Last week, the National Armaments Consortium’s latest OTA, the Naval Energetic Systems and Technology (NEST) Program launched with the first ever Collaboration Event at the National Harbor just outside of Washington, DC. As your Executive Director, I am thrilled to report that the event was a great step forward for the program!

In all, over 215 attendees – including nearly 119 representatives from nontraditional defense contractors – heard from a distinguished group of keynote speakers, were briefed on two dozen new energetics technology requirements/Statements of Needs (SONs) and took part in 165 1-on-1 sessions to discuss them further. In addition to the two dozen SONs briefed at the event, the NEST Program now boasts an additional 33 SONs for a total of 57.

Keynote Speakers from government and the Navy included:

  • Ashley Johnson, SES, Technical Director, NSWC-Indian Head Division
  • CAPT Eric C. Correll, USN, Commanding Officer, NSWC-Indian Head Division
  • Mike Holthe, SES, Director, Platforms and Weapons Technologies Office of the Director for Defense Research and Engineering (Research & Technology), Under Secretary for Research and Engineering
  • Joan Johnson, SES, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, Test and Engineering (DASN (RDT&E))
  • Douglas Blake, SES, Executive Director (Acting), Office of Naval Research and Head, Aviation, Force Projection and Integrated Defense Department
  • Christopher Wilhelm, NEST Program Manager

Mr. Ashely Johnson shared his vision and thoughts at the event saying, ”Our goal (for the NEST Program) is to coalesce the energetic material systems and demonstrate the health, relevance, and need to pursue combat capability through energetics in support of the great power competition.” He went on to add, “We are willful in our intent on this engagement with world class academic institutions as well as the industrial base. Additionally, the private sector, in my view, is more innovative and tech savvy than ever before and the federal government can tap into this resource for cutting edge commercial solutions.”

I could not agree more with Mr. Johnson. When it comes to our national energetics strategy, we must answer the bell. While near-peer, or peer, adversaries are bolstering their energetics efforts, our infrastructure ages and we rely heavily on overseas chemical manufacturing. New technologies, processes, and products are imperative as we seek to maintain a strategic advantage.

The NEST Program is uniquely positioned to be a key focal point of our national energetics strategy and help solve these challenges. Furthermore, the NEST’s progress since it was announced in March, including this event, is proof positive that we are on the right course to do this.

Lastly, I’d like to thank our partners at Advanced Technology International (ATI) and NSWC-IHD for all their hard work in making this first ever NEST Collaboration Event a productive success. I look forward to working with all of you to carry this momentum into the first set of proposals and beyond!

The full agenda from the event, speaker videos and presentations can be found on our Member’s Only Website under the Events and Proceedings tab. To see a full list of approved technology SONs, go to the Solicitations tab.


Charlie Zisette

Executive Director