Waterside security

Award Year 

Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport (NUWC Newport) is the U.S. Navy's Center of Excellence for undersea systems. Its unique expertise in the design, integration, and fielding of in-water systems to detect, locate, identify, and neutralize surface and subsurface targets is relied upon by the U.S. Coast Guard and Navy in the development of core swimmer defense and waterside security competencies in response to the global war on terror (GWOT). (more)

Dam, power plant, and other waterside facility operators, as well as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of the Interior (DOI), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) have a need for automated swimmer detection systems, but lack the ability to identify key performance requirements before selecting from the many in-water and surface sensors that are commercially available. These entities rely heavily on commercial vendors that tend to promote technologies from partnering companies and that may not have the accuracy or reliability the security application demands. Additionally, vendors may not have the expertise waterside security systems require to meld different sensor types (e.g., visual, infrared, acoustic, heat) into a seamless system.

The NUWC Newport Waterside Security Team instituted and validated a comprehensive technology test and evaluation protocol that identified the strengths and weaknesses of commercially available systems to detect and respond to in-water threats to military pierside and shore-based facilities. In contrast to commercial companies, NUWC Newport can provide impartial underwater systems technical assistance to determine specific component and system performance criteria, and provide guidance on available commercial sources from which the infrastructure operator makes the selections. NUWC Newport then plays the important role of integrating and testing the fully fielded system using Navy divers for decoys and targets, and an established test plan that permits direct comparisons of component and system alternatives. This rigorous evaluation capability has been successfully transferred to multiple government agencies, academia, and the private sector to assist with the development, test, and evaluation of waterside security systems for critical infrastructure protection.

Recipients of the transferred technology include government agencies (DHS and the DOI Bureau of Reclamation); the ACOE, the University of Kentucky (UK); and the Dam Waterside Security R&D Task Group comprised of government (federal and state) and private dam owners across the United States; as well as port and waterside facilities, including a nuclear power plant operator. The technology transfer took place over the period from 2009 to the present under multiple intergovernmental agreements and Cooperative Research and Development Agreements.