Happy Birthday, ONR: 70 Years of Game-Changing Science and Technology

ONRBy the Office of Naval Research

As 2016 kicks into gear, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) is kicking off a series of events throughout the year to celebrate 70 years of developing cutting-edge science and technology (S&T) for U.S. naval forces.

It was in August 1946, just after the Second World War, that Congress mandated a new military command to identify and cultivate forward-looking science and technology capabilities, to ensure the superiority of U.S. warfighters.

“ONR’s S&T mission execution over these past 70 years has provided the foundation for a safer, more technologically relevant world for us all,” said Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Mat Winter. “By discovering and working with top minds, both here at home and around the world, our fostering of scientific research to support naval power and academic excellence remains as vital today as it was 70 years ago.”

Some of the planned events and commemorations of the 70th anniversary include:

  • Distinguished Lecture Series: Groundbreaking innovators—who have made a major impact on past research or are working on discoveries for the future—will speak at ONR over the course of the year, in lectures open to the public.
  • Pentagon commemoration and tech display: An observation of past, present and future S&T contributions by ONR will be held at the Pentagon on June 24. In addition, a special series of events will be held on Aug. 1, the day President Harry Truman signed the bill that established ONR.
  • Office of Naval Research Turns 70 ONR celebrates 70 years of innovation in 2016. For seven decades, ONR through its commandsincluding ONR Global and the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C.has been leading the discovery, development and delivery of technology innovations for the Navy and Marine Corps.
  • 70 Stories of Innovation: The ONR website will showcase some of the command’s breakthrough discoveries since 1946.

Long recognized as a leading sponsor of S&T advances through partnerships across government, industry and academia, ONR manages short-, mid- and long-term scientific research investments, serving as the “venture capital” for America’s technological superiority.

Basic research seeds future discoveries, while quick-reaction S&T research programs help develop innovative concepts and accelerate mature technology deliveries to the fleet.

“From essential early advances in radar and GPS, to hybrid electric drive motors and swarming autonomous vehicles today, to shipboard railguns and lasers in the future, ONR has been there to meet Navy and Marine Corps needs—to envision the art of the impossible and change science fiction to science fact,” said Dr. Lawrence Schuette, ONR’s director of research.

“To achieve the level of technological advances our Sailors and Marines enjoy today took the talents of countless scientists, engineers and others who have dedicated themselves to ONR’s creed: America’s future force should never be in a fair fight.”

ONR’s establishment in 1946 marked the first time a peacetime organization would use government funds to support civilian science and technology research at universities, laboratories and businesses.

Since that fateful year, the command, along with its Naval Research Enterprise organizations that include ONR Global and the Naval Research Laboratory, has played a leading role in many of the most important discoveries and inventions—from the earliest computer systems and software, to the exploration of the ocean’s depths, to new materials and sensors that have been integrated into everything from household items to warships.

Whether it’s the latest technology in the hands of Sailors or Marines, or systems that keep everyday people in contact with each other, ONR has had a hand in making the world of tomorrow a reality today.

For ongoing updates throughout the year on ONR’s 70th anniversary celebration, visit http://www.onr.navy.mil/About-ONR/History.aspx. View a copy of the original law that established ONR, with President Truman’s signature.