MAY 3, 2022 – The Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) is teaming up with Microsoft to explore how rapidly evolving commercial technologies can solve operational challenges faced by the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps.
This collaboration will bring together two of the nation’s major centers for innovation and development in a cooperative research effort that aims to tackle several highly complex issues associated with rapidly integrating and adopting new technologies in support of warfighting and national security. It also provides the potential to revolutionize how the services organize, train, equip, fight, and win by combining the best of industry, academia, and the government.
“Today, so much innovation and technological research and development is powered by America’s robust corporate base. The Department of the Navy has been trying to find ways where our organizations can emulate and evolve with the nimble agility of these organizations, and with success,” said Aaron Weis, the Department of the Navy’s Chief Information Officer (DON CIO). “This agreement between NPS and Microsoft takes that initiative to the next level, creating a defined cooperative research collaboration between a global tech giant and the capabilities it brings to bear, with the Navy’s leading science and technological university, where operationalizing innovation is core to their mission.”
Microsoft became the latest industry member to team with NPS following the signing of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) between the two organizations. CRADAs allow U.S. government research facilities to engage in collaborative efforts with non-government entities. These types of cooperative efforts benefit the Department of Defense (DOD) and industry leaders by providing opportunities to conduct joint research and learn from each other.
Under the CRADA, NPS will collaborate with Microsoft on select research efforts. The goal is to leverage the latest in commercial technologies and expertise to advance Navy and Marine Corps operations, while sharing any insights gained with the broader public.
NPS will utilize the Microsoft Cloud services, including Azure, Office 365 and Teams, to accelerate their digital transformation journey and deploy advanced cloud capabilities to tackle critical mission priorities. The first areas of shared research under the newly established Cooperative Research Initiative (CRI) will include operational uses for cloud-enhanced networks and edge computing, methods for extending delivery of NPS coursework from the school’s classrooms and labs throughout the fleet and force, and ways in which the Navy and Marine Corps can leverage gaming, exercising, modeling, and simulation (GEMS) to help operational commanders make faster and better decisions.
“For over four decades, we’ve worked with the U.S. Department of Defense on a longstanding and reliable basis in support of its mission to ensure our national security,” said Jason Zander, executive vice president of Microsoft. “This Cooperative Research Initiative with the Naval Postgraduate School will provide a remarkable opportunity for us to work shoulder to shoulder with our nation’s brightest leaders and servicemembers and help them solve the complex challenges they face. And through this collaboration, we look forward to sharing our latest research and furthering our joint efforts to empower our military to make our nation safer.”
The Cooperative Research Initiative will also involve collaboration at an innovation lab on the NPS campus in Monterey, where integrated teams of NPS and Microsoft personnel will work side-by-side exploring several critical topics.
One of the major research areas will explore recent technical breakthroughs in intelligent edge computing solutions and cloud-enhanced networks, as well as how the DOD can leverage these developments for operational purposes.
NPS will also team up with Microsoft to conduct research into how gaming, exercising, modeling and simulation can improve military capability development and the decision-making of Navy and Marine Corps commanders.
Finally, NPS will investigate how it can harness recent advances in digital teaching – including the school’s own distance-learning efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic – to create an NPS “smart campus” capable of delivering critical knowledge and skills to Sailors and Marines worldwide.
Together, these collaborative research and discovery efforts by NPS and Microsoft will bring together the incredible potential and expertise of both organizations, as well as unique NPS facilities such as the Sea Land Air Military Research (SLAMR) laboratory, to accelerate shared understanding of Navy and Marine Corps challenges and accelerate solutions for how emerging technologies can be employed to tackle the most important operational challenges currently faced by the fleet and force.
“The type of cutting-edge research which will be enabled by this partnership is something that can only happen at NPS,” said the president of NPS, retired Vice Adm. Ann E. Rondeau. “We are, and have always been, a center for excellence and innovation – a catalyst for transformative capabilities and the education of our future Navy and Marine Corps leaders. With this agreement, we look forward to working with our colleagues at Microsoft in an effort to find solutions to all of the challenges facing our fleet and force, now and in the future.”
Further details on the collaboration between NPS and Microsoft will be provided in the coming weeks and months.
The Naval Postgraduate School provides defense-focused graduate education, including classified studies and interdisciplinary research, to advance the operational effectiveness, technological leadership and warfighting advantage of the Naval service. For additional information, visit NPS online at http://www.nps.edu.
The Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) does not constitute endorsement of Microsoft or its products and services by the Naval Postgraduate School, the Department of the Navy, or the Department of Defense.
Story by Lt.Cmdr. Edward Early
Naval Postgraduate School