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    Information Technology



The Information Technology Division (ITD) carries out research and development in the collection, transmission, assurance, and processing of information to provide Naval and joint warfighting forces with the means to achieve and maintain information dominance in the battlespace.

ITD’s Science & Technology (S&T) program encompasses basic research (6.1), substantial applied research and exploratory development (6.2), continuing efforts to field prototypes through advanced technology demonstrations (6.3), advanced component development and prototyping (6.4), and continuous delivery of software-based enhancements for materiel support and sustainment of fielded systems. The program addresses the technological needs of Navy warfighting systems and stakeholders and receives sponsorship from the Office of Naval Research, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research & Engineering, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Intelligence Community, as well as Department of the Navy (DON) materiel acquisition programs, industrial activities, and congressionally supported programs involving rapid technology prototyping.

In addition to its internal program activities, the Division serves NRL specifically and the DON generally as a consulting body of experts in information technology applications. The program further involves interaction and considerable coordination with US Government, industrial, academic, and international counterparts.

Core Capabilities

The Division’s technical competencies span artificial intelligence, communications & networking, information operations, high assurance systems & cyber warfare, information management & decision science, and computational sciences. The Division draws on resident expertise in computer science, electrical engineering, cybersecurity, mathematics, physics, engineering psychology, data science, and operations research. The Division also contributes to a broader, interdisciplinary Laboratory research program addressing battlespace environments, electronics, electromagnetic warfare, space technology, undersea warfare, and materials & chemistry. 


ITD (Code 5500) is organized into six Branches with specific foci and expertise, as detailed in the following six mission statements:

Our History and Heritage

NRL Information Technology Division

Information Technology Division
U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
4555 Overlook Ave., SW - Bldg. 1
Washington, D.C.  20375

High Performance Computing
Annual Report FY22

HPCMP Annual Reports - FY22

  Annual Reports dating back to FY2018 may be found here


5510: The Navy Center for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence (NCARAI) transfers emerging technology to Navy and joint warfighters based on the automation and extension of artificial intelligence and thinking processes crucial to complex decision-making. The Center's research program emphasizes four broad areas. Research in intelligent systems addresses cognitive approaches to intelligent and autonomous systems and Warfighter interaction with autonomous systems, as well as the development of systems capable of enhancing human/team performance. Research in adaptive systems emphasizes techniques that allow systems to change their level of autonomy in real time based on the operational environment and interactions with users, adapt to changes in their environment and to changes in their own capabilities, and learn new behaviors through interaction with the world. Interactive systems emphasize research, design, and development of novel user interaction techniques and multi-modal interfaces for autonomous systems and intelligent systems with particular interest in linking natural language interfaces to other modes of computer interaction, such as gestures and graphical modes of human-machine interactions. Research in perceptual systems investigates both low-level and high-level perceptual processes, and how cognition can improve the ability of systems to understand the world around them. Application areas include: autonomous vehicles and systems; intelligent decision aids; lessons-learned systems; command and control systems; cognitive robotics; human-robot and human-computer interaction; the cognition of complex visualizations, graph comprehension, interruptions, and resumptions; spatial cognition; audition; software and hardware for sensing and perception; discourse for human-computer dialog; linguistics of spatial relations; and speech input in human-computer interactions. The Center provides consultation and support to other components of NRL, the Navy, and DoD.

5520: The Networks and Communication Systems Branch conducts research and development in the area of military networks and communication systems. Research efforts emphasize the development and adaptation of communication and networking technology to meet Navy and DoD requirements. Commercial and open-source/open-standard capabilities are adopted where possible, and special emphasis is given to advancing open standards that are commercially viable and that can also meet DoD requirements. Otherwise, Science and Technology (S&T) efforts focus on those areas that are DoD-unique and unlikely to be addressed by other sectors. Methods are developed to dynamically allocate communication resources to meet warfighting needs. A particular focus concentrates effort in supporting network-, transport-, and application-layer functional performance over shared communication media; this includes the development of mechanisms that enable acceptable application performance under typical wireless operational network conditions of limited data rate, frequent link outages, high packet-loss, and network dynamics caused by node mobility. Use of discrete-event computer simulations, including industry standard software tools, permit design and testing of all forms of packet-switched networks.  We implement prototype systems to test new networking concepts and capabilities. Experiments are conducted in the laboratory, on the NRL campus, over DoD R&D networks, and at various field activities. We provide systems engineering, consultation, and support to other components of NRL, Navy, and DoD in the areas cited above.
5530: The Information Operations Branch performs basic research, advanced concepts research, and prototype development focused on defensive and offensive technologies with the end goal of achieving information dominance across all warfighting domains. Research and development thrusts in this area focus on the development of Cyber/EMW effects, analysis and exploitation of commercial wireless technologies, non-traditional communications techniques required to enable distributed information operations (IO), and the design and development of autonomy-enabled non-kinetic payloads. Specific S&T focus areas include advanced signal processing techniques, enhancements to detection and geolocation theory, special communications, software defined radio technologies, advances in the area of COMINT technologies and algorithms designed to enable distributed autonomous operations in highly denied environments.

5540: The Center for High Assurance Computer Systems (CHACS) performs basic research, exploratory development, and advanced technology demonstrations in techniques for processing and communicating data that must exhibit critical properties such as secrecy, integrity, availability, safety, and timeliness. Current research activities cover a broad range of topics including communication security, network security, computer security, security evaluations, security engineering, formal specification/verification, software engineering, and real-time systems. Current applications include cryptographic devices, cryptographic key technology, cryptographic protocols, secure command and control systems, Internet security, and high-speed network security. The Center also provides consultation and support to other components of NRL and the Navy in the planning and execution of projects that exploit secure information processing technology. The Center works closely with the National Security Agency (NSA), Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA).
5580: The Information and Decision Sciences Branch conducts basic and applied multidisciplinary research in human factors, human-systems integration, artificial intelligence, mathematics, modeling and simulation, enterprise and service-oriented architectures, and systems engineering in order to prototype and develop adaptive and resilient military decision systems. The primary application domains of the Branch research include Command and Control, logistics, cyber/electronic-warfare, personnel training, personnel selection, maritime domain awareness, autonomy, and Testing, Evaluation, Verification and Validation (TEV&V) of complex decision systems.
5590: The Center for Computational Science (CCS) conducts advance computing, data storage and communications systems modeling and simulation (M&S, to include emulation) to address Navy, DoD and IC requirements. The Center investigates and develops leading-edge technologies to establish an advanced computational environment that will benefit both researchers and warfighters. The Center studies new computing, storage and communications technologies – and their system-level interactions – to evaluate their potential. Promising technologies are further developed, enhanced, and transitioned based on customer needs. Primary research and development thrusts include: Information Systems Architectures (integrating High Performance Computing (HPC), High Performance Networks (HPN), and High Performance Data Systems, in both open and secure environments); Innovative Computer Architectures; Global Data Services (including wide-area CONUS/OCONUS efficient communications, distributed computing and secure data access); Tactical and Tactical-Edge data links, Mobile Area Networks; and scalable DevOps environments enabling software engineering for HPC frameworks. The Center also researches the integration of highly scalable geo-dispersed networked computing with harsh constraints on latency, data-location, data volume in a technology environment in which deployable software & hardware systems change rapidly. The CCS is an Affiliated Resource Center (ARC) within DoD's High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP) where it provides access to leading edge computing systems and networks to both NRL and DoD partners.