All four of NAVSEA’s public naval shipyards – Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility – achieved federal laboratory status from the Office of Naval Research in June.
This status gives the shipyards authorization to employ tools used by other federal laboratories related to technology transfer (T2).
“Naval shipyards perform maintenance miracles on a daily basis,” said Steve McKee, strategic project lead for the NAVSEA’s Tactical Innovation Implementation Laboratory (TIIL) which is in the Maintenance and Industrial Operations Directorate’s Innovation Branch (SEA 04X). “This designation will allow them to create more partnerships with industry, academia, and others to develop, import and export various solutions.” These opportunities and greater flexibility will advance naval maintenance and the command’s number one mission priority, delivering ships and submarines on-time.
According to McKee, the shipyard T2 leads, along with management representatives, joined their counterparts from across Department of Defense (DoD) in July to gain a fuller understanding of how to take advantage of this new capability at the DoD T2 Training Workshop.
“The forum provided invaluable insight from across DoD on how best to approach Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs), Educational Partnership Agreements (EPAs) and Partnership Intermediary Agreements (PIAs),” he said. “These mechanisms will be used by the shipyards to rapidly create and induct solutions to increase the maintenance and modernization throughput.”
Mr. Jamaal Hill, a business office analyst and T2 lead at Norfolk Naval Shipyard oversaw their federal laboratory designation process. “As a corporation, all four shipyards are figuring out how the laboratory status is going to best help us, as far as naval ship maintenance is concerned,” he said.
“When you hear about NASA making a micro fuel injector for a rocket that has medical applications for heart procedures – when you create something like that in the government that somebody in private industry would be interested in – the federal laboratory status is a way to partner with them,” said Hill. “It makes it a little easier to share resources and tools, and facilitates some of the things we’re trying to do in the performance improvement and innovation arena.”
“Agility is critical to warfighting,” said Mr. Jim Wrzeski, Acting Executive Director of SEA 04. “Having the federal laboratory status gives our shipyards even more agility. This status breaks down barriers so that they can partner with outside organizations. It lets them easily work with others to improve on ways to build, maintain, and ultimately deliver ships and subs to the fleet.”