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Co-sponsored by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) International and the U.S. Naval Institute (USNI), WEST is the place for the makers of platforms and the designers of technologies to network, examine and demonstrate their innovative solutions. This year industry leaders learned about military requirements and connected with decision makers and operators in a virtual space away from the typical tradeshow setting.
In its sixth year at WEST, the IW Pavilion showcased the Navy’s commitment to deliver emerging capabilities at speed and scale for successful modern sea control with remote presentations by speakers, panels and subject matter experts.
During the event, NAVWAR Commander Rear Adm. Doug Small participated in a panel titled "How are we innovating, acquiring, upgrading and adapting, rapidly and effectively?" During the discussion Small highlighted why speed matters in this era of Great Power Competition.
“In today’s competitive environment we must move with speed and leverage innovations from a wide field of expertise,” said Small. “That is why we are here today, to engage with the best minds from across industry to solve these hard problems together.”
Small also highlighted a number of current NAVWAR initiatives aimed at leveraging advanced capabilities so that we can compete, deter and win today while accelerating the development of a more lethal better connected fleet of the future.
One initiative included the recently announced Project Overmatch Prize Challenges, the Networks Advanced Naval Technology Exercise (NetANTX) and the Artificial Intelligence Networks Advanced Naval Technology Exercise (AINetANTX). Both prize challenges are actively seeking to identify solutions at speed, in support of Project Overmatch, offering $200,000 in combined cash prizes.
Project Overmatch is the Department of the Navy effort to modernize Naval warfighting networks, seamlessly connecting the future fleet of manned and unmanned platforms, leveraging the latest in digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and information and networking technologies for improved fleet readiness worldwide.
To further promote collaboration and innovation, the IW pavilion also featured a virtual engagement zone, providing a platform for attendees to virtually connect with more than two dozen program managers, business portfolio managers and subject matter experts from multiple IW commands.
“We always enjoy being a part of WEST and the IW Pavilion Engagement Zone,” said Rear Adm. Kurt Rothenhaus, Program Executive Officer for Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (PEO C4I) and Space Systems. “It’s important for us to communicate, to learn, to listen to each other, and to share best practices. These have been challenging times with COVID, but with the support of our industry partners, we’ve been able to maintain our commitment to the fleet, and deliver the systems and support our sailors need to meet the Navy’s mission.”
In addition to the engagement zone, NAVWAR also had representatives from the command’s Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP) and Small Business Innovation Research Program on hand to provide information on how to do business with NAVWAR.
“WEST provides an incredible platform for us to connect with small business partners on high priority needs and current fleet requirements,” said Dan Deconzo, director of NAVWAR OSBP. “It allows us to leverage the specialized experience and capabilities that small businesses bring to the fight, providing innovative, agile and affordable solutions that are vital to our national defense. We will continue to use opportunities like WEST to capitalize on the intellectual wealth and perspective provided by the small business community. Furthermore, now that we have seen the power of virtual connectivity with industry, events like WEST are our conduit to industry and I believe they will continue to be so especially in our new normal.”
The pavilion also hosted multiple technology demonstrations in the form of videos, spotlighting various systems and capabilities that support and facilitate information warfare, from seabed to space and in cyberspace including unmanned under water vehicles used for operational decision-making, upcoming 5G capabilities, innovative cybersecurity applications and rapid prototyping technologies.
For more information on WEST 2021, and to view recordings of event speaking engagements, panels and presentations visit: https://www.westconference.org/
NAVWAR identifies, develops, delivers and sustains information warfighting capabilities and services that enable naval, joint, coalition and other national missions operating in warfighting domains from seabed to space and through cyberspace. NAVWAR consists of more than 11,000 civilian, active duty and reserve professionals located around the world.
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