TechNet Asia-Pacific: Network Needs

November 6, 2008
By Henry Kenyon

Panelists listening to panel moderator (r) Vice Adm. Nancy Brown, USN, J-6, the Joint Staff, discuss support to the warfighter are (l-r) Col. Scott Blankenship, USMC, G-6, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific; Col. Bruce T. Crawford, USA, commander, 516th Signal Brigade; and Linda Newton, deputy chief of staff for C4I, U.S. Pacific Fleet.

All the advances in network centricity are creating greater problems that threaten to undo the advantages wrought by network-centric operations, noted several panelists discussing support to the warfighter. Vice Adm. Nancy Brown, USN, J-6, the Joint Staff, put it bluntly: "We say we fight joint, but our network is absolutely not joint."

Adm. Brown noted that the global network is a group of networks with seams, and the warfighter is left to overcome those seams. This forces the warfighter to be a systems integrator, which is not the goal of network centricity, she said.

For the next version of the Global Information Grid (GIG), known as GIG 2.0, she called for a new way of designing systems-putting the warfighter at the center instead of the Pentagon, which is at the center of current designs.

Col. Bruce T. Crawford, USA, commander of the 516th Signal Brigade, agreed that GIG 2.0 has significant strategic importance. He noted that the Army's modular transformation left the network "in a legacy state." It wasn't changed to fit the new force configuration.

Linda Newton, deputy chief of staff for C4I, U.S. Pacific Fleet, said that building a flexible and agile C2 structure will be the biggest challenge-we don't have that yet, she charged.

When asked about the troubled Transformational Communications Satellite (TSAT) program, Adm. Brown said that the program is worth fighting for because it will bring vital capacity and protection to satellite communications. Not having TSAT might be costly in time and lives, she added.

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