West 2019 Coverage

February 15, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Leaders for all three maritime services—the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard—participate in a town hall forum at West 2019. Photo by Michael Carpenter

The maritime services continue to maintain a balance between cyber and kinetic weapons even while engaged in a daily cyber conflict.

Leaders for all three maritime services—the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard—participated in a town hall forum during the AFCEA-USNI West 2019 Conference in San Diego, and they agreed that cyber conflict rages on.

“If you’re asking me if I think we’re at war, I think I’d say yes,” Gen. Robert Neller, USMC, Marine Corps commandant, told one audience member. “We’re at war right now in cyberspace. We’ve been at war for maybe a decade. They’re pouring oil over the castle walls every day.”

February 15, 2019
By George I.Seffers
Air Force Capt. Andrew "Dojo" Olson, commander of the F-35 Heritage Flight Team, performs a high-speed pass during the Canadian International Air Show in Toronto, Sept. 1, 2018. The F-35 program office intends to award rapid development contractors to small businesses to rapidly develop and deliver an array of technologies for the aircraft. Photo by Airman 1st Class Alexander Cook

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is seeking small businesses and startups capable of developing a variety of technologies in days to meet the aircraft’s immediate needs.

February 15, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Adm. Christopher Grady, USN, U.S. Fleet Forces commander, speaks at West 2019.

The U.S. Navy is in the nascent stages of a plan to revolutionize readiness through the use of artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics. It also may include the establishment of two new offices: a chief readiness office and an analytics office.

February 14, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Alan Shaffer, deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, speaks at West 2019. Photo by Michael Carpenter

It was announced this week that the national debt hit more than $22 trillion for the first time in history, and that debt will likely place tremendous pressure on the U.S. Defense Department budget, suggested Alan Shaffer, deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, during a morning keynote address at the AFCEA-USNI West Conference in San Diego.

February 15, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Rear Adm. Boris Becker, commander of the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, speaks during a panel at West 2019. Photo by Michael Carpenter

Artificial intelligence, machine learning, advanced manufacturing, blockchain, 5G, the Internet of Things, quantum computing, data science, cloud computing and cybersecurity all have one thing in common: information.

Rear Adm. Boris Becker, USN, commander of the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, made that point during a panel session at the AFCEA-USNI West 2019 Conference in San Diego. “It’s information in warfare and information as warfare,” he added.

February 15, 2019
By George I. Seffers
A West 2019 panel discusses combat operations in the cyber realm. Photo by Michael Carpenter

The United States is fully engaged in combat operations in the cyber realm, according to a panel of military officials at the AFCEA-USNI West conference in San Diego.

Lt. Gen. Robert Shea, USMC (Ret.), president and CEO of AFCEA International, who served as moderator on the panel, kicked off the discussion saying the nation is in “Phase III” in the information domain. Phase III refers to the multiple stages of war. According to GlobalSecurity.org, the phases include: halting an invasion, force buildup and deployment, counteroffensive or counterattack, and ensuring postwar stability.

February 13, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Thomas Modly, undersecretary of the Navy, discusses Chinese mercantalism while speaking at West 2019. Photo by Michael Carpenter

China is investing heavily in the Indo-Pacific, a critical region of the world for strategic purposes, and luring poorer countries away from the United States, said Thomas Modly, undersecretary of the Navy.

Modly made the comments during an afternoon luncheon address on the first day of the West 2019 Conference in San Diego.  

February 13, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Panelists at West 2019 discuss preparing sailors for the horrors of war. Photo by Michael Carpenter

The U.S. Navy is searching for ways to better prepare its forces for combat conditions, according to officials serving on a panel at the West 2019 Conference in San Diego.

During a question and answer session, the panelists were asked how they can prepare Navy personnel for physically and mentally challenging moments, such as when a hole is blown into the side of a ship.

February 13, 2019
By George I.Seffers
Adm. John Richardson, USN, chief of naval operations, speaks to the West 2019 audience via videoconference.

Adm. John Richardson, USN, chief of naval operations, theorizes that the decades to come could require a greater emphasis on maritime operations because of multiple factors, including global climate change, increased maritime traffic and the rise of megacities near coastal areas

February 13, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Rear Adm. Boris Becker, SPAWAR commander, reports that over the past year the Navy has created an agile software development environment for the research, development, test and evaluation community. ​Photo by Michael Carpenter

The U.S. Navy has made significant progress in developing an environment for software development operations, commonly referred to as DevOps, to benefit its research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) community, said Rear Adm.Boris Becker, USN, commander of Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR).