Navy chief mulls R&D resources

Secretary England's remarks to Naval Industry R&D Partnership Conference

The Navy needs to coordinate more with the private sector on science and technology research and development spending so that the limited funds are spent more efficiently, Navy Secretary Gordon England said.

But first, the service must implement reforms, England said Aug. 13 at the Naval-Industry R&D Partnership Conference at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C.

"The Department of the Navy needs commercialinnovation," he said. The challenge "is to decide where to spend our own scarce resources to augment the far greater resources being spent in the private sector."

England supports the Defense Department's effort to increase spending on science and technology R&D to 3 percent of its budget. But he said military regulations make it hard to work with industry.

The former executive vice president of General Dynamics Corp. described the Pentagon's economic environment as "more attuned to the failed Soviet model — centrally planned and consisting of a myriad of rules and regulations that govern its behavior."

After the presentation, England told reporters that he supports the Navy Marine Corps Intranet despite ongoing disputes over how to test it. NMCI is the Navy's effort to outsource its information technology infrastructure, with Electronic Data Systems Corp. as the prime contractor.

If officials from the Navy, DOD and the Office of Management and Budget don't resolve testing issues by Sept. 30, the Navy will have to pay EDS up to $728 million even if the company is prevented from rolling out seats.

"We're determined to continue," England said.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine,, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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