Spotlight on artificial intelligence: ONR to highlight AI research at DoD Symposium

September 09, 2020

ARLINGTON, Va.--How can the Department of the Navy (DoN) best harness the power and potential of artificial intelligence (AI) to address everything from operating efficiency at sea to corporate excellence?

These questions will be discussed by leaders from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) during two panel sessions at the Department of Defense (DoD) Artificial Intelligence Symposium and Exposition, held Sept. 9-10, 2020.

The two-day virtual event is sponsored by the DoD's Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC). It will bring together government, business and academic experts to focus on delivering AI-enabled solutions to benefit warfighters; strengthen national security; and improve the effectiveness, affordability and speed of military operations.

On Thursday, Sept. 10, at 2:30 p.m., Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Lorin C. Selby will participate in a session titled "Rigging for AI," which will discuss how to best position the sea services for accelerated AI development and adoption.

Later that day, at 3:15 p.m., ONR will preside over another session showcasing the AVENGER Naval AI Grand Challenge--an initiative intended to maximize military-civilian AI partnerships, and promote greater innovation within AI development processes.

"In naming the challenge AVENGER, we took inspiration from the Battle of Midway," said Navy Chief AI Officer Brett Vaughan, who is part of the team overseeing AVENGER. "Midway was a pivotal momentum shift in World War II and saw the debut of the Avenger torpedo bomber, an aircraft that revolutionized naval operations.

"Much like the role the Avenger aircraft played in Midway, our expectation is that the AVENGER Naval AI Challenge will catalyze a tide-turning effort in the campaign to accelerate AI development and adoption," continued Vaughan, who also is ONR's AI portfolio manager.

The AVENGER Naval AI Grand Challenge is a collaboration involving the Navy Chief AI Officer; ONR; the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfighting Development (OPNAV N7); the NavalX Agility Cell; the Navy's Digital Transformation Office; JAIC; and various naval laboratories and warfare centers.

The challenge connects Navy and Marine Corps AI developers with experts in industry, academia and the government to address problems ranging from knowledge management and data maintenance to base security and small-unit maneuvers. The goal is to develop fleet-tested solutions within a year and scaled capabilities within 18 months.

Vaughan said a primary objective of AVENGER is to evaluate the effectiveness of the current naval innovation pipeline to remove barriers to AI adoption and create best practices for getting technology solutions to the fleet faster.
For more information about the DoD Artificial Intelligence Symposium and Exposition, visit

Office of Naval Research

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