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The Coast Guard’s Research, Development, Test & Evaluation (RDT&E) and Innovation Program is the Coast Guard’s leading office conducting applied RDT&E experimentations and demonstrations. At any given time it is working on more than 40 research and innovation projects that support Coast Guard requirements spanning all 11 mission areas.

Why does the Coast Guard have an RDT&E and Innovation Program?

The RDT&E and Innovation Program enhances acquisition and mission execution by conducting applied research and bringing technological advancements and innovation to the service’s operational forces. The program also provides Coast Guard leadership with knowledge necessary for making strategic decisions. Test and evaluation activities support the entire Coast Guard in requirements verification planning, including mission-specific test preparation and deck-plate procedure execution.

How does the RDT&E and Innovation Program tackle projects?

The RDT&E and Innovation Program pursues technologies that provide incremental improvements as well as those with the greatest potential to strategically transform the way the Coast Guard does business.

The program leverages partnerships with academia, other government agencies and private industry to anticipate and research solutions to future technological challenges.

The program utilizes multiple avenues to accomplish its goals:

The RDT&E and Innovation program brings value to the organization by investing in new ideas and technologies to help the Coast Guard better perform its missions, now and in the future. Projects typically fall into five main program areas:


Provides investigations of sensor and airborne platform technologies, mission-relevant test and evaluation, performance measurement and analysis, and performance model validation programs. This branch also produces analysis products that address specific questions for decision-makers, including requirements and alternatives analysis, mission analysis, risk analysis and life cycle cost analysis.

C5ISR/IT and Networks

Supports maritime domain awareness, command and control, tactical communications and cyber technology programs.

Environment and Waterways/Arctic

Supports aids to navigation, pollution and non-indigenous species prevention and response, Automatic Identification System programs, and investigating technology solutions to address the complex issues associated with operating in the harsh, remote Arctic region.


Provides program support to enhance vessel technology, port security, law enforcement, alternative energy and weapons of mass destruction identification and prevention capabilities.

Modeling and Simulation

Provides decision-makers with responsive, low-cost, low-risk modeling support for Coast Guard and external customers. It produces tools that support fleet mix analysis, tactical mission engagement scenarios, sensor optimization, resource allocation, game theory-based scheduling tools, and system-wide trade-off studies to support strategic capability and acquisition decision-making.

RDT&E Fact Sheet