Sea Technology

JAN 2019

The industry's recognized authority for design, engineering and application of equipment and services in the global ocean community

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Page 29 of 49

30 ST | January 2019 a Blue Technology Center of Expertise that seeks to "pro- mote awareness within the Coast Guard of the range and diversity of Blue Technologies and their potential to en- hance Coast Guard mission readiness, operational per- formance, and regulation of such technologies." It's obvious that bringing legislative focus on blue tech- nology is good for our industry. And while the funding and establishment of the center lay ahead, the Congres- sional Budget Office in its review noted that the Coast Guard has experience with similar centers, and a modest appropriation of $500,000 will be required to open the doors. It is IOSTIA's position that the establishment of this center should include strong collaboration with industry and academic partners to maximize its effectiveness. Ultimately, the Center of Expertise legislation was in- cluded in the Save Our Seas Act, which was signed into law in October. This broader, bipartisan law reauthorizes the NOAA Marine Debris program, bringing much need- ed funding stability and calls for stronger international cooperation to battle plastics and other debris in the world's oceans. The point of discussing these legislative actions is to highlight the important role the government plays in our industry. With bipartisan action, the commitment of gov- ernment to focus and fund represent the single greatest opportunity outside of the defense industry and oil and gas to push the development of blue technology forward. And certainly, when science is the focus, government and academia are the critical players in town. But focusing only on funding the earliest stages of new ideas comes with risk. Without persistent emphasis placed on our industry by government, it becomes more difficult to attract the commercial investment needed to bridge the funding "Valley of Death" and to, thus, realize the type of game-changing emerging technologies that we are all aiming for. So, what lies ahead for our industry as we look to 2019? With a divided Congress, can we hope for ac- tion that moves the needle? That remains to be seen, but while our ocean champions on the Hill are largely un- heralded by wider audiences, they remain determined nonetheless. From IOSTIA's interactions in 2018, I can say that legislators and policy makers have been focused on making a difference, overcoming political challenges, and showing an interest in strong and collaborative sup- port from industry. Immediately ahead in 2019 is the requirement for the Coast Guard to implement (subject to appropriations) its Center of Expertise and to provide its vision for the other components of the Save Our Seas Act. It is clearly an ambitious time line to craft a vision and strategy, identify and nurture partnerships, and launch this new program. In addition, other relevant agencies within government are busy pursuing other blue technology opportunities as well. In these efforts throughout government, IOSTIA and our member companies stand at the ready as a resource and a partner. In November, a delegation of IOSTIA members participated in a specialized blue tech exhi- bition at Coast Guard headquarters. It is our hope that Review&Forecast Working with Government To Grow Industry By Rich Lawson CEO International Ocean Science and Technology Industry Association A s 2018 draws to a close, it's a great time to reflect on the past year with an eye toward future oppor- tunities. From my van- tage point leading the International Ocean Science and Technol- ogy Association (IOS- TIA), our main focus is on those blue technol- ogy sectors that lie pre- dominantly outside offshore oil and gas interests. Further, our mission is largely directed toward providing a voice in government for those whom we serve and to assist in developing new business opportunities. As a result of our focus and mission, we've had the privilege of being involved in some key pieces of legis- lation that hold the prospect of reshaping both the focus of government and investment into the technologies that provide new insights and opportunities as we seek to ex- plore, understand and sustainably exploit our seas. Early in 2018, we worked closely with policy makers to solicit industry input to understand what might con- stitute game-changing technology that could reshape how we explore and gather data in our ocean. As you would expect, many ideas were discussed, ranging from the overarching big data problem to pragmatic challeng- es of increasing the effectiveness of battery technologies and in-situ recharging solutions that leverage renewable ocean energy sources. And while ideas are crucial, how government affects change can make the difference between effective adop- tion and commercialization of novel technologies. Will new and potentially duplicative bureaucracies or strong public-private partnerships yield better outcomes? As government considers legislation seeking to kick-start a blue tech evolution, maintaining strong connections and effective communication with industry is critical to the development of effective and appropriately focused leg- islation. Later in 2018, we had the opportunity to work with lawmakers on legislation focused on improving the Unit- ed States Coast Guard's mission capabilities through more effective procurement of the latest blue technolo- gies. And while there was the initial and expected criti- cism on display during public hearings, the direction of the resultant legislation was pragmatic, if not inspiring. The centerpiece of this new legislation is the creation of

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