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    Southeastern Connecticut Navy and Coast Guard commands formalize support for Coast Guard Research and Development Center autonomous vessels



    Story by Petty Officer 3rd Class Maxwell Higgins 

    Subase New London

    NEW LONDON, Conn. – Southeastern Connecticut Navy and Coast Guard commands formalized support for the U.S. Coast Guard Research and Development Center’s (RDC) experimental, autonomous vessels by signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU), January 18 at the Center.
    The MOU solidifies the cooperation between the commands to provide for the temporary storage and maintenance of RDC’s three optionally manned/unmanned surface vessels (USVs) at the Naval Submarine Base across the Thames River from the Center in Groton. The USVs are the leading edge of the Center’s autonomy research and encompass experimentation in areas from vessel control systems, to new sensors, navigation systems, and state-of-the-art communications capabilities. They are employed in joint DHS/DoD research and in partnerships with the private sector.
    Captain Daniel Keane, Commanding Officer, RDC, hosted Captain Kenneth M. Curtin Jr., Commanding Officer, Naval Submarine Base New London (SUBASE); Commander Drew Nilsson, Commanding Officer, Navy Reserve Center New London; and, Commander David Sigler, Officer in Charge, Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron (MSRON) EIGHT Detachment Groton, in the signing of the MOU. Navy Region Mid-Atlantic and Navy Reserve Expeditionary Maintenance Detachment New London are also parties to the MOU.
    Keane called the MOU a “force multiplier.”
    “This is a great opportunity for our commands to work together to share knowledge, resources, and talent to further understanding of autonomous vessel operations, support, and logistics,” Keane said.
    The MOU also fills a vital need.

    “The RDC does not have the billet structure and facilities to sufficiently manage the maintenance and repair aspect of this boat program,” said Lt. Dean Gilbert, the RDC’s lead for vessel maintenance with the Navy. “Partnering with the Navy fills critical gaps in the program, helps in the training of Reserve Sailor technicians, and ensures work is being done in facilities compliant with all Coast Guard, Navy, and state requirements.”
    For the Sailors from SUBASE Port Operations, the MSRON, and the Reserve Expeditionary Maintenance Detachment, the support opportunity has multiple benefits.
    “This cooperative effort not only provides our Navy Sailors with valuable training opportunities to sharpen their skills and maintain mission readiness across several platforms, but also to work with fellow sea service professionals in the Coast Guard,” said Nilsson.
    “Additionally it exposes them to experimental, cutting-edge systems and technologies that may be the standard in the future,” noted Sigler.
    Local Navy and Coast Guard leaders recognized such beneficial outcomes from the start.
    “The signing of an MOU with three Navy commands, all in collaboration and focused on autonomy, is an operationalization of the tri-service strategy,” said Dr. Joe DiRenzo, the RDC’s Director of Research Partnerships, referring to the joint Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard focus on modernization, mission efficacy, and leveraging each service’s complementary capabilities towards the nation’s strategic priorities.
    DiRenzo was the initial proponent of the joint collaboration idea to meet the RDC’s need, and Curtin helped ensure the idea came to fruition by leading SUBASE Port Operation Officer, Lt. Jon Battle, in coordinating support and participation by the other local Navy commands.
    The MOU exemplifies a forging of the Coast Guard Commandant’s tenant to “Sharpen our Competitive Edge,” with the Chief of Naval Operations’ initiative to “Get Real, Get Better,” highlighted Curtin.

    “The Coast Guard and the Navy in Southeastern Connecticut have a long history of cooperation and support,” Curtin said. “This joint collaboration reflects the execution of senior service strategies at the deck-plate level. Our local Navy and Coast Guard are demonstrating our commitment to constant improvement, maximizing resources, and training, learning, and adapting as a collective team to meet current and future challenges. It’s a win for us all.”
    With the MOU signed, RDC autonomous vessel storage at SUBASE is anticipated by the end of January, with maintenance efforts to begin soon after.
    For more news and information from Naval Submarine Base New London, visit
    For more news and information from the U.S. Coast Guard, visit



    Date Taken: 01.19.2023
    Date Posted: 01.19.2023 12:04
    Story ID: 436930
    Location: CT, US

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