Naval Earth Sciences and Engineering Program

Program Description

DRI’s Naval Earth Sciences and Engineering Program (NESEP) serves the Department of Defense with expertise in the earth sciences and engineering. The NESEP team develops and applies innovative, mission-focused, solutions-driven strategies that directly support the US Navy through contributions to fleet readiness and to ensure the long-term sustainability of premiere RDAT&E installations and airspace.

Created in 2009, NESEP directly supports US Naval operations with expertise and experience in atmospheric, geologic, and hydrologic sciences as well as civil, geotechnical, mechanical, and systems engineering. The NESEP team collaborates with the client as a stakeholder from start to finish to identify the problem(s), define solution requirements, and invoke lines of inquiry to drive to solutions as efficiently as possible. We incorporate a mix of applied, academic, and business philosophies into this workflow. As a result, NESEP’s process encourages across-the-board consensus in highly complex technical, political, and bureaucratic settings. Our team has broad experience communicating complex concepts within government, corporate, and public sectors. NESEP provides science and engineering products that are approachable, understandable, and incorporable across the Navy’s body of stakeholders.

Capabilities and Experience

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Ohio Replacement Program Support
  • Research and development in mechanical and geotechnical engineering to support test facility design.
  • Ranges and instrumentation design to support facility function.
  • Modeling, simulation and meteorological forecasting to support facility operational safety.
Real-Time Environmental Monitoring and Alert System (REMAS)
  • Continuous environmental monitoring of NAWCWD test bays, magazines and laboratories.
  • Enable significantly faster response by government personnel to address power, temperature and relative humidity problems before the test-article or test-operation is impacted.
High Performance Computational Services (HPCS)
  • Oasis – 400-core 0.5 PB computer as fast as ARL Supercomputer ‘Excalibur’ at a fraction of the cost.
  • Serving U.S. Navy and internationally recognized science and engineering firms such as Karagozian and Case, Inc.(
Example Engineering and Applied Science Projects
  • Support for Ohio Replacement Program
  • Meteorological measurement, analysis, forecasting.
  • Atmospheric plume fate and transport modeling at sub-meter scale.
  • Paleo lake and landscape reconstruction, dust and sand transport, desertification, and State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO)cultural resource mapping optimization.
  • Groundwater resources sustainability analysis.
  • Open-burn/open-detonation gas, aerosol measurement and transport.
  • Novel ordnance disposal methodology development.
  • Support for new weapon and countermeasures development.
Weather Forecasts for Crane Operators


  •  Provide weather forecasts critical for safe crane operations
  • Site-specific forecasts delivered to desktops/mobile devices anywhere
  • Operators can more confidently plan/schedule lift times around weather
  • Lightning early warning and real-time detection
  • Increase safety, efficiency, profitability, and competitiveness


  • State-of-the-art forecast engine runs on high-performance computing systems located on the DRI campus
  • Algorithms use exact crane location & learn from past forecast performance
  • Displayed 24/7/365 with DRI’s Real Time Environmental Monitoring and Alerting System (REMAS)


Long-established reputation for delivering customer-centric analysis and solutions with a balance of academic rigor and business pragmatics.

Recognized world leader in environmental sciences and engineering. As a public agency of the State of Nevada, DRI serves stake-holders as an unbiased, neutral, and transparent leader.


Begins with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Global Forecast System (GFS). Twice daily, we downscale GFS using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. WRF is operated by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction and has over 39,000 registered users. We create a WRF model specific to each crane’s location and calibrate it using observed data from existing, nearby weather stations. In the calibration process, differences between forecasted and observed temperature, barometric pressure, and wind speed are compared and the model is adjusted until the differences are minimized. Calibration is continuous during operational use of the forecast engine to improve the accuracy of the forecast.

Our REMAS software displays the forecast on desktops or mobile devices.


  • Weather parameters & crane/job requirements in lift plans
  • Managers see alarms, alerts, all cranes & crews in operation
  • Crews see on-site, real-time forecast tailored to their crane & lift


DRI faculty and staff working on weather forecasts for crane operations provide capabilities, experiences, and expertise in atmospheric, geologic, and hydrologic sciences as well as civil, geotechnical, and mechanical engineering. Our team evolves out of the Naval Earth Sciences and Engineering Program (NESEP), which serves as an organizational focal point for DRI’s services to the Department of Defense. The NESEP team has been delivering weather forecasts for heavy-lift crane operations twice a day, without interruption, since December 2016.

SeaPort Enhanced (SeaPort-e) IDIQ multiple award contract program

DRI’s Naval Earth Sciences and Engineering Program (NESEP) successfully procured a contract with the SeaPort Enhanced (SeaPort-e) IDIQ multiple award contract program.


Dave Decker, Ph.D.
Program Director


Desert Research Institute
2215 Raggio Parkway
Reno, NV 89512


Hydrologic Sciences