONR are an important component of the Navy’s efforts to maintain combat readiness and tactical advantage. The committee recognizes that research and development (R&D) supported by ONR is of vital importance to fleet effectiveness and national defense. Many of ONR’s marine research programs and the resulting products, as well as the expertise they represent, do not exist in the nonmilitary sector. Recommendation: ONR should continue to fund and nurture long-range marine research and technology development. These efforts should be coupled with the education and training of scientific and engineering personnel in ocean science and technology. STATUS OF TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER AT ONR Finding: Federal agencies are mandated by public law to transfer technology (see Appendix C). The transfer of ocean science and technology within the Navy and to other government agencies, and to a large extent, to academia, appears to be adequate. Technology transfer to the nonmilitary commercial sector, by contrast, is clearly inadequate. This inadequacy is particularly evident in the transfer of technology to major U.S. corporations that lack a history of involvement with ONR and to small companies (less than 100 employees and less than $30 million in revenues) of all types. The Navy’s mission of national security has properly dominated ONR thought and action. The transfer of ONR-sponsored technology and knowledge to the private sector is, however, directed by Public Law 96-480 (Appendix C) and interpreted by DOD Regulation for Domestic Technology Transfer: Make available for use within the Component not less than half of one percent (0.5 percent) of the total R&D budget, to support the domestic technology transfer functions of the Component as specified in Section 11 of Public Law 96-480 (Reference [a]). This provision may be waived by notification to Congress on an annual basis at the same time as the budget submission to the Congress including explanation of reasons for the waiver and alternate methods of conducting the technology transfer function. Department of Defense (1988, pp. 1-4). This provision was amended in 1989 by Public Law 101-189 (Appendix C) to require that “each Federal agency which operates or directs one or more Federal laboratories shall make available sufficient funding, either as a separate line item or from the development budget, to support” technology transfer. In

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Expanding the Uses of Naval Ocean Science and Technology response to this directive, ONR has structured and staffed a system incorporating Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRDAs), an Office of Research and Technology Applications (ORTAs), and specialized programs for patent license and shipyard and vessel improvement. Although it is unclear whether the funding mandate is being met, the level of activity and results demonstrate that technology transfer is not effective in the ocean science and technology areas. Representatives of marine industries indicated to the committee that there is little direct involvement by ONR in commercial offshore research and development activity. An examination of the few measures of performance available (e.g., participation by ONR in cooperative research and development agreements, number of patents licensed) seems to support this view (see Chapter 3). Recommendation: ONR should allocate sufficient resources to ensure the success of technology transfer to the domestic nonmilitary sector in ocean science and technology. TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER AT ONR: THE ORGANIZATION Finding: Even though an organizational structure apparently exists to facilitate domestic technology transfer by ONR, the existing process is primarily ad hoc and reactive rather than proactive. Industries that do not have a connection to ONR find it difficult and costly to gain access to information available at ONR. The perception is that there is valuable technology at ONR but that existing mechanisms are not adequate to promote the development of this technology for commercial purposes (see Chapter 3). For these and other reasons, simply introducing financial or personnel management policies may fail to stimulate the technology interchange desired. There is a need for a new organizational mechanism that acknowledges that the private sector is the best judge of what technology it needs, at what cost, and on what timetable (see Chapter 5). ONR does not possess the experience and perspective required to make such determinations without significant input from the user community. Recommendation: ONR needs to take a more proactive role in domestic technology transfer in ocean science and technology. This can be accomplished using a combination of strategies, including organizational realignment, electronic databases, newsletters, sponsored forums and workshops, professional association meetings, personal communication among principal investigators, and funding incentives within ONR for programs that facilitate commercial product development. The existing programs intended to promote communication between ONR and the nonmilitary sector should be used to determine industry needs.

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Expanding the Uses of Naval Ocean Science and Technology TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER AT ONR: THE INDIVIDUAL Finding: Few incentives apparently exist within ONR to promote domestic technology transfer at the level of administrative program managers and investigators. Investigators both within and outside of the Navy are motivated to produce superior research or develop new technology so they may receive continued funding or peer recognition. Similar inducements do not exist to leverage R&D efforts for application beyond their originally intended use. ONR investigators are well intentioned, but to take further advantage of R&D expenditure, additional incentives are required to encourage the extra effort needed to focus on technology transfer (see Chapter 5). Exploiting (or leveraging) technology must become a performance objective of the entire ONR organization. It is beyond the purview of this study to recommend specific program goals and levels of performance to ONR. As the principal executive of ONR, however, the Chief of Naval Research should create plans for the transfer of technology with specific objectives and milestones for accomplishment. Such plans should reflect the program wide priority to be placed on technology transfer to the nonmilitary sector. Progress toward achieving these objectives should be managed like any other development project and progress should be reported on a regular basis. Individual performance objectives should be established, beginning with top ONR executives and including all team leaders and laboratory investigators. Individuals should be rewarded or recognized on the basis of achievement measured against these objectives. To ensure the success of technology transfer, effective training will be required to enable all employees to understand both the goals and the mechanisms of effective technology transfer. Recommendation: Incentives need to be provided at the program level, and measures of performance established at the executive level, to promote domestic technology transfer. The Chief of Naval Research needs to provide executive leadership and operational training at all levels of the organization to implement an effective technology transfer policy.