Story Number: NNS140213-21Release Date: 2/13/2014 7:08:00 PM
By Tina C. Stillions, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- "The drive toward standardization will provide stability and continuous monitoring will enable us to rapidly respond to threats," said Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) Chief Engineer, Rear Adm. James Rodman. "When we build to security standards, we can quickly add capability to the warfighter's arsenal."
Rodman and other senior leaders discussed the importance of remaining agile and innovative in light of current fiscal challenges and why those efforts will help shape the future maritime strategy. The idea that information is now the main weapons system and cyber the new warfighting domain permeated many of the keynote speeches and panel discussions during the three-day West 2014 conference, Feb. 11-13.
"The one thing we can't afford is software that is unable to address the global threats that are out there," said Rodman. "We need to be able to fix our vulnerabilities as soon as possible. It's a ruthless standardization that is necessary so that we can respond to threats in real-time."
With regard to risk and investment in new and innovative technology capable of rapidly resolving some of those real-world technical issues, Department of Navy Chief Information Officer Terry Halvorson stressed the need for balance as the budget belt-tightening continues.
"The key word we want to think about is balance," said Halvorson. "In this tough fiscal environment, there needs to be a balance in order to answer specific questions, such as what are you not going to spend money on?"
Though merely trimming around the so-called fiscal edges will not solve the DON's current problem, affordable balance, innovation and sustainability will. The ability to make knowledgeable decisions will drive the innovation the fleet needs with SPAWAR leading the way.
"I go back to a mental model to see what worked before," said SPAWAR Commander Rear Adm. Patrick Brady "I look back to the nineties and what worked for us was innovation. It caused a revolutionary change that resulted in large savings. My hope is we will see the innovation and agility we saw then."
Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance, Vice Adm. Ted Branch reiterated the importance of innovation and said he empowered SPAWAR with IT Technical Authority to help facilitate and leverage those new ideas the fleet needs. He said cutting-edge technology in the information age is producing an integrative experience that is driving innovation and spurring creativity.
The new technology that Brady and Branch referred to was showcased during the "Innovative Technologies Poster Session" that introduced some of SPAWAR's research and development efforts aimed at keeping the fleet well-equipped and ready to fight. Some of organization's best and brightest scientists and engineers were on hand to discuss their newest projects in the areas of integrated cyber operations development, transport and computing infrastructure, and production, installation and in-service fleet support.
Dr. Justin James, who is part of the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) Reference Implementation Lab (RIL), stressed the importance of establishing a physical facility for industry radio vendors to work with government to come up with new and innovative ideas.
"By providing MUOS waveform technical support, in phases consistent with the waveform release schedule and terminal vendor proficiency standards, we can provide a reference framework so industry and government can rapidly develop new technology and bring it to the fleet," said James.
The RIL test suite is designed to enhance MUOS support capabilities as a storefront and knowledge base for the waveform. It will provide a sandbox environment in which everyone, government and industry, can work together and test and trouble-shoot new technology. It is an ideal environment that will encourage creativity and enable a rapid, cost-effective means of developing technology.
Another effort aimed at increasing mobility and broadband access for the warfighter is in the area of integrated voice networking.
"Wireless radios are very expensive," said Brian Lovell, a SPAWAR voice network specialist. "The Common Optical Distribution Architecture (CODA) project explores the feasibility of utilizing a single common antenna system to incorporate multiple wireless RF technologies into a scalable antenna infrastructure for shipboard use."
According to Lovell, the systems are augmented with wireless phones and will provide broadband connectivity to the warfighter. CODA has a legacy migration feature and can enable next generation and newer technology leveraging capability.
As the Navy's Information Dominance systems command, SPAWAR designs, develops and deploys advanced communications and information capabilities. With more than 8,900 active duty military and civil service professionals located around the world and close to the fleet, SPAWAR is at the forefront of research, engineering, acquisition and support services that provide vital decision superiority to our forces at the right time and for the right cost.