Partners and team members from the Coast Guard’s Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) Program and the Research and Development Center (RDC) were recently awarded the Commander Joel Magnussen Innovation Award for Management for the joint Interagency Alternative Technology Assessment Program (IATAP) they established last year in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Their award is part of the Coast Guard’s annual Captain Niels P. Thomsen Innovation Awards program.
In the early days of the oil spill, it became apparent that the government needed to institute a fair and systematic method to collect, acknowledge, assess and respond to the influx of innovative spill response technologies submitted by all levels of government, academia, industry and the public at large. In response to this need, retired Adm. Thad Allen, the National Incident Commander, established the IATAP effort.
The RDT&E Program and the RDC took the lead and devised a management strategy to implement a systematic, fair and government-managed technology assessment program to evaluate potential alternate response strategies. This was the first time that a program like this had been established, marking a significant departure from the RDT&E Program and RDC’s normal world of work. Based on its success, this program will be executed during future Incidents of National Significance where rapid, fair and systematic technology assessment is required.
One of the most innovative features of IATAP was the use of an online collaboration tool to facilitate the review of the more than 4,000 submittals received. In record time, the RDC and the Coast Guard’s Operations Systems Center implemented the site, enabling the Coast Guard and six other federal agencies in five separate geographic regions to expedite the review process. The site enabled 12 technical evaluation teams to collaborate in near real-time with adequate security to meet federal procurement regulations for acquisition-sensitive documents. It also allowed submitters to track their suggestion via a tracking number as it moved through the technical evaluation process.
The Captain Niels P. Thomsen Innovation Awards recognize the exemplary efforts of Coast Guard individuals or teams who have created or implemented innovative solutions to service challenges. The four award categories are: science or technology; operations or readiness; administration, training or support; and the Commander Joel Magnussen Innovation Award for Management. Entries are judged based on the innovative approach to solving a specific Coast Guard challenge; the success of implementation at the local, district, area or national level; and the resulting improvements in efficiency, productivity, information sharing, resource coordination or process.
The award presentation ceremony will be held during the Coast Guard’s 2011 Innovation Expo from Oct. 25 to 27 in Tampa, Fla. For more information, visit http://www.uscg.mil/innovation/.