Maritime Innovative Science and Technology Integrated Action Team


The Maritime Innovative Science & Technology IAT (MIST IAT) provides the CMTS with a strategic capability to identify, coordinate, develop, and implement innovative research, development, and technology (RD&T) to address the pressing challenges identified in the National Strategy on the Marine Transportation System: Channeling the Maritime Advantage (2017).


A coordinated R&D strategy will enable the Nation to address marine transportation infrastructure challenges efficiently, meet increasing freight demand, promote safety in and security of the MTS, and address the environmental impacts of the MTS.

Integrated Action Team Leads

  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • U.S. Maritime Administration (DOT)

Participating Agencies

  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Federal Highway Administration (DOT)
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (DOT)
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • U.S. Coast Guard
  • U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology
  • U.S. Maritime Administration (DOT)
  • The Volpe Center (DOT)


In Spring 2018, this IAT changed its name from the Research and Development (R&D) IAT to the Maritime Innovative Science & Technology (MIST) IAT to encompass broader science and technological advances to the marine transportation system (MTS). Over the course of its time, this IAT has organized five biennial R&D conferences in conjunction with the Transportation Research Board (TRB). The IAT has previously provided strategic capabilities to identify and implement innovative research and develop new products in response to the pressing challenges identified by the CMTS and its National Strategy for the Marine Transportation System: A Framework for Action (July 2008). In January 2011, the R&D IAT issued the CMTS Strategic Action Plan for Research and Development in the MTS, which called for a coordinated research framework aimed at leveraging and linking existing Federal R&D programs to improve the MTS.

Activity and Milestones

  • March 15-17, 2021: Sixth biennial R&D conference with TRB, "Advancing The Marine Transportation System through Automation and Autonomous Technologies: Trends, Applications and Challenges"
  • March 2019: MIST IAT releases conference summary of the fifth biennial research and development conference, Transforming the Marine Transportation System Through Multimodal Freight Analytics.
  • April 2018: Renaming of R&D IAT to the Maritime Innovative Science and Technology (MIST) Integrated Action Team.
  • Completed: The IAT published an update to the 2011 R&D Strategy, CMTS Strategic Action Plan for Research and Development in June 2017.
  • Completed: An in-depth technical report on Marine Transportation System Performance Measures Research, including historical context and a discussion of how the first generation performance measures describe the MTS as an integrated system and fit into a larger freight flow plan, was published in June 2016 by the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC).
  • Completed: The IAT co-hosted the June 2016 CMTS-TRB Conference From Sail to Satellite: Delivering Solutions for Tomorrow's MTS, which included over 80 technical presentations that covered a wide range of topics critical to the operation of the MTS; 3 panel sessions with noted academic, industry, and government panelists, discussing the future of the MTS; and 3 keynote speakers providing a vision for the MTS. New topics not traditionally seen as "maritime" (for example, big data) were addressed. CMTS Coordinating Board Chair VADM Brown opened the conference, and US Transportation Command Commander General McDew gave the keynote speech. There was also special coordination with the PIANC USA Young Professional group to include tours of the working waterfronts of Washington, DC and Baltimore. PIANC is The World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure.
  • Completed: The R&D IAT launched the MTS performance measures website in August 2015. Updates are ongoing. Performance measures research is part of an effort to develop an integrated freight network model that will allow for MTS analysis in the context of national supply chains and international freight flows.
  • Completed: The Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences and the CMTS R&D IAT co-sponsored the third biennial R&D Conference—Innovative Technologies for a Resilient Marine Transportation System – June 24-26, 2014, in Washington, DC. Click here to view 2014 Conference Proceedings
  • Completed: The Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences and the CMTS R&D IAT co-sponsored the second biennial R&D Conference—Diagnosing the Marine Transportation System: Measuring Performance and Targeting Improvement—June 26-28, 2012, in Washington, D.C. Click here to view 2012 Conference Proceedings Building from the recommendations of the 2012 joint conference with TRB on performance indicators, preliminary indicators with available data have been identified and released as part of an executive summary document, "Marine Transportation System Performance Measures."
  • Completed: The R&D IAT completed a gap analysis and an inventory of research programs.
  • Completed: The R&D IAT developed an implementation plan to address the priority objectives outlined in the Strategic Action Plan.
  • Completed: The Strategic Action Plan for Research and Development in the Marine Transportation System was approved at the December 15, 2010, Coordinating Board meeting.