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Assuring information dominance: What it will take

April 2011 Navy
By Ms. Terry Roberts

Navy as a Leader in the Cyber Domain: By the very nature of its missions and global operations, the US Navy has been a thought leader and innovator across the Space and Electronic Warfare (SEW) spectrum for generations. The Cyber Domain is a logical expansion of that original SEW Domain. As a Navy, we have historically been comfortable only “seeing” via our organic sensors and our Common Operational Picture, because often that was all that we had thousands of miles from homeport. So the Navy was among the first to develop the Space and Electronic Warfare Commander (SEWC) approach afloat and the net-centric warfare concepts and capabilities starting in the 1990s, to include the implementation of end-to-end C2 network (NIPRNET, SIPRNET, CENTRIXS and JWICS), and communications afloat via IT-21. And it was the Navy that was the first to establish Net-Centric war games and concept development (1997), the first to establish a Servicewide Intranet capability (2000), the first to establish a 3-star-level command focused on this operational sphere of Space, IT and IO, and NETWARCOM in 2002. So it is logical that the Navy would continue to lead the DoD in further enabling and integrating its manpower and capabilities truly to deliver decision dominance in the cyber age to their forces globally, via the creation of a 3-Star Navy Cyber Component Commander, 10THFLT, and the integration of all OPNAV N2 and N6 functions into the 3-Star Deputy CNO for Information Dominance.

Enabling Mission Assurance for the Cyber Domain: While many are working on the operational and manpower aspects of the Navy’s new Information Dominance domain, I will focus on the systemic and technical issues that must be addressed to ensure that the Navy is operating, fighting, and winning in this arena based upon a resilient and highly performing “network” of end-to-end capabilities. As many of you know, this is not a straightforward task for many reasons:

  • The vast majority of IT global infrastructure and services are designed, owned, and operated by industry (including many international corporations), not by the U.S. Government.
  • Other than the DoN contracting of the Navy/Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI), no DoD Service or Agency has directly designed, acquired, operated, and sustained a global intranet-like architecture and Google-like applications.
  • Current DoD IT/Cyber requirements (JCIDS), resourcing (PPBE), design and acquisition (DOD 5000), and development constructs were established to support Cold War-era platform development and procurement.
  • The majority of DoD entities do not have the prerequisite and comprehensive technical skillsets, experience, and IT program management expertise needed to design and develop high-performance and assured cyber foundational capabilities, such as: software as an enterprise-wide service; consolidation of data centers; migration to thin client; and computing/ exploitation via a cloud architecture.
  • While research and development in this space is by its very nature a team sport among industry, academia, and government labs, it must be conducted and transitioned at the speed of the technology to remain relevant and mission effective.

So how can we achieve the Navy Information Dominance vision and mission objectives in spite of the above impediments? Suffice it to say: you can’t shoehorn the old approaches and the “five-year-plan” mindset and be successful. I recommend that the Navy explore, refine, and implement the following:

  • Leverage ASN RDA approved and sponsored piloting efforts to develop, test, and evolve new, effective R&D, design, acquisition, and sustainment approaches across the life cycle of Navy Cyber Domain capabilities–reporting results to OSD and others.
  • Resurrect Information Dominance enterprise- wide Senior Steering Groups that can identify, vet, and provide executable corporate (technical, resource, training, acquisition, and operational) solutions to the Information Dominance Leadership (to include OPNAV N2/N6, Commander 10THFLT, SPAWAR, PEOC4I/ IWS/others, DON-CIO, NAVNETWARCOM, and USFF.
  • Create agile and focused R&D partnerships, across DoD and with industry and academia, that more seamlessly access and leverage all IT/Cyber innovations, testing, prototyping, and transitioning that cuttingedge research continuously into Navy architectures and systems.

As in the nuclear age before, the Navy must establish new constructs and comprehensive approaches to achieve mission effectiveness in this new operational domain. By meeting that challenge, the Navy can ensure its supremacy in the Information Dominance arena throughout the world and for decades to come.

Copyright 2011 Carnegie Mellon University.
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THIS CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY AND SOFTWARE ENGINEERING INSTITUTE MATERIAL IS FURNISHED ON AN “AS-IS” BASIS. CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY MAKES NO WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, AS TO ANY MATTER INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, WARRANTY OF FITNESS FOR PURPOSE OR MERCHANT-ABILITY, EXCLUSIVITY, OR RESULTS OBTAINED FROM USE OF THE MATERIAL. CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY DOES NOT MAKE ANY WARRANTY OF ANY KIND WITH RESPECT TO FREEDOM FROM PATENT, TRADEMARK, OR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT.

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