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Littoral Geosciences and Optics

The Littoral Geosciences and Optics program (ONR 322LO) supports basic and applied research for expeditionary warfare, naval special warfare, mine warfare and antisubmarine warfare in shelf, near-shore, estuarine, riverine and riparian environments, with a particular emphasis on robust 4D prediction of environmental characteristics in denied, distant or remote environments.

  • The program undertakes comprehensive field experiments around the globe to develop and validate predictive models and test remote sensing technologies in support of assuring access to the maritime battlespace.
  • The products of the program investments, transitioned to the operational forecast centers, provide warfighters with a common environmental operating picture to enable safe and effective mission planning and execution.
  • Motivation for new, or greater, understanding of any one particular process/dynamics or proposed modeling improvement should be tied to shortcomings in operational forecasting capabilities.

Research Concentration Areas

  • Understanding and modeling coastal and riverine dynamics
  • Developing remote sensing capabilities for quantifying dynamics in coastal and riverine environments, above and below the sea surface and canopy
  • Understanding and modeling optical processes in these areas
  • Pursuing new methodologies and/or observing technologies (6.1), or utilization of organic, through-the-sensor techniques which can increase battlespace awareness (6.2)

Topics of interest are motivated by ongoing and future Navy and Marine Corps planning and operational needs.

Studies by individual investigators and collaborative teams are often undertaken in conjunction with other programs at ONR, including:

Focused, field-oriented research programs are undertaken as departmental research initiatives (DRIs) or as Multidisciplinary University Research Initiatives (MURIs), each of which typically has 7-15 investigators, a five-year timeframe and substantial funding for field studies and modeling.

Research Challenges and Opportunities

  • New methodologies and/or observing technologies which are:
    • nimble, cost-effective, rapidly re-locatable, or will offer bold new insight into littoral dynamics, or
    • utilize sensors on operational platforms (termed organic) in ways which increase battlespace awareness or can be used to map the maritime domain while idle.
  • Consider how dynamics vary/function as a system over O (1-50) km and at event scales (e.g., Nor’easter, rain event, hurricane) and/or winter conditions. Is this variation captured by the current suite of ocean-atmosphere-moveable bed models?
  • New remote sensing tools and algorithms that can be used to initialize forecast models in distant, remote and/or denied areas.

How to Submit

For detailed application and submission information for this research topic, please refer to our broad agency announcement (BAA) No. N00014-22-S-B001.

Contracts: All white papers and full proposals for contracts must be submitted through FedConnect; instructions are included in the BAA.

Grants: All white papers for grants must be submitted through FedConnect, and full proposals for grants must be submitted through; instructions are included in the BAA.

Call for Planning Letters

The Littoral Geosciences and Optics program solicits informal planning letters or pre-proposals from prospective investigators as the first step in the proposal process.

Learn more


Dr. Reginald Beach
Program Officer
Code 322