The US Navy wants to increase innovation across the department by developing five ‘tech bridges’ to better connect it with the private sector.

The project, under the direction of the US Naval Expeditions (NavalX) Agility Office, will establish tech bridges in five locations around the US. The move will allow the Navy to draw on talent from across the country and from a range of sectors.

Unlike other naval initiatives designed to bring new technologies to field, this push will focus more on getting ideas to the US Navy in a more seamless manner.

The tech bridges are to be developed under a partnership between NavalX and Navy Systems Commands and the Office of Naval Research (ONR).

US Navy assistant secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition, James Geurts, said: “We’re not in the business of inventing things or getting rid of them and replacing them with a new shiny object.

“NavalX wants to connect those people with good ideas about innovation, in and out of the DoN [Department of the Navy], and leverage what’s already being done well—to maintain our most competitive advantage: thinking faster than our enemy.”

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Geurts also announced the ‘tech bridges’ will be in Newport, Rhode Island; Keyport, Washington; San Diego, California; Orlando, Florida; and Crane, Indiana.

The Navy said: “The tech bridges will connect and sustain ‘acceleration ecosystems’ in off-base locations across the DoN, enabling greater collaboration.

“This will be done by partnering with colleges and universities, research institutions, start-ups, corporations, small businesses and non-profits, among others.”

The tech bridges will enable people from differing fields to cooperate, facilitating an environment of discussion that is designed to push forward development for the navy.

Geurts added: “ONR can leverage that platform to get access to new ideas and technologies and companies they may not have seen before … when the [Small Business Innovation Research] folks can meet new companies and give them rapid training on how to compete for navy work… when scientists can walk in with an idea or hear about a problem and go back to their academic institutions and propose research projects that leverage all those different elements…

“When sailors and marines have a place they can walk into to either find an answer or find somebody that can get them the answer—or have an idea and then get that idea to somebody who can act [sic].”

NavalX was launched in February of this year to allow the Navy to more quickly bring technologies into service across the US Navy and Marine Corps.