12/28/2015: Research and development: Promoting collaboration and partnerships

Last month, the Maritime Alliance held the 7th Annual Blue Tech & Blue Economy Summit. This is an event where developers and providers of maritime technology come together with end-users to understand each other’s capabilities, collaborate, foster innovation and advance the industry. The Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard, Vice Adm. Charles Michel, delivered the key note address emphasizing collaboration to advance maritime cyber security and the Coast Guard’s Research, Development, Test and Evaluation, or RDT&E program. Other Coast Guard participants included Capt. Andrew Tucci, chief of the Coast Guard’s Office of Port and Facility Compliance, and Dr. Joe DiRenzo, partnership development director at the Coast Guard’s Research and Development Center. This blog post provides you with a brief synopsis of the information presented by Coast Guard speakers.

Written by Lt. Cmdr. Samuel Nassar

In his key note address, Vice Adm. Charles Michel, the Coast Guard’s Vice Commandant, spoke about how the RDT&E Program supports the Commandant’s Arctic, Cyber, Energy Renaissance and Western Hemisphere Strategies. Additionally, he emphasized the importance of collaboration and partnerships.

“We do this because the Coast Guard is at its best when listening and collaborating with industry, academia, and our international friends,” said Michel.

By exchanging information and resources with industry, talented academic groups, and allied governments, we are better positioned to tackle our biggest challenges. As a prime example, the Coast Guard’s RDT&E Program is collaborating with academia to further maritime cyber research. The Coast Guard has partnered with Rutgers, American Military University and the University of Southern California to:

  • Develop maritime cyber security information sharing protocols to meet the needs of industry and government;
  • Explore how to best promote use of sound cyber risk management principles within the maritime domain; and
  • Research threats and vulnerabilities modeling to help better understand maritime cyber.


“Cyber in the maritime transportation system, or MTS, is composed of risk analysis, policy and legal foundation. The key to address this issue is human technology,” said Michel. “If we get cyber in the MTS right, we can be a template for other transportation nodes. We have been good on the physical side because we have established a security regime that is economically possible.”

During the Summit, Michel also discussed recent achievements by the Coast Guard’s Research and Development Center, or RDC. To highlight a few, the RDC recently partnered with General Dynamics to demonstrate technology that directly transfers maritime cellular Next Generation 9-1-1 calls with position, text and imagery to local Coast Guard Command Centers. Also on the response front, the RDC partnered with ConocoPhillips to explore benefits, limitations and risks of operating unmanned aircraft systems in a maritime environment.

There is also some very exciting work occurring in the RTD&E program’s current portfolio; hoax call detection efforts will geo-locate a caller, while voice forensics effort (in partnership with Rutgers University and Carnegie Mellon University) will help the Coast Guard determine who is calling by analyzing voice patterns. Another area of focus is detection of Panga running off shore.

“At the beginning of my career a number of good people spent a lot of time driving around. Today things are different- we don’t turn a propeller without intent,” said Michel.

The RTD&E program supports this strategy. At any given time, the RDT&E program is working and collaborating on more than 80 projects that support each of the Coast Guard’s eleven statutory missions.

The Research and Development Center will continue to pursue technologies that provide incremental improvements as well as those with the greatest potential to strategically transform the way the Coast Guard does business. Partnership and collaboration serves as a catalyst to achieving long term benefits to “Blue Tech & the Blue Economy.” All participants of the 7th Annual Blue Tech & Blue Economy Summit, as well as others who want to partner with the Coast Guard, are encouraged to contact the Coast Guard Research and Development Center with ideas, tools and technology that could assist the Coast Guard and ultimately benefit our nation.

Research and Development Center POC: Dr. Joe DiRenzo, partnership development director 860-271-2738 |

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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