"The Future of DNA Storage" Report
Hardware Security Symposium Speaker Series with Mike Sutherland
"The Fast Approaching 5G Revolution: Disruptions and Opportunities" Report
“Security Strategies for Global Supply Chains” Report
About Us

The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies has been asked by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to perform an independent study of the MARITECH program, as it approachs its fifth year and is in the process of transferring to Navy management. Much is to be gained by taking a hard and independent look at this revolutionary program to understand how well it is accomplishing its objectives and what benefits are expected over the next few years. A good deal of this insight can be gained from examining those efforts managed by the shipyards.

The principal goals of the MARITECH Program Review are to:

  • Provide an independent assessment of ongoing and completed shipyard-managed projects conducted under MARITECH
  • Assess how well these projects are serving the objectives set by the MARITECH Program Office
  • Collect and document stories to illustrate the benefits and the difficulties encountered in conducting a dual-use program with an emphasis on creating a commercial market
  • Derive lessons learned that will help guide future efforts and provide insight into prioritization of goals and approaches

Download the MARITECH Study here: PDF 845K/278 pages

Download just the Executive Summary from the MARITECH Study: PDF 50K/12 pages

MARITECH Program Background

New Challenges

The post-Cold War defense procurement posture has changed significantly. The Department of Defense (DoD) no longer projects the procurement of large numbers of new weapon systems. Particularly hard hit is U.S. Navy procurement of capital ships, which has declined steadily since 1991. Current strategy calls for the maintenance of a 300 ship Navy compared to the mid 1980’s goal of a 600 ship Navy. The effects of this vastly changed procurement posture on the U.S. shipbuilding industry were of great concern a half dozen years ago when the DoD budget began to fall. Our political leaders were particularly worried because the U.S. shipbuilding industry was almost totally devoted to building U.S. Navy ships and therefore had no other market to turn to.

The impact is beginning to be visited upon the Navy, which is finding costs and availability of shipbuilding technologies and facilities rising at an alarming rate. An effective way to counter this trend is to look to the commercial marketplace, as is being done in the various dual-use activities throughout the DoD. However, dual-use cannot be a solution where there is no commercial industry. Unfortunately, that is the case with the U.S. shipbuilding industry today, which for decades has neglected the building of commercial vessels. This neglect, coupled with the ever-diminishing demand for Navy ships, has resulted in an atrophy throughout the American shipbuilding industry which threatens to end not only our ability to ever compete in commercial shipbuilding again, but also in military shipbuilding.

Although a solution to the diminishment of Navy ship procurement may be for U.S. shipyards to become competitive in the global shipbuilding market, there has been little evidence that this can be done in the near future without an intense and collective effort by the shipyards, perhaps with government help. Recent experience is not encouraging. In the mid-70’s, U.S. shipbuilders built, on average, 20 large commercial ships per year. This production rate has steadily decreased, with fewer than 20 ships being built during the entire eleven-year period, from 1982 to 1993. [1]


In October 1993 President Clinton approved and signed a report to Congress titled, "Strengthening America’s Shipyards: A Plan for Competing in the International Market." This report described a program, MARITECH, that would share the costs of industry-initiated research and development projects to accelerate technology transfer and process change. MARITECH was to focus on manufacturing and information technologies needed by U.S. shipyards to become competitive in international shipbuilding commerce. The program is managed by the MARITECH Office, operating under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) with personnel support from the U.S. Navy and the Maritime Administration. The MARITECH Program began in FY93, principally to encourage the U.S. shipbuilding industry to expand into the commercial sector, thereby increasing its potential for staying in business and passing savings gained from commercial efficiencies and economies of scale to the Navy. The MARITECH Program has been funded at $30-50 million per year since FY94. The program receives its final year of funding in FY98 and will then transition to a U.S. Navy managed effort to carry on the goals of MARITECH.

MARITECH Objectives and Approach

Five objectives were adopted by MARITECH to facilitate pursuit of commercial competitiveness in the shipbuilding sector. These objectives were listed in the President’s Plan and the National Shipbuilding and Shipyard Conversion Act of 1993. They are to:

  • Encourage and support proactive market analysis and product development
  • Develop a portfolio of U.S. designs
  • Develop innovative design and production processes and technology
  • Facilitate government and industry technology transfer activities
  • Encourage formation of consortia for short- and long-term technology investment strategies

The resulting MARITECH Program has sponsored projects in three areas:

The Near Term Approach is to apply technology for quick commercial market penetration. The stated goals of the near-term phase is to penetrate the global market in one-to-three years, and to change the U.S. shipbuilding culture to commercial practices. This is being accomplished through vertically oriented consortia or teams, market-oriented commercial ship designs, commercial shipbuilding strategies, and business plans.

The Long Term Approach is to develop advanced technology to achieve a self-sustaining shipbuilding mobilization base. The approach is to emphasize consortia or teams, to seek out and develop advanced technology and radical process and product improvements, and to facilitate culture changes toward commercialization.

In addition, MARITECH has initiated Nsnet, an electronic commerce and computer-integrated enterprise to bring information and electronic technology strengths of DARPA and the nation to the maritime industry. Results of working in this area will include: building an internet infrastructure in the maritime community and developing and deploying future technologies to enable the community to perform electronic commerce. Shipyard-Managed Projects

Many of the projects sponsored by MARITECH are managed by one of nineteen shipyards. They are especially focused on developing technology and infrastructure and pursuing a large commercial market in shipbuilding. The MARITECH Program Office perceives that these projects constitute a vital cross section of the total MARITECH Program, providing insight into the strengths, weaknesses and lessons to be learned from the program as a whole.

The MARITECH Program Review

As stated above, the basic purpose of the MARITECH Program is to improve the commercial competitiveness of the U.S. shipbuilding industry. Benefits to the Navy include improved availability of shipbuilding, more efficient (therefore faster and less expensive) shipbuilding processes, and a broader range of dual-use technologies and products. In order to optimize this process, it is important to understand its major efforts at each stage of progress. This will be accomplished through the Institute's MARITECH Program Review which will study each of the shipyard-managed MARITECH projects at fourteen yards.

[1] SCA, "International Shipbuilding Aid-Shipbuilding Aid Practices of the Top OECD subsidizing Nations and Their Impacts on U.S. Shipyards," Shipbuilders’ Council of America (SCA), Arlington, VA, 1993.

Featured Publications

The Journey of a Warrior: The Twenty-Ninth Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps (1987-1991): General Alfred Mason Gray, Second Edition Author: Colonel Gerald H. Turley, US Marine Corps "The Journey of a Warrior" tells the inspiring story of a truly unique Marine who became a brilliant combat leader and achieved international prominence. General Alfred Mason Gray, US Marine Corps, was a loner by nature, and many of his peers considered him to be a maverick. At the same time, having established himself as a military intellectual of remarkable insight, he became an icon to service personnel of all ranks, as well as many prominent defense officials, politicians, and scholars. General Gray was a critical force behind the changes needed to prepare Marines for the new millennium. He is now recognized as one of the finest Commandants in fifty years. The Journey of a Warrior brings to the fore the journey of a most unusual individual: a warrior, a leader, a thinker, and a patriot. lt is not written as a biography but rather as a retrospective of a unique marine whose impact on his institution was both untraditional and perhaps under appreciated. The Marine Corps is better for his unselfish and dedicated journey to faithfully serve his country. Click to purchase
It's the Ideology: How to Defeat Islamist Terrorism Once and for All Author: David Eneboe; The terrorism embraced by the likes of Islamic State and Al-Qaeda emanates from their common Islamist ideology of hate and intolerance. Kill that ideology and we kill the terrorism that it breeds. But, we cannot kill ideas with bombs and bullets – we can only kill them with better ideas. And since the handful of Al-Qaeda extremists who first attempted to target US interests in 1992 has now grown to over 30,000 in Islamic State alone, what Washington has been doing clearly has not been working. Our strategic victory against Islamist terrorism is all but certain; the only variable in the equation is the human and material cost from our policy missteps and mistakes. Yet even after a quarter century of conflict, Washington still does not have a solid strategy for winning the war against Islamist terrorism. It’s the Ideology offers what our leaders have not – a fresh, bold, and clear six-step plan to muzzle our enemies; win the information war; turn failing states around; be smarter in our use of military force; substitute failed conventionalism with bold, twenty-first century approaches; strip Islamism of any religious legitimacy; and, ultimately, prevent future generations of terrorists. This book delivers a specific, real-world strategy to permanently defeat Islamist terrorism once and for all. This is a book about victory. It is a roadmap for restoring America’s global statesmanship and leadership written by a fresh voice with an experienced perspective. Click to purchase
Al Gray, Marine: The Early Years, 1968-1975 Vol.2 Author: Scott Laidig; Most people know General Al Gray as the 29th Commandant of the Marine Corps. His achievements as a transformational Commandant are legendary within the Marine Corps and the military services. Volume 1 of the “Al Gray, Marine” series covered his time as an enlisted Marine and junior officer. In Volume 2, Scott Laidig tells us the story of a unique, charismatic Marine during his time as a field grade officer. From establishing innovative intelligence operations in Vietnam, to command of infantry units in the challenging times of the 1970s, through his leadership during the evacuation of Saigon in 1975, Al Gray’s story is exceptional. In many ways, the accomplishments of Al Gray rival those that he carried out as a General Officer or even as Commandant. In this book, the author tells the remarkable story of Al Gray, Marine. Volume 1 of "Al Gray, Marine" won the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation’s esteemed Colonel Joseph Alexander Prize for Best Biography of the Year for 2014! Following in that tradition, Volume 2 offers significant insights into General Gray’s activities and many accomplishments as a field grade officer. Click to Purchase
In this breakthrough book, General Al Gray and Dr. Paul Otte provide a new model for achieving a higher level of leadership. This book validates the struggles of the Conflicted Leader – one who must lead individuals and organizations as our world moves through ever-evolving waves of change. But, the authors do more than address what many leaders today are experiencing. They propose a new way of making a difference though Vantage Leadership, defined as the ability to embrace uncertainty, see the possible over the probable, remain conceptual through conflict, and more. “If you only look for leadership in the usual places, you will only find the usual leadership.”
THINK BIG argues that innovation in science and technology are the keys to American economic strength and national security. Rather than a return to the infrastructure, economy, and healthcare systems of the past, the report calls for a vision for the future. The report urges the new Administration to 1) develop policy based on the best available science and 2) use policy to foster the development of science and technology. The science and technology investment priorities identified in the THINK BIG report for the next Administration include: · America’s Future Infrastructure · Fostering American Industry Leadership · Revolutionizing Medicine · Climate Engineering Download the full PDF here .
The Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense released its report, A National Blueprint for Biodefense: Leadership and Major Reform Needed to Optimize Efforts , in October 2015. The report identifies capability gaps and recommends changes to U.S. policy and law to strengthen national biodefense while optimizing resource investments. The panel is co-chaired by former Sen. Joe Lieberman and former Gov. Tom Ridge, who are joined by former Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, former Sen. Tom Daschle, former Rep. Jim Greenwood, and the Hon. Kenneth Wainstein.
The Cyber Readiness Index (CRI) 2.0 team developed a ground-breaking methodology, known as the CRI 2.0, to evaluate and measure a country’s preparedness levels for certain cybersecurity risks. The team of experts apply the CRI 2.0 to provide a compelling and actionable review of a country’s policies, plans, laws, standards, market levers (e.g., incentives and regulations), and other initiatives. The resulting actionable blueprint enables a country to better understand its Internet-infrastructure dependencies and vulnerabilities and assess its commitment and maturity to closing the gap between its current cyber security posture and the national cyber capabilities needed to support its digital future.
Grayisms and other thoughts on leadership From General Al Gray, USMC (Retired) 29th Commandant of the Marine Corps Grayisms are the embodiment of simplicity and capture recurring statements made by the General during his 41 year career in the Marine Corps and in subsequent years. General Gray’s love of his Marines along with the Sailors who serve with them and how much they love and respect him in return, shines through Grayisms. He has great admiration for all our Armed Forces. Often one to shun head tables and staff cars for mess halls and jeeps, General Gray is a true leader to the Marines serving, not under, but beside him. He has never missed an opportunity to talk with the troops and is always eager to hear about what is happening on and off the field. The Grayism exemplified in this philosophy is, “Leaders must truly care more about the people they lead than themselves.” Even as a Commandant, he has never lost his “enlisted” mentality when it comes to caring for his Marines.
A Life at Full Speed: A Journal of Struggle and Discovery by Charles M. Herzfeld Among computer science aficionados, Dr. Charles Herzfeld is affectionately known as the “Godfather of the Internet.” As Director of ARPA, the 1960s forerunner of DARPA (today’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), he was the force behind the development of the ARPANET, which ultimately became the Internet we know today. But what many do not know is the backstory behind this phenomenal achievement. The heady political, cultural and scientific milieu of that time was his element, and he emerged as a true high-tech legend. His numerous awards and honors include induction into the Internet Hall of Fame in 2012, with the title of “Pioneer.” Charles Herzfeld’s life story is an iconic American tale. Here, in his own words, is that story. Click to Purchase
Al-Qi'ida: Ten Years After 9/11 and Beyond The Potomac Institute Press is pleased to announce the latest book by Institute Chairman and CEO Michael Swetnam and ICTS Director Prof. Yonah Alexander, Al-Qa'ida: Ten Years After 9/11 and Beyond (Potomac Institute Press, 2012, ISBN: 978-0-9678594-6-0 Paperback, 454 pages). Orders for Al-Qa'ida, Ten Years After and Beyond may be placed through Amazon.com. Al-Qa'ida: Ten Years After 9/11 and Beyond follows the authors' 2001 book, Usama bin Laden's al-Qa'ida: Profile of a Terrorist Network, which came out just months before the 9/11 attacks. The new volume offers comprehensive coverage of the group’s history, leadership, financing, propaganda, ideology, and future outlook. Click to Purchase
Al Gray, Marine: The Early Years, 1950-1967 Vol.1 $29.95 Author: Scott Laidig; Foreword by General Anthony Zinni, USMC (Ret); Preface by Dr. John F. Guilmartin, Lt Col, USAF (Ret); ISBN:978-0-9852483-0-7 In this first volume of the authorized Al Gray, Marine biography series, author, Scott Laidig gives a detailed account of Al Gray as a young sergeant in the Amphibious Reconnaissance Platoon through his tours with the artillery, the infantry, special operations, and intelligence units through 1967. This work is well-researched and referenced – rich with personal and historical details, images, anecdotes and colorful episodes that bring this remarkable Marine’s experiences to life on the page. Hardbound and Kindle editions are available through Amazon and through our distributor, Baker & Taylor. Click to Purchase


The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies
Ballston Metro Center Office Towers
901 North Stuart Street, Suite 1200
Arlington, VA 22203
Tel 703.525.0770

Click here for map  

Our Mission

The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies is an independent, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit public policy research institute. The Institute identifies and aggressively shepherds discussion on key science and technology issues facing our society. From these discussions and forums, we develop meaningful science and technology policy options and ensure their implementation at the intersection of business and government.


Follow Us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter Connect with us on LinkedIn  See us on YouTube