CHARLESTON, S.C. — Leaders from Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic, the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site (DOE-SR) and the Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) briefed state stakeholders on May 30 regarding their ongoing efforts to collaborate in science and technology fields that may significantly enhance national security.
The purpose of the engagement was to brief Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C. 2nd Congressional District — which includes the DOE-SR and SRNL campuses — as well as staff from most of South Carolina’s seven congressional districts and a representative from Sen. Tim Scott’s office.
Maj. Gen. Van McCarty, the Adjutant General and head of the South Carolina Military Department, attended on behalf of the South Carolina National Guard.
It was the first official meeting between NIWC Atlantic and DOE-SR since both signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) in March, with SRNL acting as DOE-SR’s designated agent.
The MOA aims to develop cooperative training, testing and experimentation to enhance research and development (R&D) efforts in fields like electromagnetic warfare, cybersecurity, spectrum operations and autonomous systems.
During the event, NIWC Atlantic leaders discussed the current strategic environment, stressing the urgency many feel in the military for enabling speed-to-capability solutions for the warfighter. They said building strong relationships spawned by the MOA and other initiatives, including the command’s Palmetto Tech Bridge, is a key to success as well as using the full range of Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) and non-FAR procurement authorities to leverage the resources and expertise available across multiple federal and state agencies, academia and the private sector.
“As new partners, DOE-SR and SRNL are opening up many channels of collaboration and brainstorming opportunities that can help support our mission to deliver the best and most relevant capabilities to our warfighters,” Nicole Nigro, NIWC Atlantic commanding officer, said following the event. “One exciting example involves DOE-SR’s testing capabilities in the area of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) effects.”
Another emphasis during the meeting was workforce development. NIWC Atlantic leaders said it was critical to develop a deep bench of talented cyber-savvy engineers and scientists in the Southeast region working across government, commercial industry, academic and research institutions, nonprofit organizations and other entities to keep networks and infrastructure safe, secure and resilient.
Erik Gardner, director of the Palmetto Tech Bridge at NIWC Atlantic, called it a “whole of nation” approach that should support both naval information warfare as well as the country’s overall and concerted efforts to achieve a competitive advantage over its pacing threats.
The meeting concluded with the overwhelming sense among those in attendance that America faces a challenging and unprecedented information environment, requiring a clear-eyed understanding of the criticality R&D collaborations can forge between the Department of Defense and other federal and state organizations like DOE-SR, SRNL and the South Carolina National Guard’s 125th Cyber Protection Battalion.
About NIWC Atlantic
As a part of Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, NIWC Atlantic provides systems engineering and acquisition to deliver information warfare capabilities to the naval, joint and national warfighter through the acquisition, development, integration, production, test, deployment, and sustainment of interoperable command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, cyber and information technology capabilities. Learn more at www.niwcatlantic.navy.mil.
Savannah River National Laboratory is a multi-program Federally Funded Research and Development Center that’s managed and operated by Battelle Savannah River Alliance, LLC (BSRA) for the United States Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management. SRNL puts science to work to protect the nation by providing practical, cost-effective solutions to the nation’s environmental, nuclear security, nuclear materials management, and energy security challenges, Learn more at https://srnl.doe.gov/.