sea services

March 2, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard officers speak during a panel at WEST 2020.

The U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard are ready to engage in combat in a contested zone if it were to break out tomorrow, high-ranking officers say. However, peer rivals are pushing to eliminate that advantage and turn the tables in the near future.

A group of officers from the three services waxed and waned about the services’ chances in future combat during a panel discussion at WEST 2020, the conference and exposition in San Diego March 2-3 co-sponsored by AFCEA International and USNI. The flag officers were unanimous about the ability of U.S. maritime forces to respond to a crisis tomorrow, if necessary.

March 2, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
At WEST 2020, the sea service chiefs discuss the impact of the coronavirus on operations. Photo by Michael Carpenter

The global progression of the coronavirus has caused the sea services to cut back on some activities and cancel others as they increase their surveillance of the disease’s spread. Their efforts include monitoring cross-border activities that could involve the spread of the virus into the United States.

March 2, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
Adm. Michael M. Gilday, USN, chief of naval operations, speaks at WEST 2020. Photo by Michael Carpenter

All the U.S. sea services are calling for transformational changes as they confront increasingly capable adversaries. But each service views a different course to achieving a force that can address growing threats from different peer rivals worldwide.

These different perspectives were presented by the opening speakers at WEST 2020, the conference and exposition in San Diego March 2-3 co-sponsored by AFCEA International and USNI. Each of the sea service chiefs described the challenges they face and what they must do—and have—to meet them.

February 1, 2016
By George I. Seffers
The U.S. Coast Guard is increasing its presence in the Arctic region as melting ice makes the area more accessible. Researchers evaluate technologies capable of supporting the Coast Guard mission under the Arctic’s extreme conditions.

U.S. Coast Guard researchers are assessing a wide array of technologies capable of performing in the Arctic’s harsh conditions, including unmanned vehicles, satellite communications and search and rescue systems. Those that work well in this severe environment may reshape the future of maritime operations in the region.

February 1, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
The MUSCLE autonomous vehicle developed by the Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation, or CMRE, for mine countermeasures works with the NATO Research Vessel Alliance (in the background). The autonomous vehicle is equipped with synthetic aperture sonar.

The buzzwords du jour are cyber at sea, a vulnerability that quickly rose in prominence within the maritime domain to jockey for attention and funding among competing disciplines. Unrelenting cyber attacks firmly positioned the emerging specialty alongside antisubmarine warfare, autonomous undersea vehicles, mine countermeasure systems and port protections, to name a few. NATO’s knowledge repository for maritime science and technology initiatives juggles all of these in its search for innovative security solutions, says Rear Adm. Hank Ort, RNLN (Ret.), director of the Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation.

February 8, 2016
 

The U.S. Coast Guard published guidance February 5 that allows mariners to use electronic charts and publications instead of paper charts, maps and publications. Combining the suite of electronic charts from the U.S. hydrographic authorities and the Electronic Charting System (ECS) standards published this past summer by the Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services, electronic charts can provide mariners with a substitute for the traditional official paper charts. 

The Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular, NVIC 01-16 establishes uniform guidance on what is now considered equivalent to chart and publication carriage requirements.

February 1, 2016
By Robert K. Ackerman
The U.S. Navy’s newest destroyer, the USS Zumwalt, departs its dry dock at Bath Iron Works, Maine, prior to conducting at-sea trials in the Atlantic Ocean. The technology-rich Zumwalt may serve as a template not only for future Navy ships but also for a highly skilled crew capable of handling multiple tasks.

The modern technology-intensive fleet the U.S. Navy is putting to sea will require a new skill set for sailors who increasingly will be harder to recruit. The Navy needs the same high-technology talent coming out of high schools and colleges that the commercial sector seeks rigorously, and this competition likely will intensify for the foreseeable future.

February 1, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
 Lenny Tender, a research chemist at the Naval Research Laboratory, stands in front of a tank that mirrors marine environments at the Washington, D.C., facility. Partially submerged in the tank is a Hershey Kiss-shaped buoy that scientists use to develop the benthic microbial fuel cell, a persistent power supply for marine-deployed applications.

Imagine the Energizer Bunny living at the bottom of the sea. Instead of running on batteries, it keeps going, going, going because of energy harvested from the marine environment. This concept is under development as an alternative to using man-made batteries, which need to be replaced, to run oceanographic sensors.

“Our goal is to harvest energy from the marine environment to operate [them],” says Lenny Tender, a research chemist at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washington, D.C.

February 1, 2016
 
The Copernicus Award program recognizes individuals from the sea services who have made a significant, demonstrable contribution to naval warfare in command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I), information systems and information warfare.

One of the AFCEA Educational Foundation’s important functions includes administering the Copernicus Award program. Each year since 1997, the sea services (Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard) have recognized individuals who have made a significant, demonstrable contribution to naval warfare in command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I), information systems and information warfare by the presentation of the Copernicus Award. These awards are cosponsored by the U.S. Naval Institute and the AFCEA Educational Foundation.

February 1, 2016
By Lt. Gen. Robert M. Shea, USMC (Ret.)

The United States always has been a maritime nation, but now more so than ever. The globalization of the world’s economy and communications has increased the importance of maritime operations. The multitrillion-dollar international economic engine that has brought prosperity to billions of people moves most of its international commerce by sea.

February 1, 2015
By George I. Seffers
The Coast Guard is conducting demonstrations with unmanned aerial systems for both land-based and National Security Cutter-based operations.

The U.S. Coast Guard is engaged in a major overhaul of airborne reconnaissance capabilities. Ultimately, the various aviation reconnaissance programs will allow the service to shed aging platforms, add unmanned systems, enhance interoperability, improve efficiency and perform its missions more effectively.

The Coast Guard is adding three types of manned, fixed-wing aircraft to its overall reconnaissance fleet—the HC-130J long-range surveillance aircraft and the HC-144A and C-27J, both of which are medium-range reconnaissance platforms. The service also is investigating the possibility of adding small unmanned aerial systems (UASs) in the short term and larger UASs over the long term.

February 1, 2015
By Lt. Gen. Robert M. Shea, USMC (Ret.)

After more than 13 years of continuous war, the U.S. military is entering a new era with a smaller force that faces new and expanding roles and challenges. As with all the services, the Navy’s and Marine Corps’ challenges are complicated by budget tightening amid an evolving and broadening security environment.

Our traditional national security competitors and threats are still active on the global scene. Additionally, new threats and concerns have emerged. One only has to take a quick visual scan around the world to see the hot spots and areas of emerging tension that beg for presence and engagement that only naval forces can bring.

February 1, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
U.S. Marines learn about network and communication technology available at the 2014 Agile Bloodhound demonstration in Hawaii.

Thirteen years of sustained U.S. combat troop presence in war zones overseas compelled the U.S. Marine Corps to set aside its expeditionary nature and dig in alongside its U.S. Army counterpart for long deployments and occupying missions. The longest war in U.S. history—the Afghanistan War—had Marines conducting yearlong assignments to expunge terrorists, train foreign armies and security forces and help rebuild nations torn apart by the punishing battles.

February 1, 2015
By Robert K. Ackerman
A sonar technician onboard the guided missile destroyer USS Mustin stands watch in the ship’s sonar center. With cyberspace being a warfighting domain, the U.S. Navy’s information networks are a major target that must be protected and defended proactively.

Sea states are giving way to cyberthreats as the biggest variable affecting U.S. Navy operations. While the Navy is working with the other services and the U.S. Cyber Command to protect and defend its networks, it also is shaping its own cyberforce to deal with digital challenges outside of its normal purview.