Transformation and the Global War on Terrorism are moving U.S. Navy intelligence into an even more networked realm than envisioned just a few years ago. As are the other services, the Navy is addressing the challenges and opportunities brought by network-centric operations in the war on terrorism.
Changes are afoot in the fleet as the U.S. Navy plans for greater versatility in force and execution. The Navy's vital FORCEnet program, which is the baseline for the service's infostructure, will alter Navy capabilities significantly. However, it is more than just an end in and of itself. As revolutionary as FORCEnet is to naval planning, it also represents an evolutionary phase that offers to lead to a complete revolution in warfighting amid seamless integration in the joint realm.
The U.S. Navy is developing the first group of hybrid sailors to serve on a vessel that is revolutionary in its technology as well as in how it will be manned and employed. To aptly prepare the crew members, the service is revamping some of its training curricula so these sailors can handle the multitude of tasks required in a totally systems integrated environment. This is the first time the groundwork for a ship's manning as well as its training requirements is being based on job task analyses conducted across the enlisted community.
An expendable one-way gateway buoy that provides a paging system for submarines is undergoing technology demonstrations in the Pacific Ocean. The U.S. Navy considers the buoy to be a possible near-term interface between radio frequency satellites and acoustic communications. This paging system is designed to ensure submarine communications at speed and depth.
The U.S. Navy is charting the waters of its future by exploring experimental concepts and delving into the technologies that will support network-centric operations. The Navy After Next will exploit the power of forward, distributed, sea-based forces to build battlespace depth and to project focused combat power. The pivotal change for the future Navy will be its flexible networking of sensors and forces-both joint and coalition.
After years of following their own paths, the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps will finally share one uniform-for their information technology systems, that is. Work currently underway will transform a multitude of individual systems into a single intranet that will allow the fluid and secure sharing of data, voice and video among more than 350,000 land-based users and, through satellite communications, to deployed troops as well.
The U.S. Navy in 15 years will differ vastly from today's Navy, states Adm. Vern Clark, USN, chief of naval operations. But, that degree of change pales in comparison to what will occur in the 15 years that will follow. And, information technologies will be at the core of all of these changes.
The U.S. Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command may be taking on its greatest challenge to date with the implementation of the service's FORCEnet effort. The complex endeavor, which is designed to be the linchpin of the Navy's network-centric warfare thrust, will transform information into decisive effect.
As the initial rollout of the Navy/Marine Corps Intranet enters the final stages, U.S. Navy officials are confident that adopting an enterprisewide network was the right decision. Despite being an arduous process, the installation effort is still on schedule to be complete in fiscal year 2005, and the service has reaped many unforeseen benefits during the past four years. Some of the advantages are becoming evident today, but those most intimately involved with the project predict that the best is yet to come.
An advanced software architecture will allow the U.S. Navy to increase substantially the bandwidth and data throughput of its satellite communications systems and will serve as a bridge to the next-generation capabilities envisioned in FORCEnet and Sea Power 21. It will enter service as part of a sophisticated multiband satellite communications terminal designed to link with future spacecraft.
With FORCEnet being touted as the glue that binds the pillars of Sea Power 21, the U.S. Navy is developing a concept to link sensors to shooters to weapons on demand and across joint platforms. By leveraging technology and system engineering know-how developed during the past 10 to 15 years, engagement packs would employ capabilities that are based on sharing and fusing multisource information and could be fielded in the next 5 years. The concept relies heavily on adaptable, flexible, composable forces and a distributed, network-centric, services-oriented architecture to make information available and usable by many systems.
Despite a delayed launch, the first year of the maiden voyage of a different approach to military acquisition of information technology products and services has been mostly smooth sailing. The Navy/Marine Corps Intranet is well underway, and key leaders from both industry and the U.S. Defense Department say they are pleased with the progress that has been made so far.
The U.S. Navy is shoring up its information systems capabilities with the creation of a new restricted line designation for its officers. The information professional community will concentrate on space systems, information technology, network operations and protection, and enhanced fighting techniques. This new group joins the ranks of two long-established specialties in intelligence and cryptography.
The next generation of U.S. Navy aircraft carriers will feature evolutionary rather than revolutionary advances in technologies and capabilities. The new vessels are being designed with an open architecture to permit growth in virtually every key component and system, and special allowances are being made for adding complex electronics systems as the Navy focuses on network-centric warfare.
The U.S. Navy and an information assurance tiger team made up of industry and government personnel are tailoring certification and accreditation processes to validate the legacy systems and applications that are transitioning into the Navy/Marine Corps Intranet. The work ensures that fielded systems comply with U.S. Defense Department information security requirements.
The U.S. Navy 7th Fleet is incorporating new technologies for joint and combined exercises and operations that lie at the very heart of the Navy's transformation efforts. The Japan-based fleet often finds itself serving as a floating testbed for new network-centric warfare concepts as it carries out its daily missions in the Pacific and Indian oceans while simultaneously supporting the war on terrorism.
Move over ships, aircraft and submarines, and make room on the waterfront for the latest component in the U.S. Navy's fleet-information systems. Although information technology has long been an integral part of the Navy, the service's newest command brings an increased level of support to fleet commanders and creates a clear operational focus for its networks, space activities and information operations.
The U.S. Navy is discovering that enhanced connectivity is only the tip of the iceberg known as the Navy/Marine Corps Intranet. Unlike the frozen mountain that sinks ships, however, this iceberg is empowering a range of innovations that were not even on the sea service's radar when the massive network was conceived.
The U.S. Navy is steaming full speed ahead to make network-centric warfare a reality by merging its directorate in charge of communications, computers and space with the warfare requirements and programs directorate. The move is at the center of a new operational vision for the service called Sea Power 21 outlined by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vernon E. Clark, USN, Navy Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
The U.S. Navy has achieved milestone developments in free electron laser technology that may lead the way to shipboard lasers defending fleets from attacking aircraft and cruise missiles. Recent demonstrations have generated 1-kilowatt low-frequency beams, and scientists are on the brink of attaining 10-kilowatt laser beams.