ARLINGTON, Va.–Military leaders from across the globe will meet in a public forum to discuss the critical importance of science and technology (S&T) for naval forces–and to analyze where future international S&T collaborations might take place.
Sponsored by the Office of Naval Research Global (ONR Global), the "International Naval Leadership Panel: Naval Technology 2025 and Beyond" will take place May 16 from 3:30 to 5:15 p.m. at the annual Sea-Air-Space Exposition, held at the Gaylord Convention Center in Maryland.
Participants will include the chiefs of naval research or their equivalents from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the U.S.
The U.S. Navy's Chief of Naval Research, Rear Adm. Mat Winter, will serve as the event's moderator.
"This will be an historic occasion," said Winter. "This is the first time so many international S&T chiefs have been on the same stage to discuss the urgent need to coordinate research efforts to find answers to a host of immediate and long-term challenges."
Decisive mutual advantages, he said, result from diverse S&T approaches to common problems. Partner navies worldwide face shared challenges of decreased budgets yet increased demands, including combatting trans-national terrorism, piracy and human trafficking; meeting increased humanitarian and disaster relief needs; analyzing the impact of changing polar regions on maritime activity; meeting new cyber threats and more.
"A decisive S&T advantage is critical for our navies," the admiral said. "Our S&T advantage is the result of strong collaboration–and our collaboration is based upon mutual trust and partnership."
In addition to the forward-looking thoughts from the international defense leaders, there will be a question-and-answer period at the end of the session. The panel is hosted by the Navy League, which sponsors Sea-Air-Space.
ONR Global Commanding Officer Capt. Clark Troyer noted that part of the importance of this event will come in the strengthening of existing naval partnerships.
"International S&T collaboration underpins naval partnerships and builds trust," he said. "And the complex future challenges we all face demand strong S&T collaboration."
He described such partnerships as "the soft handshake of diplomacy."
Officials say that S&T partnerships bring a host of advantages to the different nations involved, including economic benefits by pooling resources and avoiding duplication of research; exploiting different nations' maritime experiences and strengths in S&T; and leveraging each nation's unique industry and academic assets.
In addition to Monday's panel, ONR will have displays of some of its recent technologies on display–including a robotic lifeguard buoy currently being used for humanitarian rescue efforts; cutting-edge mixed reality training devices; and tube-launched unmanned aerial vehicles–at its booth, No. 1004, at the Gaylord exhibit over the course of the three-day Sea-Air-Space Exposition.