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NAVWAR Addresses Readiness Today and Modernization for Tomorrow at Sea-Air-Space 2021

05 August 2021

From Naval Information Warfare Systems Command Public Affairs

Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR) joined nine commands from across the information warfare (IW) community to discuss how to apply digital and information technology for future fleet readiness under, on and above the sea during the 2021 Sea-Air-Space Exposition at the Gaylord National Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland August 2-4.

Now in its fifth year at the event, the Navy’s IW Pavilion featured a leadership speaker series, an engagement zone and technology demonstrations. Collaboration among IW commands is the key to success in the ever-evolving cyber and technology environment and the pavilion demonstrates the teamwork between the commands to support the fleet. Navy commands participating included:

  • Office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare (N2N6)
  • Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. Tenth Fleet (FCC/C10F)
  • Navy Information Forces Command (NAVIFOR)
  • Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR)
  • Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI)
  • Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command (CNMOC)
  • Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Pacific
  • Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic
  • Program Executive Office Manpower, Logistics and Business Solutions (PEO MLB)
  • Program Executive Office Digital and Enterprise Services (PEO Digital)

Vice Adm. Jeffrey Trussler, deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare (OPNAV N2N6), kicked off the IW Pavilion speaker series by discussing IW community priorities.

“As the fleet operates much more forward and much more distributed, there is more of a need for tools to be available to the warfighter in a way that we can quickly evolve and modernize them as operational environments change,” said Trussler. “In the information warfare community, our number one priority is providing the Fleet with the capabilities they need and want.”

During his slot in the IW leadership speaker series, NAVWAR Commander Rear Adm. Doug Small chose to facilitate a dialogue with the audience by hosting a question and answer session. He fielded questions on a variety of subjects including digital engineering, data security and classification, the use of experimentation to test new technology and collaboration with Marine Corps.

He also stressed the importance for industry partners to participate in classified industry days as a way to understand requirements.

“We never want industry to wonder about capability gaps,” said Small. “I want you to know exactly what we are working on and why, so when the time comes to close a gap, we are ready to go as quickly as possible. I want you to be able to align every dime of your investments towards what the Navy, Marine Corps and Joint Force needs.”

While at the event, Small also joined the panel “Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2): Navigating the Netted Battlespace” where he discussed Project Overmatch, a high priority Navy initiative aimed at delivering a more lethal, better-connected fleet of the future by connecting manned and unmanned platforms, weapons and sensors together in a robust Naval Operational Architecture that integrates with JADC2 for enhanced Distributed Maritime Operations. Critical to this initiative is the development of networks, infrastructure, data architecture, tools and analytics that support the operational and developmental environment that will enable sustained maritime dominance for years to come. 

Project Overmatch leverages the latest in digital technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), networking technologies, as well as the Navy’s commercial, cloud-enabled, development, security and operations (DevSecOps) pipeline, known as Overmatch Software Armory, for improved fleet readiness worldwide.

“We are trying to find a way to ‘unthink’ the way we acquire and deliver capability,” said Small. “Let’s do it the way the rest of the world works by delivering software and applications and take away the other stuff so we can unleash the creativity of our entrepreneurial software developers.”

Taking advantage of being back to in-person, face-to-face interaction, the IW Pavilion featured the engagement zone, where attendees had the opportunity to join program managers and other subject matter experts for informal, sit-down conversations in 10 sessions throughout the three-day conference. These dialogues help to facilitate the process of connecting government and military leaders with industry partners with the goal of improving today’s technology and working to modernize capabilities for the fleet, as quickly as possible.

“My hope is that our engagement zone provided attendees with a clearer understanding of how important cultures of experimentation, adaptation and risk-taking are for the future of our Navy,” said Greg Hays, senior scientific technology manager for Rapid Prototyping, Exercises and Demonstrations (RPED) at NIWC Atlantic. “I addressed the need for government to lower the barriers of entry for our industry partners and accelerating contractual options. The more agile we become in procuring key technologies, the more likely we are to outmatch our adversaries in information warfare.”

Additionally, the IW Pavilion featured demonstrations focused on data science, applications for AI and ML, mobile applications, virtual air traffic control technology and unmanned underwater vehicles.

One of the demos provided by NIWC Pacific was the Ambient Intelligence Speech Interface (AISI) project which is developing the capabilities to bring the next generation of digital assistants to Naval command and control. Using AI and ML to understand who is talking and what they are saying, speech can be used as an intuitive way for decision makers to get the synthesized and timely information they need.

“With a modular design that can integrate deep learning techniques with a range of tools developed in-house and from industry, we are tailoring the AISI framework to handle the unique challenges presented by Naval environments,” said Jeffrey Bennett, a machine learning scientist at NIWC Pacific. “This demonstration highlighted some of the AISI capabilities to show attendees how intelligent, natural interactions can enable the future of information warfare.”

Hosted by the Navy League of the United States, the Sea-Air-Space Exposition is now the largest maritime exposition in the United States and continues as an invaluable extension of the Navy League's mission of maritime policy, education and sea service support.

About NAVWAR:

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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