TechNet Indo-Pacific 2019 Coverage

November 21, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Rear Adm. Kenneth Whitesell, USN, deputy commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, describes the challenges it faces. Credit: Bob Goodwin Photography

The U.S. Pacific Fleet is facing myriad challenges from multiple nations as it seeks to maintain force superiority in the Indo-Pacific area of operations (AOR). What once was science fiction is now science fact, and technology leaps that used to be the purview of the United States now are blossoming in nations with an eye on global hegemony.

The deputy commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, Rear Adm. Kenneth Whitesell, USN, described the situation the fleet faces in the final luncheon address at TechNet Indo-Pacific 2019, held November 19-21 in Honolulu. While the vast size of the Indo-Pacific AOR has not changed, the environment has shifted dramatically.

November 21, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
A panel of -6s from U.S. Indo-Pacific Command organizations discuss the importance of the space and cyber domains. Credit: Bob Goodwin Photography

Widespread changes among the military services are leading to a return to core missions complemented by a greater emphasis on new technology realms. As a result, back to basics is flavored by space and cyber domains that pose challenges of their own.

A panel of -6s from U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) organizations outlined these challenges on the third day of TechNet Indo-Pacific 2019, held November 19-21 in Honolulu. Led by the INDOPACOM J-6, Maj. Gen. Robert J. Skinner, USAF, the panelists addressed a number of challenges facing their organizations and the U.S. military at large.

November 21, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Officials from four nations address issues confronting efforts to achieve coalition interoperability. Credit: Bob Goodwin Photography

Enabling military information systems to interoperate in a coalition environment will take more than just technologies that shake hands easily. Countries with diverse opinions of their ad-hoc partners will complicate already difficult logistics during even simple operations.

Trust lies at the heart of coalition interoperability, offered keynote panelists opening the third day of TechNet Indo-Pacific 2019, being held November 19-21 in Honolulu. Participants represented four of the Five Eyes nations from three continents as they explored the issues inhibiting effective coalitions.

November 20, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Cyber experts from government, industry and academia explore cybersecurity solutions during a Women in AFCEA panel. Credit: Bob Goodwin Photography

All the involved parties concerned about cybersecurity must find new ways of cooperation to meet the changing threat picture, experts say. These efforts ought to begin in elementary school, where children should be introduced to cyber and encouraged to stay out of trouble that would prevent them from pursuing a career in cybersecurity.

November 20, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Intelligence officers serving U.S. Indo-Pacific Command organizations describe a Chinese threat that unambiguously targets world domination. Credit: Bob Goodwin Photography

The intelligence officers responsible for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) organizations played their China cards face up as they described a nation bent on world domination at the expense of Western values and freedoms. In an overflow panel at TechNet Indo-Pacific 2019, being held November 19-21 in Honolulu, these experts—called the “2s” for their billet designation—cited facts to buttress their observations that China has abandoned its longtime cover stories and is now waging all-out competition with the institutions and nations that defined the cooperative postwar era.

November 20, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Rear Adm. Kevin Lunday, USCG, commander, 14th Coast Guard District, describes the service's expanding mission in the Indo-Pacific region. Credit: Bob Goodwin Photography

The U.S. Coast Guard has increased its activities across the Pacific theater, including a national security cutter deployed under the control of the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet. Concurrent with these efforts are increased efforts in cyberspace, with a special focus on personnel.

These points were emphasized by Rear Adm. Kevin Lunday, USCG, commander, 14th Coast Guard District, at the keynote breakfast opening day 2 of TechNet Indo-Pacific 2019 being held November 19-21 in Honolulu. Adm. Lunday described an expanding mission that includes serving the maritime security needs of small Pacific nations.

November 19, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Robert Bauman of Trusted Systems warns of a physical security gap that empowers the insider threat.

Greater concentration on separate physical security and cybersecurity has led to a major loophole characterized by the insider threat. Combining the two disciplines holds the key to protecting against devastating data breaches.

November 19, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Adm. Phil Davidson, USN, commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, speaks at TechNet Indo-Pacific. Credit: Bob Goodwin Photography

China has no ambiguities about its concept of the global future. The rising superpower wants to replace the current system of international laws and guaranteed freedoms with one built around Chinese control of geography, commerce and information.

Thus defined, this challenge formed the basis of the keynote luncheon speech on the first day of TechNet Indo-Pacific, held November 19-21 in Honolulu. The speaker was Adm. Phil Davidson, USN, commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM), and he pulled no punches in describing how China has dropped all illusions of peaceful coexistence in its drive toward global domination.

November 19, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Panelists discuss the Defense Department's digital modernization at TechNet Indo-Pacific 2019 in Honolulu. Credit: Bob Goodwin Photography

The future of the military is built around usable information, and the future of that information lies in innovation. Industry and government both understand these points and are moving to accommodate them, but their work still is far from complete.

Panelists exploring the Defense Department’s digital modernization gathered on the first day of TechNet Indo-Pacific 2019 in Honolulu November 19-21. They cited several hurdles to be overcome—some technical, others basic. “Data is good, but it’s useless until you can analyze it to make it useful,” said Adm. Dick Macke, USN (Ret.). And making data useful will be the key to prevailing in future confrontations.