3 Phoenix Incorporated, Chantilly, Virginia, is being awarded a $12,315,777 modification to provide engineering services to support software development, procurement of commercial-off-the-shelf products, and hardware/software integration required to provide improved technology for Navy open architecture and network centric operations and warfare systems in support of Virginia class submarines and other submarine/surface ship systems.
network centric operations
As vastly improved surveillance capabilities and long-range, low-observable, precision-guided weaponry proliferates, the nuclear-powered submarine is emerging as the most likely platform to reach congested regions rapidly, to enter them covertly and to survive there for long periods. In today's FORCEnet environment, better near-real-time connectivity with submarines has become a goal of both technical and operational entities within the U.S. submarine force.
Missile launch teams vital to defending the United States would not think of pushing the fateful button without first double-checking the reliability of their equipment and data. But until recently, the U.S. Air Force Space Command had no way to conduct comparable checks of its vastly distributed information networks. Instead, it had to contact the appropriate person at distant locations to get a handle on the operational capabilities available in approximately 175 stovepiped mission-specific applications and systems.
A family of software-based radios designed specifically for export will allow many nations to acquire network-centric capabilities for their ground forces. Built around a waveform engineered to meet international standards, the radios permit legacy equipment to interoperate with other national or coalition systems in ad hoc mobile communications networks.
Now that the U.S. Defense Department has its arms around the challenge of moving vital information down to the individual warfighter, it is facing a new challenge of sharing information with nonmilitary, non-U.S. organizations. This latest priority reflects the diversity of operations that the military might find itself involved with for the foreseeable future.
The United Kingdom's tactical and operational commands soon will be linked by a mobile, high-capacity communications network. Designed around an Internet protocol architecture, the system replaces aging asynchronous transfer mode equipment with a scalable application that can be configured rapidly to meet the needs of an expeditionary force. It also interoperates with other digital communications technologies now entering service with the British military and provides a secure messaging channel to coalition allies.
Despite a tight procurement budget, Sweden is maximizing the benefits of battlefield awareness by embracing network-centric warfare concepts. As the country applies these concepts across its armed forces, it also is actively training its officer corps to make rapid decisions in an information-rich environment.
People talking on cell phones while behind the wheel may be an annoyance during rush hour traffic, but the ability to communicate on the go is one that commanders in a combat zone crave. So members of the U.S. Army V Corps were intrigued when they discovered that the command that focuses on joint warfighter needs was developing a system that would allow not only mobile voice but also data and imagery communications. As a result of that curiosity and the work of many dedicated experts, troops rotating into current operations can conduct command and control as effectively and efficiently while on the road as they can in headquarters.
Data identification is emerging as the primary challenge facing network-centric warfare. Many elements of network-centric operations have been field-tested in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, and user feedback is giving U.S. Defense Department planners insight into capabilities and drawbacks. These lessons learned span both technological and cultural issues, and defense experts are adapting their efforts to deal with both disciplines.
The Defense Information Systems Agency, in cooperation with U.S. Joint Forces Command and U.S. Strategic Command, is demonstrating new command and control capabilities this month. The pilot event, called Oktoberfest, illustrates 31 services from the agency's Net-Centric Enterprise Services program, command and control communities of interest services, mission-specific services and the user-defined operational picture. It provides key mission capabilities that support combatant command mission-approved threads, including services that provide situational awareness and
Network-centric warfare is on the fast track with the U.S. Marine Corps in operation Iraqi Freedom. After mobile operation centers received rave reviews from troops that previewed them in-theater, the service decided to field the equipment months earlier than originally planned, prior to final testing and evaluation. Commanders relate that the capability dramatically improves situational awareness and cuts decision-making time in half.
The U.S. Navy is using a U.S. Defense Department model and wartime experiences to begin defining the network that will close the loop on full network-centric warfare. The FORCEnet program is completing a concept development phase this month, and planners now are able to envision when it will achieve key benchmarks.
The U.S. Army is marching forward double time on several fronts to bring the power of networking to bear on the global war on terrorism. A number of efforts-some technological, others structural-aim at creating an information-based Army that can respond to threats quicker and effectively fight asymmetric enemies. Improved networking capabilities will affect how the service fights-from the individual soldier on the front line to those providing logistical support.
A new initiative by the U.S. Defense Department aims to speed the advent of network centricity by incorporating ideas directly from users. The result may be improved network centricity for small Defense Department components as well as new capabilities across the entire defense community.
As momentum grows for network centricity in military operations, architects of the plans may find themselves closely examining sciences such as sociology or biology to preview where network-centric activity can lead. When command, control, communications, computers and intelligence systems become more highly networked, the need for sophistication in the products and platforms that sit at the edges diminishes. In some cases, too much capability at the edge may actually inhibit self-organizing behavior and negatively impact the mission of the networked whole.