Information Technologies Key to Naval Power

February 19, 2016
By Robert K. Ackerman
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All domains are affected, and cyber success is essential.


The strength of the U.S. military lies in being able to combine force across domains; and the key to success in that endeavor is effective use of information. This constitutes a main element of the U.S. Navy’s strategy, according to the chief of naval operations.

Adm. John M. Richardson, USN, told the audience on the final morning of West 2016, being held in San Diego February 17-19, that this capability is “the secret sauce of the United States.” He added, “Information has to be in the DNA” of U.S. forces, and “using information sharing policy and technology would allow everyone to fill a role up to their maximum.”

Adm. Richardson noted that information is a rich area for experimentation, and people often do not realize the potential of capabilities. “Every time we estimate our technology capability, we underestimate it by a factor of two,” he observed. “There are some amazingly sophisticated technologies” that can enable improvements in cyber and other information realms.

And the U.S. Navy is a part of ensuring information operations around the world. More than 90 percent of information travels on undersea cables, he suggested, and keeping sea lanes open—both from a trade and from an information perspective—is vital. “The prosperity of the country is inextricably linked to the seas,” Adm. Richardson emphasized.

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