Booz Allen Hamilton's chairman and CEO Dr. Ralph Shrader
Industrializing the production of software will provide a huge improvement in capability, said an adviser to OPNAV. Thomas Hone, Naval War College Liaison with OPNAV, was addressing solutions to Navy needs at West 2010 in San Diego, but his perspective applies across the spectrum of information technology users. "We don't have software that can make software," he observed, and he drew a historical parallel to how the automobile became ubiquitous after Henry Ford automated its construction to mass-produce millions. Great achievements can take place when software is mass-produced, he said.
The 21st century U.S. Navy is building around information as it reshapes its force for new challenges, according to the chief of naval operations. Adm. Gary Roughead, USN, told a packed luncheon audience on the last day of West 2010 that information will be the guiding force for the Navy in the coming years. "Our way forward must be centered on information and how we use it," Adm. Roughead declared. A key to that information exploitation is unmanned vehicles and systems. The admiral noted that the Navy has deployed a vertical takeoff unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on a ship involved in counterdrug operations in the eastern Pacific Ocean.
A swash-buckling Johnny Depp may be what most think of when the word "pirate" is mentioned, but the problem is much more serious that anything Hollywood could portray. Today's WEST 2010 mid-day panel discussed just how critical this problem has become-especially off the coast of Somalia-and what is holding back solutions from being implemented. Moderator Dr. Virginia Lunsford did an excellent job of juggling as she encouraged each panel member-as well as audience members-to speak their minds about the problem. Perhaps the most candid member of the panel was Col. David W. Coffman, USMC, commander of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
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.
Today was an exciting day at West 2010--and I'm not talking about the dynamic speakers and exhibitors. This morning my hotel had a small fire somewhere near the lobby, so I woke up before my alarm because of the loud, persistent sirens coming in through my window. Fortunately the situation was handled quickly and easily--thanks to San Diego's finest first responders. Unfortunately, I saw those first responders this afternoon after a medical emergency occurred on the exhibit floor.
The U.S. Navy, the dominant power of the waves, is actually a relic of the Cold War that must be reshaped to deal with modern threats, according to the lead author of a 2007 maritime strategy. Cdr. Bryan McGrath, USN (Ret.), director of consulting, studies and analysis, Delex Systems, Inc., told a breakfast panel audience at West 2010 that today's U.S. Navy was designed in the Carter administration to defeat the Soviet Union in battle. It is the inherent flexibility of naval forces that allows it to be hyper relevant today, he stated. McGrath urged a return to the traditional naval mission-sea control. "We are oversubscribed in land attack," he said.
The recalcitrant regime in North Korea seems so bent on confrontation and allergic to reform that the only option for the global community may be to manage its end. That was a point of view introduced in a panel on North Korea at West 2010. Dr. Katy Oh, a research staff member with the Institute for Defense Analyses and a non-resident senior fellow with the Brookings Institution, said that North Korea would not give up its nuclear weapons because they are its platinum card-"it's all they have to play." These nuclear weapons are a symptom of the regime's problem.
Finally have time to see some of the dynamic techs here at WEST 2010. Am at the Microsoft booth right now because I needed technical assistance to connect. What better place to go?!? So here we go with the incredible capabilities being demo'ed here. And of course, I'm going to start with Microsoft! At booth 1703, you'll find four major themes in newest techs: Microsoft virtualization leveraging Hyper-V in Windows Server 2008 R2. It promotes high-availability server consolidation. And of course, since I'm running Windows 7, this has got to be the next one I talk about. Come to the booth to see the newest software and how it's different from what you've used before.
First, I have to apologize for promising, via blog, to get to the real tech on the WEST conference this afternoon. Truth is, first I had some tech problems of my own (thanks to the SIGNAL New Media Editor for being patient with me!), but, more importantly, I was engrossed in this afternoon's panel session of top leaders talking up the most important issues in the cyber domain. Led by Vice Adm. Nancy Brown, USN (Ret.), former J-6, JCS, panelists agreed that IT ownership-and responsibility for its security-belongs to every level of command, from staff members to CEOs, from privates to generals. "Ignorance is our biggest vulnerability [in the cyber domain]," stated Vice Adm. Carl Mauney, USN, deputy CO, STRATCOM. In addition to Adm.
Electronic transactions may replace money entirely in a decade. That is the prediction of the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, Adm. James Stavridis, USN. Adm. Stavridis, also the commander of the U.S. European Command, told a luncheon audience at West 2010 that the changes being wrought by and through cyberspace are profound. "Paper money-kiss it goodbye," he declared. This prediction also is coming true right now: Afghanistan is skipping brick and mortar banks and going directly to electronic currency. The admiral described how the Afghan government now is paying its security forces electronically to their cell phones. This helps reduce corruption in that troubled nation.
The next war is likely to begin with an attack launched through cyberspace, according to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe. Adm. James G. Stavridis, USN, pointed out to a luncheon audience at West 2010 that Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Georgia all suffered organized foreign cyber attacks within the past four year. In Georgia's case, the cyber attack was coordinated with a conventional military attack using kinetic weapons. "I believe that it's more likely that an attack will come from not a bomb off a bomb rack, but instead electrons in cyberspace," Adm. Stavridis declared. And this threat requires attention by NATO.
The United States is in the midst of an economic shift through which the nation must prevail if it is to maintain effective national security. Gen. James E. Cartwright, USMC, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told an audience at West 2010 that the United States must fix its economy and deal with change if it is to maintain security. "We're in a major economic crisis," he said. "Economics is a big part of warfare. If you ignore it, you'll do it at your nation's peril." The United States is moving from an industrial construct in an industrial age into one that looks more like Moore's law-with a change cycle as short, the general elaborated. For example, how does the Navy build aircraft carriers to last 50 years in this cycle?
Developments in missile defense have led to a capability that is international in nature and agnostic in application. That was the assessment of Gen. James E. Cartwright, USMC, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Speaking at West 2010, Gen. Cartwright allowed that missile defense is much more capable than it was 10 years ago. He cited its multilayered international capability that provides greater defense around the world. "We have moved to a distributed global capability that is agnostic to where it is set up and delivered," he said, adding that this system shares awareness with people who are not necessarily allies.
Although the official West 2010 Conference doesn't start until tomorrow, those of us from AFCEA International as well as committee members and chapter officers spent this beautiful day indoors in business meetings. We started out the day with a Level 4.4 earthquake at around 6:20 this morning. Nothing major occurred, thank goodness, just a shaking bed for me and others. Some people didn't even feel the tremors, but I'll be glad not to repeat that little surprise!
One way of providing enhanced cybersecurity would be to establish high security zones into which users could operate amid greater security, suggested the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Gen James E. Cartright, USMC, speaking at West 2010, allowed that the military faces cybersecurity challenges in the greater realm of the Internet. "We have no authority in that Wild Wild West called .com, but we still operate there," he pointed out.
Budget constraints and the new Quadrennial Defense Review are the catalysts for needed defense changes, according to the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Gen. James E. Cartwright, USMC, told an overflow crowd at the start of West 2010 in San Diego that the military must break away from its old two high-end war structure and focus on fighting lesser conflicts. The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have taught us that these "lesser conflicts" are much tougher than expected, he said. "The intent now is to move off of the two major wars construct and focus on the type of wars that we actually are in-not the wars that we hope we'll be in," Gen. Cartwright declared.
Next week is the West 2010 Conference in San Diego. For those of you who will be attending the conference, we look forward to seeing you there. (Look for the SIGNAL editors to say hello--we'll be the ones running around to all of the events, frantically taking notes and muttering to ourselves.) If you're unable to attend but want to keep up with the conversations and discussions, there are plenty of ways to tune in:
Follow @signalmag on Twitter and use the hashtag #west10.
Read our editors' blog coverage here on SIGNAL Scape.