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MCTSSA Granted Technical Activity Status

23 Sep 2021 | Amy Forsythe, Public Affairs Officer, MCTSSA Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity

The Chief of Naval Research designated Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity as a Technical Activity earlier this summer. This designation authorizes MCTSSA to engage with industry and educational institutions for technology transfer activities and opportunities.

Technology transfer is the movement of data, designs, inventions, materials, software, technical knowledge or trade secrets from one organization to another or from one purpose to another. The technology transfer process is guided by the policies, procedures and values of each organization involved in the process.

For MCTSSA, the technology transfer activities will primarily focus on cooperative research and development agreements with industry technology leaders and education partnership agreements with colleges and universities. Both technology transfer vehicles provide opportunities for the innovation and rapid evaluation of technology in support of Marine Corps requirements. 

“Partnerships are critical to our success and we’re embracing collaborative efforts to achieve joint integration and interoperability,” said Lt. Col. Michael Liguori, commanding officer of MCTSSA. “This designation will be an enabler to strengthen our partnerships with industry and universities as we look to transform and adapt to the future.”

Technology transfer can take place between universities, businesses and governments, either formally or informally, to share skills, knowledge, technologies, manufacturing methods and more. This form of knowledge transfer helps ensure scientific and technological developments are available to a wider range of users who can then help develop or exploit it.

This transfer can occur horizontally across different areas or vertically by moving technologies from research centers to research and development teams.

“We must leap in systems advancement and move with deliberate urgency to pursue the commandant’s Force Design 2030,” said Liguori.

Force Design 2030 is the guiding document published by the Marine Corps in March 2020 calling for greater Naval and joint force integration and the goal of pursuing new capabilities.

“This designation is important to us to be able to transform into our future state to better support the Marine and stay on the cutting edge with industry,” added Liguori.

MCTSSA just recently completed an education partnership agreement with the University of California at San Diego with a focus on leading-edge technology related to artificial intelligence. This mutually beneficial agreement will provide MCTSSA the opportunity to interact with UCSD faculty and students with unique talent, skills and education to leverage against technology challenges. It will also provide UCSD insight into those technology challenges unique to the Marine Corps.

With a Technical Activity designation, MCTSSA is also now a member of the Federal Labs Consortium. FLC membership provides a way to connect, interact and collaborate with other federal labs working on technology transfer efforts.

“The FLC also provides training opportunities and events that will help enhance MCTSSA’s knowledge and expertise in technology transfer processes,” said Mike O’Neil, senior principal engineer of emerging technologies at MCTSSA. 

Upon MCTSSA’s Technical Activity designation, O’Neil was appointed as the Office of Research and Technology Applications manager and serves as the focal point for technology transfer activities for the command.

The Office of Research and Technology Applications outreach functions include working with industry, academia, and state and local governments to identify technology transfer opportunities and conducting outreach activities. For example, efforts will focus on targeted marketing, laboratory exhibits, attending small business conferences and participation in state technology councils.

MCTSSA, an elite, full-scale laboratory facility operated by the Marine Corps, is a subordinate command of Marine Corps Systems Command. MCTSSA, based at Camp Pendleton, provides test and evaluation, engineering, and deployed technical support for Marine Corps and joint service command, control, computer, communications and intelligence systems throughout all acquisition lifecycle phases.

Marine Corps Systems Command