• Vice Adm. Jan Tighe, USN, deputy chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare (N2N6), describes the challenges facing Navy information warfare during her keynote luncheon speech at West 2018.
     Vice Adm. Jan Tighe, USN, deputy chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare (N2N6), describes the challenges facing Navy information warfare during her keynote luncheon speech at West 2018.

Information Warfare Begs Definition

February 7, 2018
By Robert K. Ackerman
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The Navy is striving for superiority, but the dynamic nature of the realm defies easy alignment.


New technologies, capabilities and tactics will be necessary for the U.S. Navy to prevail in the burgeoning arena of information warfare. But while some needs are obvious, the course for the overall way ahead remains elusive.

Explaining the complicated nature of naval information warfare was Vice Adm. Jan Tighe, USN, deputy chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare (N2N6). Speaking at the Wednesday keynote luncheon at West 2018 being held in San Diego February 6-8, Adm. Tighe outlined a series of challenges and potential options, beginning with the state of the realm.

“The cost of entry is low to our adversaries, so you have a changing nature of warfare,” she said. The network is at the heart of information warfare.

“We need to have sensors, weapons and platforms that can talk to each other. That is what we mean by a networked fleet,” she declared, adding, “We must create our networks and operate them so if something goes wrong, we can isolate it and continue to operate other parts of the network.”

The admiral cited three priorities: assured command, control and communications; battlespace awareness; and integrated fires, including electronic warfare (EW) and cyberwarfare, along with the links that bring them together. She observed that the Navy has had glimpses of being in a contested EW environment, but it is not an everyday concern.

Adm. Tighe emphasized the importance of command and control (C2), citing nuclear forces as an example. “We have to modernize our nuclear C2 if we are to modernize our nuclear capabilities effectively,” she declared.

Obtaining good people for information warfare is a challenge. The Navy must vie with industry for quality, and industry offers much more money for talented professionals. Adm. Tighe described one way the service hopes to recruit and retain the personnel it needs.

“We are not going to be able to meet the price point offered by the private sector. So, to get good people, we are trying something new: give them the training they need, put them on an important mission, and get out of their way,” she said.

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