New unit of volunteers will help Coast Guard Research and Development Center execute missions


By JULIA BERGMAN | The Day, New London, Conn. | Published: August 29, 2020

(Tribune News Service) — The Coast Guard Research and Development Center has formed a dedicated unit of volunteers to support its mission.

The new Coast Guard auxiliary unit, which will assist the R&D center as needed, will help find subject matter experts and people to assist in field research, as well as with public affairs for the center's range of projects. The Coast Guard recently held a ceremony to celebrate the new unit officially being operational.

The R&D center, the only such facility dedicated to research and development in the Coast Guard, tests new technologies and evaluates how they could be used by the service. The small research staff of military and civilian scientists and engineers has been partnering with operational commanders and research partners to facilitate these evaluations, the Coast Guard said in a news release this week.

The new auxiliary unit will enlarge the workforce at the R&D Center, which, with a staff of 85, is much smaller than the research and development arms of the other military services, said Capt. Dan Keene, head of the R&D center.

"The Northeast area has probably one of the best and most dense research populations in the country, so we're trying to focus on the research community, young graduate students, to spur their interest in the Coast Guard and create diversity among the members who volunteer," Keene said.

Bruce Buckley, a member of the Coast Guard auxiliary for 18 years and the coordinator for the new unit, said the auxiliary is usually focused on boating safety, so this new mission could attract new members or provide new interest or work area for current auxiliary members.

Historically, the auxiliary has worked with the R&D Center on a project-by-project basis, Buckley said. "We've never been integrated as a member of the project teams," he said.

Some of the previous projects the auxiliary has worked on with the R&D center include helping to construct a ground control station in Fairbanks, Alaska, for a Department of Homeland Security-sponsored project involving miniature satellites known as CubeSats, and creating a documentary of large-scale oil burn research on Little Sand Island in Mobile Bay, Ala.


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