San Diego, USMC Partner on Regional Smart City Initiatives

The California city and the U.S. Marine Corps will work together on a number of projects designed to enhance security and services for residents.

by / March 1, 2019
San Diego, Calif. Shutterstock/Dancestrokes

The city of San Diego and the U.S. Marine Corps have entered into an agreement to collaborate on various smart city initiatives, including programs involving renewable energy, drones and smart streetlights, according to the Mayor's Office.

Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer announced the partnership alongside Maj. Gen. Vincent A. Coglianese, the commander of the city's Marine Corps Installations Command, during a press conference last week.

The city and the Corps will soon begin forming working groups to focus on three primary areas of development: protection and security, mobility and public works.

"We’re building on the long tradition of collaboration between the U.S. military and the city of San Diego and taking that partnership to the next level for the betterment of the San Diego region,” Faulconer said in a statement.

The smart city concept is one that has been increasingly embraced by communities across the country. Initiatives generally revolve around leveraging technology to collect and analyze data, while  making service delivery more responsive. 

To facilitate the partnership, Faulconer and Coglianese signed a memo of understanding outlining the parameters of the agreement and collaboration.

Both will work together to "pilot various innovative solutions," using working groups where needed to review issues and develop action plans to carry out programs, the memo states. Officials will also conduct monthly conference calls, as well as semi-annual in-person meetings to discuss the progress of various projects.   

“San Diego and the Marine Corps have a long history working together and this agreement is a testament to our partnership,” said Coglianese said in the release.

The partnership will focus on a number of initiatives, including collaboration involving some 3,200 recently installed smart streetlights, which are equipped with a bevy of sensors that assist with data collection and law enforcement operations.

The city and Corps are also likely to collaborate on drones. Last year, San Diego was one of a handful of cities picked to participate in a UAS testing program run by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Now the Corps will become one of some 20 partners involved in the San Diego region’s consortium for the pilot program.

The collaboration is part of a Marine Corps program called Installation neXt, which seeks to create stronger, more resilient military bases through various initiatives. Often these initiatives are compatible with the smart city model, said Lt. Col. Brandon Newell, West Coast lead for Installations werX West, one of the program’s divisions.

Installation neXt frequently seeks out mutually beneficial relationships with institutions and communities in pursuit of its goals, Newell said.

"Our Installation neXt program is focused on the future of installation stations and bases," Newell said. "My job is to find collaborative opportunities that are stepping stones to that future.”

“There are things that the Marine Corps is doing that the city will be able to leverage, and then there are things that the city is doing that we want to be able to leverage as well,” he said. 

Lucas Ropek Staff Writer

Lucas Ropek is a staff writer for Government Technology. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and writer in Massachusetts and New York. He received his Bachelor's degree in English from Kenyon College in Ohio. He lives in Northern California.

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