Acronyms and Organizations

Federal Government

DoD The Department of Defense is America’s largest government agency, and its headquarters are at the Pentagon. Its mission is to provide the military forces needed to deter war and ensure our nation’s security.


The DoD is composed of The Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, and Coast Guard. All of which are the armed forces of the United States. The Army National Guard and the Air National Guard are reserve components of their services and operate in part under state authority.


The Defense Department has 11 combatant commands, each with a geographic or functional mission that provides command and control of military forces in peace and war.

NOAA The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is tasked to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, ocean, and coasts, to share that knowledge and information with others, and to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources.


NOAA is an agency that enriches life through science. Their reach goes from the surface of the sun to the depths of the ocean floor as they work to keep the public informed of the changing environment around them.

ED The Department of Education’s mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access. ED was created in 1980 by combining offices from several federal agencies.


ED’s 4,400 employees and $68 billion budget are dedicated to: Establishing policies on federal financial aid for education and distributing as well as monitoring those funds; Collecting data on America’s schools and disseminating research; Focusing national attention on key educational issues; and Prohibiting discrimination and ensuring equal access to education.

NASA The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is America’s civil space program and the global leader in space exploration. The agency has a diverse workforce of just under 18,000 civil servants, and works with many more U.S. contractors, academia, and international and commercial partners to explore, discover, and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity.


At its 20 centers and facilities across the country – and the only National Laboratory in space – NASA studies Earth, including its climate, our Sun, and our solar system and beyond. They conduct research, testing, and development to advance aeronautics, including electric propulsion and supersonic flight. They develop and fund space technologies that will enable future exploration and benefit life on Earth.

NIH The National Institutes of Health is a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and it is the nation’s medical research agency — making important discoveries that improve health and save lives.


The NIH’s mission is to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability.


Their goals are: To foster fundamental creative discoveries, innovative research strategies, and their applications as a basis for ultimately protecting and improving health; To develop, maintain, and renew scientific human and physical resources that will ensure the Nation’s capability to prevent disease; To expand the knowledge base in medical and associated sciences in order to enhance the Nation’s economic well-being and ensure a continued high return on the public investment in research; and To exemplify and promote the highest level of scientific integrity, public accountability, and social responsibility in the conduct of science. In realizing these goals, the NIH provides leadership and direction to programs designed to improve the health of the Nation by conducting and supporting many different avenues of research.


Thanks in large part to NIH-funded medical research, Americans today are living longer and healthier. Life expectancy in the United States has jumped from 47 years in 1900 to 78 years as reported in 2009, and disability in people over age 65 has dropped dramatically in the past 3 decades. In recent years, nationwide rates of new diagnoses and deaths from all cancers combined have fallen significantly.

Smithsonian Institution The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex, with 21 museums and the National Zoo. They work to shape the future by preserving heritage, discovering new knowledge, and sharing their resources on a global scale.


The Institution was founded in 1846 with funds from the Englishman James Smithson (1765–1829) according to his wishes “under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” This wish directs the mission of the Smithsonian to this day.

NSF The U.S. National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency that supports science and engineering in all 50 states and U.S. territories.

NSF was established in 1950 by Congress to: Promote the progress of science; Advance the national health, prosperity and welfare; and Secure the national defense.


They fulfill their mission chiefly by making grants. Their investments account for about 25% of federal support to America’s colleges and universities for basic research: research driven by curiosity and discovery. They also support solutions-oriented research with the potential to produce advancements for the American people.

OSTP The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy was established in 1976 in recognition of the need to coordinate the Federal science and technology policy and provide the President with the best possible guidance on advances in science and technology. Today, OSTP works to maximize the benefits of science and technology to advance health, prosperity, security, environmental quality, and justice for all Americans.


To accomplish this mission, OSTP: Provides advice to the President and the Executive Office of the President on all matters related to science and technology; Stewards the creation of bold visions, unified strategies, clear plans, wise policies, and effective, equitable programs for science and technology, working with departments and agencies across the Federal government and with Congress; Engages with external partners, including industry, academia, philanthropic organizations, and civil society; state, local, Tribal and territorial governments; and other nations; and Works to ensure inclusion and integrity in all aspects of science and technology.


They aim to ensure that science and technology best serve the country, that all Americans can participate in and benefit from science and technology, and that any policy developed is science-driven, and based on evidence, exploration, open-mindedness, rigor, honesty, and scientific integrity.


Naval Research Enterprise
NRL The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory is a scientific and engineering command dedicated to research that drives innovative advances for the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps. NRL is the Department of the Navy’s corporate laboratory and reports to the Chief of Naval Research. As the Navy’s corporate laboratory, NRL is the principal in-house component in the Office of Naval Research’s (ONR) effort to meet its science and technology responsibilities.

NRL has had a long and fruitful relationship with industry as a collaborator, contractor, and through Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) which it continues to develop. NRL is an important link in the Navy Research, Development, and Acquisition (RD&A) chain. Through NRL, the Navy has direct ties with sources of fundamental ideas in industry and the academic community throughout the world and provides an effective coupling point to the R&D chain for ONR.

NRL is a Navy Working Capital Fund activity, which means it is not a line-item in the U.S. Federal Budget. Instead of direct funding from Congress, all costs, including overhead, are redeemed through sponsor-funded research projects. Funding sources include the Chief of Naval Research, Naval Systems Commands, and other government agencies, such as the U.S. Air Force, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Department of Energy (DOE), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), as well as several non-governmental activities.

ONR The Office of Naval Research was established in 1946 “…to plan, foster, and encourage scientific research in recognition of its paramount importance as related to the maintenance of future naval power, and the preservation of national security.” ONR is tasked with discovering, developing and delivering new technology and capability for the Navy and Marine Corps. Sailors and Marines must have the decisive technological edge to ensure they have the advantage in every engagement, and it is ONR’s mission to deliver this.

ONR’s investments have enabled many firsts, including one of the earliest digital computers and the first programming language; the first satellite navigation system; advanced radar; powerful shipboard lasers; and the electromagnetic railgun. They aim to continue leading the way in fields such as autonomy, artificial intelligence, synthetic biology and more, to ensure America always has the Navy the nation needs.

ONR-G The Office of Naval Research – Global propels the execution of long-range strategic efforts that address the future needs of the naval fleet and forces and international partners through building and fostering international connections.

Its Science directors promote collaboration with international scientists, and science advisors identify fleet/force needs and implement technology solutions. Both serve as the chief of naval research’s science ambassadors abroad.

ONR Global also sponsors programs – exchange visits, conferences and workshops, seed funding – that foster collaboration between Navy personnel, scientists and technologists around the world.