Originally Published by Seapower Magazine
MIDDLETOWN, R.I. — The Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance (SENEDIA) is developing the Undersea Technology Innovation Center, a Rhode Island-based hub for national undersea technology excellence, SENEDIA announced in an Aug. 16 release.
The Undersea Technology Innovation Center will promote advanced learning in the undersea sector and the rapid development, testing and commercialization of innovative undersea technology for commercial, academic and defense organizations.
“As the Brookings report noted, our maritime sector is one of the Rhode Island economy’s true strengths, a competitive advantage, and an industry growth area that we should continue to invest in,” Rhode Island Gov. Gina M. Raimondo said in the release, referring to the January report “Rhode Island Innovates: A Competitive Strategy for the Ocean State,” written by the Brookings Institution’s Mark Muro and Bruce Katz. “SENEDIA is one of our Real Jobs RI job-training partners, our industry partner for the P-TECH cybersecurity program, and a recipient of a Commerce Corporation Industry Cluster Grant. SENEDIA’s Undersea Technology Innovation Center is an exciting and very promising development for Rhode Island defense industry employers and the prospect of creating high-value, high-wage STEM jobs.
“I want to ensure Rhode Island remains at the forefront of undersea technology and this new center has the potential to bring top naval suppliers together with academic and government leaders to develop cutting-edge capabilities, concepts, and technologies for our forces,” said Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “The Undersea Technology Innovation Center can also give Rhode Island companies a platform to collaborate and showcase their work.”
“Between our geographic advantage and the tremendous public and private resources we already possess in the national security and defense realms, Rhode Island is perfectly positioned to emerge as a leader in undersea technology and innovation,” said Rep. Jim Langevin, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee who sits on the Seapower and Projection Forces subcommittee. “I applaud SENEDIA for their vision in making our state a center of excellence, and I look forward to working with the stakeholders involved in this initiative.”
“There could be no better place than the Ocean State to host a national hub for the development of cutting-edge undersea technology,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I. “Thanks to SENEDIA and its Rhode Island partners for their commitment to excellence in this area. Your work will keep Rhode Island at the forefront of maritime innovation.”
“Rhode Island is home to a wealth of undersea capabilities,” said Molly Magee, executive director of SENEDIA.
In June 2016, SENEDIA was awarded a grant by the van Beuren Charitable Foundation to begin the strategic planning to formalize Rhode Island as a national leader in undersea technology. The development of the innovation center is one part of that effort. Initial steps will be to develop a virtual undersea technology innovation center. This will be followed by establishing the physical center.
State leaders representing the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC), Raytheon, University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography, General Dynamics Electric Boat, and Salve Regina Pell Center, in addition to SENEDIA leadership, have already come together to kick off the center’s planning, and have committed their support and advocacy in setting the direction of the organization. The steering committee will continue to evolve as it looks to welcome key members of the Rhode Island commercial and small business markets.
“SENEDIA looks forward to collaborating with all the companies, organizations, academic programs and others that have a role in undersea technology to make this center the leading hub of undersea technology innovation,” Magee said.
SENEDIA is Southeastern New England’s catalyst for thought leadership and innovation in undersea technology, cybersecurity and defense technologies. The organization is focused on providing its members and the region with the latest information about opportunities in the defense and homeland security sectors and facilitating the associated workforce development efforts. SENEDIA has over 90 members from the region with 15 new members and 76 renewal memberships since January 2016.