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FCW : May 30, 2014
14 May 30, 2014 FCW.COM The Of ce of Naval Research is where science meets operations for the Navy and Marine Corps. A typhoon that ripped through the Philippines last November brought that intersection to the fore. ONR had spent about three years developing the Marine Corps Civil Information Management System (MARCIMS), mobile-phone software that collects and stores operational data in a wiki for future use. When Typhoon Haiyan hit, killing more than 6,000 people, Marines who had tested the application were sent to the Phil- ippines to collect data and facilitate disaster relief. "It gave the commander a much bet- ter picture of what was going on, and it gave this historical record that was useful to go back...and understand what we had done where and where we should try to engage going for- ward," said ONR Program Of cer Ivy Estabrooke, who won a 2014 Federal 100 award for her work on MARCIMS and other projects. MARCIMS is an example of a "sci- ence and technology idea that takes hold...[and] is exercised in a way that supports both the needs of the Marine Corps but also the partners that we re trying to develop capacity with in other countries, and then having something ready to use when disaster strikes," she added. Marines like the application because it saves them the tedious work of tran- scribing their notes from the field. MARCIMS has geospatial layers for different data views, and some of its ndings can be shared with nongov- ernmental organizations responding to a crisis. With a doctorate in neuroscience from Georgetown University, Esta- brooke is the personi cation of ONR s straddling of science and military oper- ations, and she is applying a career of scienti c research to the far- ung work of the Marine Corps and Navy. A senior Navy Department of cial praised her ability to live in both worlds: "She has moved the research to where it needs to be." From Estabrooke s perspective, the key has been engaging stakehold- ers from the beginning. "One of the interesting things that we learned in [MARCIMS] was the bene t of getting the operational community involved at a very early stage in the development," she said. She added that she has also found that "there are trade-offs between sexy, exciting, cutting-edge science and something that s usable and will hold up [in the eld]. Being comfortable with walking that line is an important thing in tech development." When Estabrooke is looking for sex- ier tech ideas, she might head west to Silicon Valley or north to the suburbs of Boston. ONR has held workshops with tech rms "to try and get small compa- nies to talk to the government, which isn t always something they want to do, frankly, because often their business model is to be bought out, not to take government funding and then have to work with us," she said. Ivy Estabrooke personi es the Of ce of Naval Research s straddling of science and military operations Linking --- and real- research to BY SEAN LYNGAAS
May 15, 2014
June 30, 2014