The U.S. Navy faces an uncertain future if coming defense cuts strike at its shipbuilding budget. The sea service already is underfunded for its shipbuilding program, so cuts in that area could have severe ramifications in its mission-oriented capabilities. Ronald O'Rourke, a specialist in national defense with the Congressional Research Service, told a panel audience at West 2011 that the Navy did not have procurements that it can cut. The Navy did not use supplemental defense funding to procure new platforms, so it does not have programs that it can cut. "Some of the lower-hanging fruit in terms of efficiencies already have been picked," O'Rourke said. Nor will efficiencies alone be able to make up budget requirements.
The U.S. Marine Corps will need to innovate while maintaining its traditional amphibious capabilities as nations act more in their own interests, suggests a Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) deputy commander. Maj. Gen. Melvin G. Spiese, USMC, deputy commanding general, 1 MEF, told a West 2011 luncheon audience that the Corps is exploring innovative solutions to meet new international contingencies. "The U.S. Marine Corps has never met the nation's needs by being conventional in its approach," the general declared. Gen. Spiese emphasized that Marine Corps capabilities hinge on its being able to interoperate with the U.S. Navy.
Maintaining maritime security will require humanitarian activities as well as traditional gunboat diplomacy, according to a U.S. Navy fleet commander. Vice Adm. Richard W. Hunt, USN, commander, U.S. Third Fleet, told the Kickoff Address audience at West 2011 that being able to provide disaster response and humanitarian assistance will be vital for ensuring maritime security. Many nations "could go either way" in either supporting or opposing U.S. national interests, the admiral explained. If the United States can respond rapidly and effectively when one of those nations suffers a natural disaster, that action could be the tipping agent that swings the nation into the U.S. column, he said. "It's not just kinetic power ...
The U.S. Navy may have gone too far in emphasizing defensive measures over offensive capabilities, which it may need to rectify quickly. Vice Adm. Richard W. Hunt, USN, commander, U.S. Third Fleet, told the Kickoff Address audience at West 2011 that the recent emphasis on missile defense and cyberspace security may have overlooked the need to maintain leading-edge offensive capabilities in related areas. "We've stepped away and become too defensive," the admiral declared. The Navy needs to develop offensive capabilities to take the fight to the adversary instead of merely being reactive, he continued. Protecting the fleet is necessary, but the sea service must not neglect its strike mission.
Rear Adm. Robert O. Wray, USN, has been assigned as director, Maritime Partnership Program, U.S. Naval Forces Europe, Naples, Italy.
Capt. Bryan P. Cutchen, USN, has been been selected for promotion to rear admiral and assignment as deputy chief of Navy Reserve, N-095, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Washington, D.C.
Navy SEAL Fitness
It's rare that an audience of industry and service members at all ranks get the chance to hear first hand from the first of a kind. But that was the case after eating lunch on Wednesday of WEST 2010. Vice Adm. Jack Dorsett, USN, the Navy's first N2/N6 may have begun his speech by wondering why he was among other high-ranking military experts at the conference, but he followed through with revealing the latest approaches the Navy is taking to achieve information dominance. The Navy is developing new mini-road maps of sorts that address nearly a dozen topics, including undersea dominance, maritime ballistic C2 and improved maritime domain awareness.
Although the U.S. Navy has been in the cyber arena for many years, today the service officially moved into the operational cyber domain as Vice Adm. Barry McCullough, USN, took command of the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet. At the commissioning/re-commissioning of this new command and revitalized fleet, Adm. McCullough officially became the Navy's primary connection with the other armed services and joint community as well as the Navy's leader in the cyber operational and tactical realm. Prior to the Commissioning Orders and Assumption of Command ceremony, CNO Adm.
The U.S. Navy established the Navy Cyber Forces (CYBERFOR) today at the Joint Expeditionary Base, Little Creek-Fort Story in Norfolk, Virginia. Vice Adm. H. Denby Starling II, USN, assumed command of CYBERFOR. He'll continue to serve as commander of NETWARCOM.
The U.S. Navy will down select between the two littoral combat ship (LCS) designs it has been considering for the past several years. The service is canceling the current LCS seaframe construction solicitation, and a new solicitation will be issued. The decision will be made in fiscal year 2010. During the down select, one prime contractor and shipyard will be awarded a fixed-price incentive contract for as many as 10 ships. Two ships will be ordered during fiscal year 2010; options for additional vessels will extend through fiscal year 2014. The award winner also will provide combat systems for up to five additional ships that a second source will provide.
With its developing fleet of autonomous “guard dogs,” the U.S. Navy is becoming more lethal and protective using the same technology.
The sea service is capitalizing on a first-of-its-kind autonomous technology, with software originally developed by NASA for the Mars Rover, which can transform just about any surface vessel into an unmanned platform able to protect other ships or “swarm” hostile vessels, officials say.
The sea service seeks to extend NMCI’s lifetime just in case its replacement is delayed.
The Department of the Navy is looking to lengthen the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) continuity of services contract if its new Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) program is delayed beyond its expected April 30, 2014 switchover date. But, even if NGEN proceeds according to schedule, the NMCI contract ceiling still will be exceeded in September 2013, requiring additional funds to keep the legacy network running.
A new facility allows scientists to test innovations for autonomous and unmanned systems.
A new manmade realm allows robots to learn how to scale sheer cliff walls, go from the ocean to the beach or cross hot, burning desert sands. In this environment, researchers can examine the machines’ every move and how they interact with human warfighters. And one day, these robots also may help save sailors’ lives at sea.
The U.S. Navy is on a course designed to rule the information arena.
With information operations growing increasingly critical to combat operations, the United States cannot afford to be anything less than number one in the data wars. And the U.S. Navy is implementing several measures to ensure information dominance. Measures include dramatically reducing the number of data centers and legacy networks, further developing the Information Dominance Corps and building an unmanned vehicle capable of being launched from sea. These efforts all are under way while the Navy also is modernizing networks both ashore and afloat.