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Bytes Overtaking Hulls as the Foundation for the U.S. Navy

February 4, 2010
By Robert K. Ackerman
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The 21st century U.S. Navy is building around information as it reshapes its force for new challenges, according to the chief of naval operations. Adm. Gary Roughead, USN, told a packed luncheon audience on the last day of West 2010 that information will be the guiding force for the Navy in the coming years. "Our way forward must be centered on information and how we use it," Adm. Roughead declared. A key to that information exploitation is unmanned vehicles and systems. The admiral noted that the Navy has deployed a vertical takeoff unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on a ship involved in counterdrug operations in the eastern Pacific Ocean. UAVs for aircraft carriers will make a big difference for Navy operations, as will underwater unmanned vehicles. One of the most significant developments is organizational, as Adm. Roughead explained. "We're moving out in the area of information dominance," he stated. "Last summer, I moved to combine our directorate of communications with the directorate of intelligence. I don't take reorganizations lightly, but I was convinced this was the way to go." The admiral described how the Navy is creating billets for cyber warfare engineers to test computer network defense against software attack. Their selection will be similar to that of men and women of the nuclear power force. The reserve component will be an important surge capability, and the Navy will position some cyber centers near reserve centers.

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