By Scott Ghiringhelli, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Public Affairs
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center (EXWC) becomes one of the DoD's newest Science and Technology Reinvention Laboratories (STRL), as Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) leadership focuses Civil Engineer Corps graduate work on Fleet and warfighter initiatives.
While the two developments are not directly connected, they do complement each other and endow NAVFAC with more ability to have a direct impact in support of the Chief of Naval Operations' (CNO) key objectives.
EXWC, established in 2012, became an STRL with the signing of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) 2018 on Dec. 12, 2017. STRL is a designation for DoD labs and warfare centers that gives broad responsibility, authority and flexibility to speed technology innovation to meet critical warfighter needs.
"Our opportunity came when the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy - Research, Development, Test and Evaluation recommended that EXWC pursue STRL designation in August 2017 to the director of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (ASD R&E) Laboratories Office," said Capt John Adametz, commanding officer, EXWC.
Kail Macias, EXWC's technical director, laid the groundwork by introducing EXWC capabilities to the Naval Laboratory Center Coordinating Group and laying out the EXWC vision to senior NAVFAC leadership.
"This has been one of our strategic objectives over the past 12 months. During the coming year, EXWC will work towards implementing selected STRL authorities," Macias said.
On the heels of the STRL designation, NAVFAC implemented a commander's guidance initiative earlier this year to focus Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) Officer graduate work on Fleet initiatives that advance CNO goals for maritime superiority. The initiative is designed to develop and implement a process to create a project list which captures problems and desired research topics from throughout the NAVFAC enterprise.
NAVFAC intends to pair CEC Officers and their supporting faculty advisors at their academic institutions with topics and technical points of contact (POC) within NAVFAC, after which students will coordinate a research plan with their technical POCs, professors and school advisors.
At the conclusion of a project, EXWC, in coordination with the sponsoring activity technical POC, will share the results of the research with NAVFAC leadership, key staff, and stakeholders, as well as integrate any resulting products or services into NAVFAC's operations.
More than 45 project submissions have already been received. Starting August 2018, the EXWC will solicit for new topics each year during February and August, and distribute an updated list throughout NAVFAC in March and September that CEC Officers attending graduate school can plan research prior to the upcoming academic semester.
"This is great start to a program that will continue to develop with potential to be a mainstay in NAVFAC becoming a learning organization," said Rear Adm. Bret Muilenburg, commander, NAVFAC and chief of Civil Engineers.