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State strengthens maritime commitments with Ocean Task Force

photo courtesy of Gov. Phil Bryant

On Thursday in Gulfport Gov. Phil Bryant announced the creation of the Ocean Task Force during a ceremonial executive order signing. 

The announcement was made in conjunction with the Naval Oceanography’s Unmanned Systems Operational demonstration at the Combat Readiness Training Center.

“The Mississippi Gulf Coast is well-positioned to grow as a major unmanned maritime systems center as the result of an increased emphasis on oceanography and survey vessels,” Gov. Bryant said. “The team of experts comprising this Task Force will create the strongest possible environment for attracting the unmanned maritime systems industry to our state.”

The Task Force will reinforce Mississippi’s commitment to the U.S. Navy and the maritime industry. It’s goal, to align Mississippi’s maritime assets to support the Navy’s efforts to maintain it’s battle space competitive edge.

The Task Force was modeled after Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson’s Task Force Ocean. It will address the growing need within private and public sectors to close a widening competitive gap around ocean science and technology. It will develop a master plan identifying key attractors, partnerships, missing elements, research and training as state, federal and private resources become available.

“I am incredibly honored to chair the Ocean Task Force for Governor Bryant. This is a visionary step toward enhancing our nation’s advantage in the design, development, testing and application of unmanned maritime systems,” said Dr. Monty Graham, director of the University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Ocean Science and Technology. “Mississippi has sucha rich history founded on shipbuilding and maritime commerce, and now we plan to lead the nation into the future of science and technology in unmanned maritime systems.”

The Master Plan is due 120 days from the announcement of the Task Force, it will exist through Gov. Byrant’s term.

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