I was talking with someone today who asked how the BHR Project has become all that it has, and don't I get intimidated by talking to 4-star Admirals and Chiefs of Naval Operations? Thankfully, my civilian status comes in handy, and my ignorance about many things Navy is also very helpful. As a civilian, I can easily approach an Admiral at a social event or conference (e.g. maybe he is the keynote speaker there), introduce myself (or ask for an introduction from someone else), and nothing is really off-limits in the conversation. But underlying all of this is my tongue-in-cheek motto: Desperation breeds fearlessness. If I really need to accomplish something, such as secure a ship of opportunity for the next expedition, I find I am braver in approaching the people who can actually provide support in this capacity, and they are few and far between. Not to mention the task of winning their attention in a crowded room when you have 1-2 minutes to have the conversation. (It's a good thing I had some practice lobbying in a former life.) So the opportunities are rare, and we have to pounce on them when they arise - there is no time for being intimidated.
The BHR endeavor would have been "dead in the water" in 2008 had it not been for the support of the US and French Navies. It's also critical that the Navies can accomplish their at-sea objectives as well, such as dive training or testing out new surveying technologies. If the Navy needs to do training, why not conduct that training with the exciting, morale-building theme of finding the BHR?