in that conflict? That’s the same
challenge we have today. It is our
ability to maintain a competitive
advantage through speed.
Information, especially information about technology, has been
commoditized through the use of
the Internet. The speed at which
information moves across the globe
is unparalleled in history. Every
time a new scientific fact is discovered, it is available to everybody.
Our challenge in today’s environment is to put those to good use
and to apply those to our area of
interest: naval power for the Navy
and the Marine Corps.
Our measure of success today
is not that we plan, foster and
encourage scientific research;
it is how we take that scientific
research and turn it into naval
power. The United States Navy is
probably more important today
than it has been in the 70 years
since ONR was instituted as an
organization. Keeping the global
commons open for trade, keeping the global commons open and
available for the movement of supplies, services, human beings, information, that’s what
we do every day. It is a tremendous challenge.
With World War II, there were a lot of
innovations, like radar. If a congressman
asked you, “What have you done for us
lately?” what would you tell him?
HAHN: Throughout our history you will find those
spots where the leadership provided by the community that we call the Naval Research and Development
Enterprise has really led the way for the force of the
future. If you look at our challenges today, we have a
distributed force, globally deployed. The numbers of our
platforms are going down and yet the challenges and
requirements of our force are going up. As we look to
the future, that key term is affordability when we make
capital-intensive investments in things like ships and
aircraft and submarines. We look to provide opportunities for more and more man/machine teaming.
Autonomy is something that we have been a leader
in for quite some time and we continue to see benefits of autonomy. The LDUUV [Large-displacement
Unmanned Underwater Vehicle] project here inside of
ONR has been groundbreaking as an innovative naval
prototype. That is becoming a foundation for underwater vehicles for the Navy as it moves toward.
The opportunities provided by electric weapons —
directed-energy lasers or things like the railgun with
a high-velocity projectile — when combined with the
right hull, mechanical and electrical enablers necessary on a ship, provide for an unlimited magazine, for
weapons effects that can meet the challenges of an
ever-expanding adversary profile of weapons, as well
as an adversary’s complexity and lethality of their own
Can you provide an example of the problem
of the speed of technological change?
HAHN: In 1907, the battleship USS Connecticut sailed
with the Great White Fleet out of Hampton Roads to
steam around the world. That Great White Fleet at the
time was at the bleeding edge of technology. This was
the first time that all-steel ships in a force like this
had sailed around the world.
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG 11 SEAPOWER APRIL 2017