Sunday, August 26, 2007

Swamp Works

The Swampworks is a Navy program for quick innovation similar to the Lockheed Martin Skunkworks

"Swampworks" was created by the Former Chief of Naval Research (CNR), RADM Jay Cohen, to find technological solutions to many new challenges that face the Navy today. The research funded by Swampworks is designed to produce results in 1-3 years, instead of the 15-20 year time-frame of conventional S&T development. The research is done at high-risk with the possibility of high payoff.
Good idea.


Snake Oil Baron said...

Especially since I understand that there is an increasing focus on littoral operations. It would be a good time to be using some creativity and experimentation.

Tom Cuddihy said...

Personally I've had bad experience with recent experiments in "rapid funding and prototyping" or "rapid spiral development," whatever they're calling it.

It seems to be an excuse in many cases for not doing the required planning, starting work anyway, and then baling out the project with extra infusions of all comes crashing down when you have to start from scratch.

I'm not saying the current S&T cycle is a good way to do business.It is its own self-propagating mess -- but you have to be careful what you attempt under this aegis. Different types of bullet proof vest, translation PDA, or mini-UAVs to the warfighter bettah soonah fastah..ok, I'll buy it.
One-of-a-kind basic physical research like polywell....disaster.

Propulsion systems of any kind are always the type that have to be researched, planned, and tested carefully.

M. Simon said...


A lot depends on the quality of people running the project.

If I know what I want to accomplish I can devise a general plan in days or a week.

Then start implementation and flesh it out as we go with the proviso that we scrap the whole thing and restart if we find we have boxed ourselves in.

To do something like that steel leadership is required. Patton type. Always focused on the objective. Never afraid to restart if something doesn't work.

Personally I believe with enough resources a power producing (to the grid) Bussard Reactor can be done in 3 or 4 years if the physics is right.