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Navy S&T Strategy: New Document, Old Problems

Navy releases strategy emphasizing global collaboration and innovation, prioritizing maritime dominance, science and technology excellence, and scientific diplomacy.


The Department of the Navy (DON) has released a new science and technology strategy that aims to direct innovation.

“This strategy is a global call to service for scientists, engineers, inventors and innovators from academia, industry and government to work with us in solving naval problems,” said Carlos Del Toro, secretary of the Navy, at an event in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.

The document prioritizes three lines of effort:

  • Maritime technological dominance
  • Building a culture of S&T excellence
  • Naval scientific diplomacy














These lines aim toward making capability acquisition faster and the research agencies of the DON more agile, as well as fostering exchanges with allies and partners.

Del Toro told journalists that the department will focus on unmanned and biotechnology, without elaborating due to the secret nature of this research. The strategy document clarifies that warfare can be potentially revolutionized by leveraging life sciences for “developing new high-performance materials for maritime applications, generating and storing energy, increasing energy efficiency, biomanufacturing of critical materials, biological sensors and adaptive systems.”

On increasing capabilities at speed and relevance, Adm. Lisa Franchetti, the chief of naval operations, explained how the ongoing conflict in Europe has demonstrated a faster adoption pace.

“The Ukrainians are able to innovate very quickly on the battlefield, getting inside the [observe, orient, decide and act] loop of their adversary and being able to combat, making their technologies evolve, as they can innovate on the battlefield, and that's what we're doing,” Franchetti said in an event.








Carlos del Toro, Secretary of the Navy
We have an enormous labor problem in this country.
Carlos Del Toro
Secretary of the Navy


The Navy has recently published a shipbuilding review that exposed shipyards’ delays in deliveries to the service.

“In the case of some of these delays, they are due to major components that are being delivered late by the subcontractors . . . we have an enormous labor problem in this country—and all the shipyards in all the industries are being impacted by it as well too,” said Del Toro, echoing off-script remarks he made during the WEST 2024 maritime conference in San Diego.

Beyond labor shortages, a recurrent theme in the secretary’s remarks over the last months when addressing shipbuilding, Del Toro criticized shipbuilders for not investing enough and praised partner countries for their advanced technologies.





Adm. Lisa Franchetti, CNO
The Ukrainians are able to innovate very quickly on the battlefield.
Adm. Lisa Franchetti
Chief of Naval Operations


“When my team and I went to South Korea, we were floored at the level of digitization and real-time monitoring of shipbuilding progress, with readily available information down to individual pieces of stock materials,” Del Toro said.

The new strategy document specifies that “the DON must foster initiatives and collaborations to promote the development of the future and current Naval STEM workforce and expand those efforts to two-year and certificate programs that support mission-essential skills for shipyard team members in areas such as uncrewed system maintenance, along with others.”

This is the only instance in which the science and technology strategy mentions shipbuilding.


Photo credit: Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class George Bell, U.S. Navy.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Lisa Franchetti answers questions during the “Chief Leadership Session” at an annual event in Washington, D.C. Photo credit: Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class George Bell, U.S. Navy.