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Research and Development Center celebrates change of command


Capt. Chien relieves Capt. Keane as CO of RDC

Capt. Michael Chien (left), relieves Capt. Daniel Keane (right) as commanding officer of the Research and Development Center in a ceremony June 16, 2023, presided over by Rear Adm. Chad Jacoby (center). U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Capt. Michael Chien assumed the duties of commanding officer of the Coast Guard Research and Development Center (RDC) June 16, 2023. The change of command ceremony, held at the facility in New London, Connecticut, was presided over by Rear Adm. Chad L. Jacoby, assistant commandant for acquisition and chief acquisition officer. Chien relieved the former commanding officer, Capt. Daniel Keane.

Change of command ceremonies are time-honored military traditions that mark the transfer of responsibility and authority from one individual to another and demonstrate the continuity of authority within a command. During Keane’s tenure as RDC commanding officer stretching back to May 1, 2020, the RDC has conducted extensive research across the entire Coast Guard portfolio, providing oversight for 73 research efforts and reviewing over 130 research products with the potential to further all 11 Coast Guard missions. “The daily project work that the RDC engages in pushes the Coast Guard toward a future of efficiency and capability by researching the cutting edge of technology and applying innovations to Coast Guard missions,” Jacoby said.

Keane brought heightened focus to unmanned systems (UxS), positioning the RDC as a driving force for Coast Guard UxS advancement.

In the area of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), Keane pushed the RDC toward attainment of Federal Aviation Administration approval to carry out UAS operations beyond visual line of sight and arranged for operational testing of a vertical take-off and landing UAS from a medium endurance cutter. The potential benefits associated with expanded UAS operations were demonstrated when operational tests in the Caribbean Sea resulted in the seizure of cocaine and other contraband.

Keane also grew the RDC’s fleet of autonomous surface vessels and established a boat operations program to ensure safe usage and operation of the unmanned assets. He also oversaw the advancement and development of counter unmanned systems technology, positioning the Coast Guard as a leading federal agency for counter unmanned underwater vehicles and systems research.

During the ceremony, Jacoby remarked on the partnerships the RDC secured under Keane’s leadership. “With such a large and vital task before it and a relatively small staff, the RDC leverages partnerships extensively,” he said. “Growing partnerships has been a major focus during Capt. Keane’s tenure.”

Keane furthered partnerships with the U.S. Space Force and Project Oceanology, which paved the way for a research officer exchange program and evaluation of next generation Aids to Navigation.

Keane also partnered with the Coast Guard Office of Emerging Policy and the Coast Guard Academy to establish a supplement to the Evergreen strategic foresight process, called Pinecone seminars, and co-hosted one session focused on space technologies and another focused on climate. Each Pinecone brought together more than 60 government, industry and academic thought leaders and resulted in discussions that will inform government research areas for the next 20-30 years.

He led efforts to reinforce relationships with Department of Defense lab commanders, resulting in joint partnerships for Polar and Starlink research. He also oversaw establishment of a Coast Guard Auxiliary unit focused on assisting the RDC.

“The RDC’s accomplishments over the last three years have been truly impressive,” said Jacoby. “That they occurred in spite of COVID speaks volumes about Capt. Keane’s leadership. I’m thankful for all he’s done during his time in command and recognize that we’re not done.”

Keane retired from the Coast Guard following the change of command ceremony.

The responsibility of leadership for the RDC now passes to Chien, who brings a plethora of experience from his previous assignment as the division chief of cyber strategy for the Office of Cyberspace Forces. Before that, Chien served as the Cyber Battlewatch captain and Joint Operations Center director at U.S. Cyber Command.

“The Coast Guard has embraced the critical need to leverage technology and data systems, we are challenging outdated assumptions and are working to innovate and solve our most pressing organizational challenges,” Chien said. “I absolutely see the research that we are conducting here by the wonderful researchers and staff to be critical to the Coast Guard’s success.”

For more information: Research and Development Center page and Research, Development, Test & Evaluation and Innovation Program page

Capt. Keane receives certificate of appreciation

Capt. Daniel Keane (right) receives a certificate of appreciation for his accomplishments from Rear Adm. Chad Jacoby (left) during the Change of Command ceremony on June 16. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Capt. Chien relieves Capt. Keane as CO of RDC

From left: Capt. Michael Chien, Rear Adm. Chad Jacoby, Capt. Daniel Keane. U.S. Coast Guard photo.