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The Navy and Technology

Navy & Marine Corps Technology for the 21st Century

For 235 years, the Navy and Marine Corps have grown and adapted to meet shifting and ever-changing requirements of a fluid and ever-more-complex world. When our tactics became dated, we have innovated. When developments require new technology, we have invented. That is who the Navy and the Marine Corps are and what the Navy and Marine Corps remain: the most formidable fighting force this world has ever, ever known."

--The Honorable Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy, April 11, 2011

During the War of 1812, the US Navy benefited from certain technological advantages that gave our ships an edge over the Royal Navy. The dense live oak timbers used in the construction of the USS Constitution and her sister frigates made their hulls more resistant to gunfire. Our superior sail fabric made better use of the available winds. The very design of the frigates, with more and heavier guns, and better sailing qualities, proved decisive in single-ship engagements, and when our ships had to escape from the costal blockade or stand away from greater Royal Navy forces.

In the 200 years since the War of 1812, technological innovation has been an essential component in the ships, aircraft, sensors, and weapons that have contributed to victories by America’s Navy. Discoveries and developments by the Navy’s research enterprise have also made extraordinary contributions to the lives of American citizens and people everywhere, with capabilities such as the Global Positioning System.

In the 21st Century, the research commands of the Navy and Marine Corps continue to explore science and technology to find new materials, energy sources, and combat capabilities, maintaining the critical technological edge that was first enjoyed in 1812. Check out the organizations below for an early look at tomorrow’s naval technologies.

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Office of Naval Research

As the Department of the Navy's Science and Technology (S&T) provider, ONR identifies S&T solutions to address Navy and Marine Corps needs. Since its establishment in 1946, ONR continues to be the first place that senior naval leadership turns to for addressing emerging technology issues and challenges. The ONR mission, defined in law, is to plan, foster, and encourage scientific research in recognition of its paramount importance as related to the maintenance of future naval power, and the preservation of national security; and to manage the Navy’s basic, applied and advanced research to foster transition from science and technology to higher levels of research, development, test and evaluation.

 Navy Medicine

Navy Medicine

As the preeminent maritime medical force deployed with Navy and Marine Corps warriors throughout the world, Navy Medicine supports the full range of operations from combat to humanitarian assistance. Navy Medicine conducts relevant research,development, testing, evaluation, and clinical investigations which protect and improve the health of those in our care. Navy Medicine also provides superior state of the art in‐garrison health and preventive care for active duty personnel, our families and those who have worn the cloth of our nation – our retirees.  Learn about Navy Medicine in the War of 1812.

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Naval Sea Systems Command

The Naval Sea Systems Command is comprised of command staff, headquarters directorates, affiliated Program Executive Offices (PEOs) and numerous field activities. Together, we engineer, build, buy and maintain ships, submarines and combat systems that meet the Fleet's current and future operational requirements.

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Naval Air System Command

Naval Air Systems Command's mission is to provide full life-cycle support of naval aviation aircraft, weapons and systems operated by Sailors and Marines. This support includes research, design, development, and systems engineering; acquisition; test and evaluation; training facilities and equipment; repair and modification; and in-service engineering and logistics support.

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Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command

The United States Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command (NMOC) provides critical information from the ocean depths to the most distant reaches of space, meeting needs in the military, scientific, and civilian communities.

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Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory

Through innovation and experimentation, the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory produces solutions for the Corps' operating forces.

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Marine Corps Combat Development Command

The Marine Corps Combat Development Command develops fully integrated Marine Corps warfighting capabilities, including doctrine, organization, training and education, materiel, leadership, personnel, and facilities, to enable the Marine Corps to field combat-ready forces.

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Naval Research Laboratory

NRL is the corporate research laboratory for the Navy and Marine Corps and conducts a broad program of scientific research, technology and advanced development. NRL has served the Navy and the nation for over 85 years and continues to meet the complex technological challenges of today's world.

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Naval Postgraduate School

NPS provides high-quality, relevant and unique advanced education and research programs that increase the combat effectiveness of the Naval Services, other Armed Forces of the U.S. and our partners, to enhance our national security.

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Naval War College

The Naval War College's missions today are developing strategic and operational leaders, helping the Chief of Naval Operations define the future Navy, strengthening maritime security cooperation and supporting combat readiness.

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Department of the Navy Energy, Environment and Climate Change

The Navy and Marine Corps are deeply committed to changing the way energy is used and produced, preserving the environment, and planning for and mitigating the harmful effects of climate change. This website provides information about the Navy and Marine Corps' energy, environmental, and climate change programs.


For more on the Navy and Technology in the 21st Century:

2011 Sailing Directions from Admiral Jonathan Greenert, USN, 40th Chief of Naval Operations
2011 Chief of Naval Operations Posture Statement from Admiral Gary Roughead, USN (Ret.), 39th Chief of Naval Operations

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