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Coast Guard RDC, Naval Postgraduate School continue joint effort to research maritime solutions

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Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) president, retired Vice Adm. Ann E. Rondeau, and U.S. Coast Guard Research and Development Center commanding officer, Capt. Dan Keane, virtually verify their signed Memorandum of Understanding April 14, 2021, which extended their previous three-year agreement outlining direct collaboration on joint research projects for another five years. Screen capture by NPS Office of University Communications.


The Tri-Service Maritime Strategy (TSMS), which was released in December 2020, underscored the need for joint cooperation in today’s security environment. In line with the direction for cross-service collaboration, the Coast Guard Research and Development Center (RDC) and the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) April 14 to extend an existing agreement directing joint research projects and exchanges for another five years.

The emphasis of the MOU is to further optimize joint collaboration for specific research and educational outcomes that directly support defense priorities and Coast Guard statutory missions within the TSMS. The Coast Guard has a long history of sending officers to pursue graduate degree programs at NPS, and the MOU will open up additional fields of study based on aspects of the TSMS that directly relate to the Coast Guard. Students and NPS faculty will have opportunities to define research projects and work together to advance potential solutions for key maritime challenges.

In addition to identifying thesis topics of mutual interest, the MOU includes access and use of each institution’s unique laboratories and facilities and involves other key research exchanges to mutually advance their mission of research and education for warfighting advantage.

Capt. Dan Keane, RDC commanding officer, and retired Vice Adm. Ann E. Rondeau, NPS president, signed the memo in a virtual ceremony.

“The Tri-Service Maritime Strategy prioritizes developing future capability and capacity for both the Navy and the Coast Guard,” Rondeau said. “Our formalized partnership not only strengthens the strong ties between NPS and the Coast Guard, but it brings to bear our defense-focused faculty and operationally experienced Navy and Coast Guard students in joint projects to develop our future force. The relationship between NPS and RDC is critically important, which is supported also by our relationship with Rear Adm. (Brian) Penoyer of the Eleventh Coast Guard District and Lt. Cmdr. John Gatti of the local Coast Guard Station Monterey. We all look forward to enhancing our applied research and education that will help solve the toughest maritime challenges.”

According to Keane, one of the cornerstones of the RDC portfolio accomplishment strategy is the strengthening of collaborations that the center has with a wide range of partners including Department of Defense and Department of Energy labs, the Federal Lab Consortium and academia.

“Perhaps one of our strongest and most impactful partnerships is with the Naval Postgraduate School,” Keane said.

“Since an MOU was signed three years ago, the RDC has become a topic sponsor, we have proposed questions related to our portfolio that have turned into academic products, NPS researchers have worked with our researchers on summer studies and we have provided platforms for NPS experimentation. We believe that we have just scratched the surface and the future is incredibly bright. We are excited about the next five years.”

Penoyer, D11 commander, noted that NPS has been a true force-multiplier for the Coast Guard and the RDC.

“This partnership helps us quantify disaster relief responses, provides a better understanding of drug trafficking patterns at sea, and fosters an environment of innovation for Coast Guard men and women,” Penoyer said. “It’s through these relationships that we maintain our mission-ready total workforce to continue safeguarding our nation.”

Currently, institution-level planning is underway to facilitate joint research projects on such things including renewable energy, additive manufacturing, maritime-domain awareness and wargaming.

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