US Congress to discuss new ocean technologies

US Committee on Transportation & InfrastructureThe US Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee of the US House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) of the 113th Congress will conduct a hearing in Washington, DC on 21 May, about using new ocean technologies.

The hearing will "examine the proliferation of new or emerging ocean technologies, how such technologies could improve government performance, maritime commerce, and our understanding of the ocean environment and any impediments that limit or constrain the use of such technologies."

The following representatives from industry and academia are scheduled to speak ("Witnesses"):

   Thomas W. Altshuler, Ph.D., Vice President & Group General Manager, Teledyne Marine Systems

   Chuck Benton, CEO, Technology Systems, Inc. 

   Casey Moore, President, Sea-Bird Scientific

   Dean Rosenberg, CEO, PortVision

   Commander David M. Slayton, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution - Stanford University

   Eric J. Terrill, Ph.D., Director, Coastal Observing Research and Development Center, Marine Physical Laboratory - Scripps Institution of Oceanography

The meeting on 21 May is a follow up to previous hearings regarding maritime domain awareness in July 2013 and one earlier this year, recommended by Ranking Member John Garamendi (D-CA) on the future of the federal government’s navigation programs.

US Congressman Duncan D. Hunter (R-CA)Subcommittee Chairman Duncan D. Hunter (R-CA, photo at right) also held a roundtable in San Diego in February and met with various companies that are part of the Maritime Alliance.  Hunter says the Maritime Alliance represents over 1400 companies in the San Diego area that produce $14 billion in direct sales and sustain 46,000 jobs from traditional maritime industries to high tech companies – 19,000 of those jobs are high technology jobs.

"The Maritime Alliance has identified 14 distinct maritime technology clusters, such as ocean observation, ports and security, maritime robotics and large floating platforms.  This is an area of the economy– particularly the high technology maritime companiesthat has been growing and provides cutting-edge products around the world.  The companies involved in this sector are also significant exporters.  [The] hearing will highlight this sector of our economy and learn how emerging technologies can be best used," Hunter says, adding that the Subcommittee will "also hear how we can improve the process for fielding new technologies in a more timely manner."

In addition, the Subcommittee will hear testimony on large floating platforms and their possible applications, specifically in locations such as the Arctic.  "I believe the Arctic represents an opportunity for us to think outside the box on how we approach establishing a presence in the Arctic region and what technologies can best be utilized in the Arctic."

When announcing the hearing, the Committee on T&I wrotes, 

"The federal government is responsible for recording, understanding, monitoring and protecting the oceans in the Exclusive Economic Zones which surround United States and territories out to 200 miles, and even in areas of the ocean beyond those littoral zones.  Understanding and monitoring both the physical characteristics of these areas and how these areas are being used is vital to our national defense, the safety of maritime transportation, and to the protection and use of the natural resources contained in these areas.  In order to reduce costs and improve mission effectiveness, the Coast Guard and other federal agencies will need to rely on ocean observation and maritime domain awareness (MDA) technologies to make the most efficient use of valuable vessel, aircraft, and crew time.

"Private companies and academic institutions are developing better ways to understand and monitor the oceans and human activity on the oceans by inventing new, or making advances in existing, ocean observation and MDA technologies.  Next week’s hearing will examine some of these developments, as well as potential impacts of federal regulatory regimes on the use of such technologies."



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