Agreement Between Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division and Local Company Considers Transitional Technologies for Navy Use

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division (NSWC PHD) has further expanded its technology transfer presence through its latest Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA), this one signed with GBL Systems Corp., based in Camarillo, Calif., a supplier of systems engineering and custom software products to the US Armed Forces.

“GBL Systems performs a significant amount of work for Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) and the Department of Defense Test Resource Management Center and is looking to transfer certain capabilities to possible naval applications aboard ships,” explained Alan Jaeger, from the NSWC PHD Research and Research Office. Responsible for technological applications.

The CRADA agreement includes the evaluation of advanced augmented reality (AR) and cyber and biometric authentication technologies and practices at the command’s Fathomwerx laboratory during Naval Advanced Technology Exercise (ANTX) 2022 and the Port Security Program and maritime Coastal Trident.

Research and development efforts will focus on commercial technologies that could potentially apply to Navy ships and the entire U.S. Navy, and are aligned with the In-Service Engineering Officer (ISEA) mission ) of the NSWC PHD to service, maintain and provide training for warship combat systems.

GBL Systems’ lead scientist Michael Soltys said his team was delighted to work with the command and formalize what was previously an “informal” agreement through Fathomwerx Lab, a public-private partnership on the Hueneme Port property. .

“While GBL Systems has worked for decades with the Naval Air Systems Command at Point Mugu (in Port Hueneme, California), our collaboration with NSWC PHD is new; we are excited to showcase our solutions and test them for the specific needs of the NSWC PHD and the larger Navy Afloat.

This isn’t the command’s first interaction with Soltys, a professor and president of Camarillo-based California State University, Channel Island’s computer science department. He participated in the first NSWC PHD summer faculty program in June 2020, sponsored by the Office of Naval Research to initiate formal relationships between naval laboratories and research experts of their choice.

Soltys, who is also a software engineer, said GBL Systems and Fathomwerx Lab have been in touch for some time through the Ventura Tech Bridge, “and we are very happy to now have a formal collaboration agreement.”

Three specific technologies will be explored with CRADA, including: GBL Systems’ FutureOrb identity management, which offers a biometric authentication framework with a dual function of physical access control; the company’s Cyber ​​Forensics Integrated Triage Tool (Cyber-FITT), a handheld digital forensics device; and content creation technology for immersive education using AR and virtual reality (VR).

These technologies will be the subject of collaborative research and development between GBL Systems and NSWC PHD principal investigators with CRADA, and will be showcased during the open house portion of this year’s ANTX/Coastal Trident event. .

The command’s principal investigators include: Socrates Frangis, director of cybersecurity afloat; Jorge Lacoste, IT engineer from the design and testing office with solid experience in cybersecurity; and Liping Chen, a systems engineer who also received a U.S. patent last fall for “biometric authentication for secure system access,” according to the patent title.

Although Chen’s biometric authentication system, which includes a wrist vein image capture and processing device, is not part of this initial phase of CRADA, it could be part of a next phase agreement. because the technology is more specifically tailored to Navy needs, Chen said.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the security and capacity building of combatants,” she added.

Chen, who is co-chair of the Navy Augmented Reality Consortium, will also work with GBL Systems on potentially adapting its existing AR and VR training technologies to support the warfighter.

“At GBL Systems, we have a lot of AR/VR technologies ready to deploy,” Soltys said. “We will work with (command) on creating content relevant to the Navy.”

Frangis said his team is most interested in Cyber-FITT technology and how it could potentially be adapted for Navy use.

Cyber-FITT is a handheld, field-ready digital forensics triage tool designed for the on-site evaluation of digital storage devices, such as computer hard drives or digital memory cards, that are subject to excavations or investigations.

“It is initially intended for mobile devices where law enforcement could quickly, in the field, assess a suspicious device and perform initial forensic analysis following a cyber incident,” Frangis said. “While this use case is more specific to state and local law enforcement, we see potential for Navy applications as mobile devices and mission applications become more mainstream.”

Frangis added that as ISEA, the command’s role in cyber incident response is to augment the navy’s cyber defense operations center, support the fleet in system isolation, collect artifacts forensics and restore the system to a normal operational state.

During the ANTX/Coastal Trident Open House, members of the CDSN PHD Cybersecurity Team will observe the capabilities and limitations of Cyber-FITT and provide recommendations on how the technology could be matured to support the role of command with the Navy’s afloat control system, cyber incident response, particularly in the forensic artifact collection phase, Frangis said.

A team from GBL Systems will present the three technological products during the ANTX/Coastal Trident open house event scheduled for the week of September 12. Soltys said the FutureOrb demo will be used to admit registered attendees to the event; those who choose not to participate in facial recognition analysis can be manually registered.
For Cyber-FITT, GBL Systems will be able to provide examples of use cases of a pilot program tested while executing search warrants issued by the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, along with the results gathered when used by the County High Technology Task Force’s Digital Forensics Laboratory. members.

“An application of Cyber-FITT could be port security, if digital media on ships are to be searched efficiently,” Soltys said.

Chen said she is working with GBL Systems to help find use case examples for AR/VR training technologies that will incorporate custom headsets and automated creation methods for technical support and Sailor training.

“We are establishing a drumbeat to meet regularly to monitor progress and tasks in preparation for the open house event,” she said.

Brendan Applegate, Fleet Experimentation and Exercise Manager with the Command Technology Office, is also the lead coordinator for the annual ANTX/Coastal Trident, which typically takes place April through September and features a variety operations-based exercises, technical demonstrations and field experiments.

“ANTX will be used as a demonstration location to increase awareness and access to these and other technologies in development among the Navy and partner organizations,” he said. “Use cases and new applications will become a talking point and provide high-value opportunities for transition and implementation.

“Fathomwerx and ANTX activities are designed to give us good insight quickly with minimal government and developer investment.”

The concept of technology transfer, often referred to as T2, is often the subject of agreements such as CRADA as well as working agreements with private parties (WWPP), patent/software license agreements (PLA/SLA) , Education Partnership Agreements (EPA), and Partnership Intermediary Agreements (PIA).

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