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Navy IT Day

Navy Sets up Cyber Mission Teams

May 30, 2013
By Henry S. Kenyon

The U.S. Navy is establishing new teams to run cyber operations and help defend Defense Department networks as a service extension of U.S. Cyber Command. These teams are part of a centralized defensive and offensive cyber capability that is beginning to take shape within the Defense Department, said Kevin Cooley, command information officer for the Navy’s Fleet Cyber Command/10th Fleet.

Speaking at AFCEA NOVA’s 12th annual Naval IT Day, Cooley explained that the Navy is standing up 40 cyber national mission teams totaling some 2,000 personnel. All the teams will be up by the end of fiscal year 2016. These teams will function as units based on mission orders from the U.S. Cyber Command, Cooley said.

The Navy teams will provide U.S. commanders with additional cyber resources to use during operations. Cooley noted that many of the information technology and communications capabilities created over the past 20 years have given the Defense Department a major advantage operationally. Potential adversary nations have been working for some time to copy these capabilities for themselves. But, those systems have weaknesses that can be exploited. “We spend a lot of time dealing with how to capitalize dealing with those vulnerabilities so that we can provide our commanders with a robust set of kinetic and non-kinetic options, should that need arise,” he said.

It also is likely many nations and smart individuals around the world are putting similar efforts into exploiting U.S. network weaknesses. “They’re smart, they have a lot of money and they are very motivated,” Cooley said. This is both a problem and an opportunity of national importance, he added.

Marine Corps Enterprise Network Plan Gives JIE a Boost

May 30, 2013
By Henry S. Kenyon

The U.S. Marine Corps is at the heart of the Defense Department’s efforts to get the Joint Information Environment (JIE) up and running. Although the department has been working to create the secure network operating environment for several years, frustration has risen about a lack of progress, explained Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Nally, USMC, the Marine Corps director for command, control, communications and computers (C4) and chief information officer. Speaking at AFCEA NOVA’s 12th annual Naval IT Day, the general bluntly noted that after two years of work, “we’re still at PowerPoint,” and this frustration has prompted the Corps to put forward its own unification plan.

The commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, Gen. Keith B. Alexander, USA, expressed this frustration at a recent meeting of the command's various service components. Although about $6 billion is set aside for information technology systems in the Defense Department’s program objectives memorandum, which outlines budget spending, no mention of the JIE was made in this year’s document. This is significant, because a formal allocation of resources and responsibilities will be needed to get the JIE running.

The Marine Corps has promoted its Marine Corps Enterprise Network (MCEN) unification plan as a JIE template, which is the service’s effort to fold several of its classified and unclassified networks into a single architecture. The Cyber Command, the Defense Department and Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) officials are interested in MCEN, because it provides a clear documented path to combining multiple networks with different classification levels into a single enterprise. “We’re working real hard with DISA to move this thing forward,” Gen. Nally said. “This [MCEN] unification plan, this is JIE.”

U.S. Navy Charts Rough Fiscal Seas Ahead, Sees IT As A Lifeboat

June 13, 2011
By Max Cacas

Additional highlights from the AFCEA NOVA Chapter's 10th Annual Naval IT Day include notes about procurement and acquisition in the coming lean years and improvement of IT systems for better data management.

Don't Go Chasing Technological Waterfalls

June 13, 2011
By Max Cacas

"Get it done quickly" is the mantra of Chris Miller, Executive Director of the Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command Center, Atlantic (SPAWAR), which is also referred to as the Navy's Information Dominance Systems Command. While SPAWAR's Pacific office handles research and development, Miller's group, based in Charleston, N.C. is responsible for acquisitions and getting technology on board ships and into the hands of warfighters.

One of his group's biggest procurements: the life-saving MRAPs (Mine Resistant Armored Protected) vehicle, pioneered by the Marines. "We do 16,000 MRAPs a year, 50 a day, 1,000 a month," he told attendees of the 10th Annual Naval IT Day, held by the AFCEA NOVA Chapter last Thursday. "All MRAPs are not the same," he added, remarking that in some cases, the C4I capabilities of the average MRAP, which constitutes the radios, displays and IT-related equipment found inside, often cost more than the vehicle in which they are installed. Another one of the successful tech projects fielded by his office is a completely mobile air traffic control system that ships in standard shipping containers, which they partnered with the Air Force to develop. Miller said the acquiring environment is changing to meet congressional mandates for reduced spending, and says acquisition must be "accelerated" with a "minimum of complexity," and have an emphasis on "interoperability." He stressed, "operational excellence of the fleet is more important than just chasing technological solutions."

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