2018 Innovation Award winners pose for a group photo at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Loumania Stewart.

Coast Guard recognizes innovation with annual awards

The Coast Guard honored a group of exceptional innovators whose ideas have helped make the Coast Guard more ready, relevant and responsive with Capt. Niels P. Thomsen Innovation Awards. The ceremony took place during the Senior Leadership Conference held April 25, 2019, at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C.


Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Spotlight: Polar Scout Program Launches

The Coast Guard Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Program and the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate partnered together to test the capabilities of small, inexpensive satellites – known as CubeSats – through the Polar Scout Project, including the launch of two CubeSats. The results of these tests will help improve communication in the Arctic environment, monitoring large areas for illegal activity, and helping to locate persons in distress at sea.


Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Spotlight: Symposium investigates energy and maritime risk

The Coast Guard is partnering with academia, industry and government to provide cutting-edge training, education and awareness to its workforce. To aid those efforts, the Coast Guard Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Program is co-hosting the annual Maritime Risk Symposium with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the National Academy of Science – Transportation Research Board. This year’s event is scheduled to be held Nov. 14-16, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.


A law enforcement team from Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf (WMSL-750)consisting of Petty Officer 1st Class Jordan Baptiste, Petty Officer 1st Class Asher Thomas, Petty Officer 2nd Class Jean Latimer, Lt. j.g. Kenji Awamura and Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Scott, man the cutter's Over The Horizon (OTH) boat, Nov. 4, 2008, during law enforcement training. Team members train constantly to be proficient in their maritime law enforcement mission. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Henry G. Dunphy.

Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Spotlight: Night vision devices evaluation

The Coast Guard Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Program on behalf of the Office of Boat Forces recently completed a research project on newer night vision technology. As a result of that project, CG-731 developed policy and training that allows qualified Coast Guard pursuit coxswains operating the Coast Guard’s over the horizon cutter boats to use night vision technology in the execution of their missions.


During Arctic Technology Evaluation 2018, the AeroVironment Puma unmanned aircraft system and a Coast Guard unmanned surface vessel were deployed together to test the feasibility of using multiple unmanned systems as a communications link over larger areas. Patrick Ryan, a researcher in the Systems Branch at the Coast Guard Research and Development Center, readies the UAS before launch. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Alexandra Swan.

Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Spotlight: Arctic Technology Evaluation 2018

The Coast Guard’s objectives in the Arctic include advancing U.S. security interests and pursuing responsible stewardship of the area. Two components of that strategy – maritime domain awareness and protection of the delicate environment – were the focus of the Coast Guard Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Program’s 2018 Arctic Technology Evaluation held in late July in Alaska. The event enables the Coast Guard to gain efficiencies by evaluating multiple technologies that have the potential to enhance future Coast Guard operations in harsh environments.


The RDT&E Program has even advanced into working in space-based technologies with the DHS/Coast Guard Polar Scout Program. Two small satellites or “cubesats” capable of detecting transmissions from emergency position indicating radio beacons will be deployed this fall to evaluate their ability to detect and geolocate distress transmission in an Arctic environment and provide signal information to a special network of ground stations.

Coast Guard RDT&E Program celebrates 50 years

During its 50 years of existence, the RDT&E Program has completed research that has been vital to the successful advancement of Coast Guard missions including search and rescue, aids to navigation, spill response, and port and cybersecurity as well as supporting the acquisition of new assets such as the national security cutter, offshore patrol cutter and unmanned aircraft system capability.


A red handheld flare, the minimum pyrotechnic for which the project investigated alternatives. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Spotlight: Alternatives to pyrotechnic distress signals

Distress flares are vital to boating safety, but pyrotechnic flares can pose a safety hazard to people not trained in their use. In addition, expired flares can create environmental hazards through leaching chemicals when disposed of in landfills or at sea. As an alternative, the Coast Guard has been researching the suitability of light emitting diode (LED) devices as effective distress signals through its Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Program.


Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Spotlight: Innovation Awards

The Coast Guard Innovation Council assesses and provides strategic guidance on emerging technologies, missions, gaps, challenges and requirements. Recently, 12 Coast Guard members were honored for ideas that significantly impacted the service’s operations with the Capt. Niels P. Thomsen Innovation Awards during the Senior Leadership Conference held at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C.


Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Spotlight: Short-range UAS for the maritime environment

The Coast Guard Research and Development Center has been evaluating short-range, hand-launched UAS for several years. Researchers have also evaluated short-range UAS in realistic maritime security, first responder and pollution response scenarios. The lessons learned are being used to develop concept of operations for Coast Guard-specific missions.


Scot Tripp and Lt. Cmdr. Shaun Vaccaro perform final checks on a Coast Guard-developed Hailing Acoustic Laser Light Tactical System onboard Coast Guard Cutter Flores, Feb. 14, 2018, in a Miami harbor. The CG-HALLTS system was designed by the Coast Guard Research and Development Center to effectively communicate and enforce maritime security zones with boaters. U.S. Coast Guard Research and Development Center photo.

Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Spotlight: Laser light communication system CG-HALLTS

Coast Guard Law Enforcement personnel need an unambiguous tool to better attract boaters’ attention and communicate with them. The Coast Guard Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Program is currently testing a possible solution: a Hailing Acoustic Laser Light Tactical System appropriately called CG-HALLTS. Instead of launching a small boat or dispatching a helicopter to determine a boater’s intent, the Coast Guard may be able to de-escalate a high-alert scenario with CG-HALLTS.


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