Representatives from the Naval Postgraduate School and the Naval Postgraduate School Foundation recently attended the WEST 2023 conference, co-hosted by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) and U.S. Naval Institute (USNI), in San Diego, California. The conference brought together industry leaders with military decision-makers and operators to explore the latest platforms, leading-edge technologies, and state-of-the-art networking capabilities that support naval operations and discuss the challenges facing our Department of Defense.
During the conference, U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Eric Smith and Navy Adm. Sam Paparo delivered keynote speeches highlighting the increasing threat from China's military capabilities, cyber attacks, and climate change. They underscored the importance of industry partnerships to enhance readiness, infrastructure, and training, as well as partnerships with allies as a key factor in maintaining strategic readiness against threats.
Representatives from NPS and the Foundation engaged with current and potential industry partners to discuss collaboration opportunities to address the key operational challenges identified by Department of the Navy Leadership, academic, and industry experts in keynote addresses and panels. The NPS Foundation also hosted an alumni event with approximately 50 attendees for networking and socializing. Attendees represented alumni who are still serving in those who have transitioned to industry roles.
On the final day of the conference, Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro and Chief of Naval Operations Michael Gilday emphasized the importance of investing in specialized and educated personnel, as well as the readiness and modernization of the Fleet. Gilday acknowledged that private industry, including small companies, is at the forefront of producing new capabilities, and the Navy must be agile in adopting new technologies in combat situations and across all domains to remain prepared for future challenges.
Del Toro emphasized the need for strategic partnerships with small, medium, and large businesses to maintain national security and enable a strong military and Department of Defense to keep American citizens safe. His key takeaway was, "Our partnership with industry has never been more important - our nation, and indeed, the world, depend on us working together so that our security, our way of life, our future, are assured. We are on this critical mission together. We must support each other. We must keep working hard to strengthen these partnerships."
The Naval Postgraduate School's presence at the conference highlights its commitment to partnerships and collaborations that can provide significant contributions to solving the challenges faced by the Navy in the Pacific and elsewhere. Through engagement with current and potential industry partners, NPS can continue to drive innovation and excellence in naval operations and maintain a strategic advantage against evolving threats posed by foreign adversaries.