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Participants in the Coast Guard Innovation Council’s inaugural Idea Frenzy meet inside the Crystal City Sports Pub in Arlington, Virginia, after the event on Feb. 8. Shown, from left, are:
Back row: Lt. j.g. Michael Civay of the Capabilities and Requirement Oversight Panel (COMDT-761); Christopher Stanley, of the Surface Forces Logistics Center Patrol Boat Product Line (SFLC-PBPL); Petty Officer 1st Class Dylan Skidmore of Coast Guard Cutter Sherman; Linda Parker Gates, senior lead in the software solutions division at Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute; Rear Adm. Andrew Tiongson, assistant commandant for resources and chief financial officer; Morgan Plummer, director of the Defense Department’s MD5 National Security Technology Accelerator Program; Lt. Christopher Branning of the Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON), and Lt. j.g. Michael Bruno of the SFLC-PBPL

Front row: Petty Officer 2nd Class Cylind Garrett of Coast Guard Station Erie, Pennsylvania; Rear Adm. Joseph Vojvodich, Coast Guard deputy for mission support (DCMS-D); Rear Adm. Michael Haycock, assistant commandant for acquisition (CG-9); Lt. Cmdr. Lauren Dufrene of the SFLC-PBPL; Chief Petty Officer Arnold Braun of the Coast Guard Yard; Lt. j.g. Steve Reynolds of the SFLC-PBPL; and Cmdr. Andy Howell, Coast Guard Innovation officer (CG-926). U.S. Coast Guard photo by Tom Schrandt.

Coast Guard Holds Inaugural “Shark Tank”-Style Idea Frenzy

March 14, 2018

The Coast Guard Innovation Council held its inaugural Idea Frenzy at the Crystal City Sports Pub in Arlington, Virginia, Feb. 8. The event showcased innovation from across the Coast Guard and brought new ways to improve the service a step closer to implementation.

The Coast Guard received 34 ideas through its crowdsourcing platform, CG_Ideas@Work. The six finalists – five individuals and one four-person team – aimed to improve areas of Coast Guard service such as logistics, maintenance, uniforms, crewmember safety, and search and rescue.

The “sharks” on the panel brought innovation expertise from across the Coast Guard, academia and industry. The panel comprised: Rear Adm. Joseph Vojvodich, Coast Guard deputy for mission support; Rear Adm. Andrew Tiongson, Coast Guard assistant commandant for resources and chief financial officer; Linda Parker Gates, senior lead in the software solutions division at Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute; and Morgan Plummer, director of the Defense Department’s MD5 National Security Technology Accelerator Program.

The top-rated entry was a team proposal from four members of the Surface Forces Logistics Center’s Patrol Boat Product Line. The team proposed a patrol boat maintenance tablet that could replace the fragile, bulky and more expensive single-use paper working documents currently in use. The team also foresaw the potential to integrate tablets into the existing onboard electronics environment, which would allow for greater work flexibility and faster task updates. The Innovation Program is working with Coast Guard program managers to move the winning idea and others toward implementation.

Cmdr. Andy Howell, Coast Guard Innovation officer, described the event as “fun and edifying,” noting that “it provided a unique opportunity for workforce innovators to interact with the highest levels of Coast Guard leadership.”

Howell added that the Idea Frenzy “was designed to be repeatable, casual and easy to take on the road” and that the Innovation Council would eventually like to hold events in the Coast Guard Atlantic and Pacific areas.

For more information: Research, Development, Test and Evaluation program page and Innovation program page


2018 Idea Frenzy Presentations

TOP RATED: Operational Mobility for Cutters – Patrol Boat Maintenance Tablet
Team Surface Forces Logistics Center Patrol Boat Product Line (SFLC-PBPL)
:
Lt. Cmdr. Lauren Dufrene, Engineering Branch chief
Christopher Stanley, logistics specialist for the patrol boat maintenance program
Lt. j.g. Michael Bruno, logistics specialist and lead contracting officer’s representative for the PBPL service contract
Lt. j.g. Steve Reynolds, Asset Management Section 2 chief

In an effort to streamline maintenance at the deckplate level, SFLC-PBPL is proposing the testing of tablet-based maintenance procedure cards (MPCs) and technical publications. The most consistent feedback from the patrol boat fleet is the administrative burden required to print, complete and upload MPCs. Taking advantage of the well-defined nature of MPC data, SFLC-PBPL is recommending a small-sample prototype of tablet-based maintenance cards for two fast response cutters and their shoreside maintenance commands. This sample will provide an all-encompassing assessment of the practicality of using tablets to complete operational- and depot-level maintenance. If successful, SFLC-PBPL will workwith other product lines to expand tablet use for the fleet.

Digital Checklists on Tablets for Cutter Bridge Teams
Petty Officer 1st Class Dylan Skidmore
, navigation department lead petty officer aboard Coast Guard Cutter Sherman

The average major cutter’s bridge team has to manage over 30 different checklists, sometimes during a shipboard emergency. Traditionally this is handled through the use of three-ring binders, page protectors and tab pages. This idea proposes that existing technology be used to move these checklists to a digital format, deployed to the bridge team on a tablet-style device. This would allow the Office of Cutter Forces (CG-751) to develop a standard set of checklists for each class of cutter and control. A time stamp and initials attached to the completed items could be an option for accountability and historical data retrieval.

Personal Automatic Identification System (AIS)
Lt. Christopher Branning
, HITRON mission commander

Personal AIS fills a capability gap for some cutters and nearly all embarked cutter boats, which are unable to direction-find on 406 MHz personal locator beacon/emergency position indicating radio beacon signals. Personal AIS is a small device which can be added to the survival vest of all aircrew and boat crews, and which when activated allows the transmitted signal to be seen on the chart plotters of Coast Guard boats and cutters. While still dependent on line of sight, it can greatly add to the accuracy and location detection of a downed aviator in a rescue situation and dramatically accelerate the timeline of a rescue.

Coast Guard Academy Online Degree for Enlisted Members
Petty Officer 2nd Class Cylind Garrett
, logistics specialist, procurement analyst, property manager and duty watchstander for Station Erie, Pennsylvania

Each Coast Guard member is entitled to the current annual tuition assistance (TA) cap for classes that lead to a degree. If members utilizing TA are attending universities online, why not invest the same money paid to universities and instead utilize the Coast Guard’s own academy? As members enroll into the program, their TA spent on each class would help fund the formation of an online Coast Guard Academy that is accredited, respected and owned by the Coast Guard itself. The opportunity to educate our own members, while simultaneously reinvesting the funds back into our own academy, would prove itself to be incredibly successful.

All-in-One Uniform Setup Tool
Chief Petty Officer Arnold Braun
, manager of the Dry Dock Club and coffee shop at the Coast Guard Yard

An all-in-one uniform tool that will perfectly place all uniform items on all uniform garments without the need to measure for accuracy. It will be made of stainless steel material with etched markings that have predetermined holes and slots to help align rank insignias, ribbons, medals, devices and name tags. The tool will help perfectly align all Coast Guard uniform devices on a blouse, jacket and garrison cover as per the uniform manual.

Low-Cost Thermal Imaging
Lt. j.g. Michael Civay
, mobile computing assistant team lead and gatekeeper for the Capabilities and Requirement Oversight Panel (COMDT-761)

The need for thermal imaging has driven placement of FLIR systems on select platforms such as the response boat-medium, some cutter boats, and larger vessels. The high cost required for this system has limited it from placement on board the response boat-small II. This proposal is to build, test and document findings on the following alternative methods to provide low-cost thermal imaging:

  • Fix-mounted array of Lepton sensors, stitched and connected to a SINS-2 enabled test craft at Training Center Yorktown, Virginia.

  • Gimbal-mounted, programmatically controlled Lepton sensor and laser range finder. During a night incident, this unit would scan independently until detecting a significant temperature gradient on the water. A boat crewmember could be alerted at a detection of interest or video/images could be routed with coordinates for adjudication at a command center.

  • Handheld device.