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Innovation Lab opens at Coast Guard Headquarters

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From left, Rear Adm. Michael Johnston, assistant commandant for Acquisition and chief acquisition officer; Rear Adm. Joseph Vojvodich, deputy commandant for Mission Support – deputy for Materiel Readiness; and Rear Adm. Meredith Austin, deputy for Operations, Policy and Capabilities, cut a ribbon to mark the opening of the Coast Guard’s new Innovation Lab at Coast Guard Headquarters Dec. 2, 2019. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Austin Locke.


“Every Coastie is an innovator” is more than a phrase on a banner in the Coast Guard’s new Innovation Lab, which opened for business at Coast Guard headquarters Dec. 2, 2019. It is a message conveyed in the Coast Guard Strategic Plan, emphasized by leaders across the service and embodied within the Office of Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) and Innovation Program.

The Innovation Lab features off-network computers, 3D printers and other capabilities to assist with creative problem solving and will be used as a resource of creativity, collaboration, brainstorming and problem solving.

The Coast Guard Innovation Program marked the grand opening of the lab with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Members from the Innovation Council, RDT&E, Acquisition Directorate and Coast Guard leadership gathered for the event.

Rear Adm. Joseph Vojvodich, deputy commandant for Mission Support – deputy for Materiel Readiness; Rear Adm. Meredith Austin, deputy for Operations, Policy and Capabilities; and Rear Adm. Michael Johnston, assistant commandant for Acquisition and chief acquisition officer, delivered remarks during the ceremony.

Johnston emphasized the importance of innovation in both the Coast Guard and CG-9 Strategic Plans. “We have no shortage of problems in the Coast Guard and no shortage of intelligent, creative people to solve them,” he said.

Vojvodich expanded on the message inside the innovation room, “Every Coastie should be thinking, ‘how can I solve a problem to make things better or more cost efficient for myself and others?’” He went on to highlight the important role of the new lab in facilitating a culture of innovation across the service, saying, “This is where ideas and people bump into each other and collide. We have this virtually, and now we’re going to try in a physical sense here.”

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