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West 2022 is the premier naval conference and exposition on the West Coast, held February 13-15. The conference brings together leaders in military, industry, and academia to discuss information warfare, integrated warfare, near-peer challenges and associated creative and agile solutions. WEST 2022 is co-sponsored by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) International and the U.S. Naval Institute (USNI).
Ms. Tami North, director, Naval Information Forces (NAVIFOR) West, kicked off WEST with a discussion at the IW pavilion on defining information warfare capabilities, including the systems, hardware, software and Sailors.
“Information warfare is crucial to the lethality of all other warfare areas, period,” said North. “Information warfare is both the direct enabler of the high-end fight, and it is also the connective tissue that keeps all the other worker areas operating at their highest potential.”
Vice Adm Kelly Aeschbach, NAVIFOR commander, participated in a panel titled “Are our Warfighting Communities Adapting Rapidly Enough to Meet the new Warfighting Challenges?” in which all the Naval Type Commands (TYCOMs) were represented and fielded questions from both the moderator and audience on their top priorities in meeting future threats.
“My number one priority is bringing IW fully into live, virtual, constructive (LVC),” said Aeschbach. “We need to get information warfare fully into LVC, and we are focused on that this year through a partnership with NAVWAR (Naval Information Warfare Systems Command), and a series of tests and pilots to deliver that connection to information warfare.”
Rear Adm Michael Vernazza, commander, Naval Information Warfighting Development Center (NIWDC) delivered remarks on what NIWDC is delivering for IW on a large warfighting scale.
“NIWDC is moving out with drive, tenacity and initiative to deliver the decision advantage to our Navy,” said Vernazza. “First is enhancing lethality through our WTI or warfare tactics instructor program and the information warfare commanders. Second is driving IW innovation through network virtual training and experimentation, and third is integrating joint information warfare.”
NIWDC’s mission includes training IW forces in advanced tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP) at the individual, unit, integrated, advanced and joint levels. NIWDC is the Navy’s IW Center of Excellence, enhancing Fleet high-end warfighting capabilities and readiness across the operational and tactical levels of war – focused on providing full spectrum, multi-discipline IW to the Fleet Commanders and tacticians to realize the increased lethality of Distributed Maritime Operations (DMO), Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO), and Littoral Operations in a Contested Environment (LOCE).
On Thursday, Aeschbach delivered remarks from the IW Pavilion about IW’s most important asset – people.
“I’d be remiss in all of that if I really didn’t talk about the most important part in all of information warfare, which is our people,” said Aeschbach. “And I mentioned yesterday, I do sleep very well at night, because we have really talented people, and I don't lose any sleep and knowing that there are folks more exceptional more qualified and smarter than me already coming up in the Navy…When you look at the caliber of the folks and the talent that we have integrated today, it’s really reassuring.”
The construct for IWE is built upon four strategic goals: To ensure IW readiness, delivering agile and effective IW capabilities that outpace the treat’s technical advances and remain relevant into the future. IW readiness enables the warfighter to manage combat risk and win against current and future threats by including Sailors as part of IW systems; ensuring man, train and equip (MTE) provisioning and system resiliency and security while optimizing support, sustainment and modernization. Advancing IW capabilities delivers agile and effective IW capabilities that outpace the threat’s technical advances and remain relevant into the future. Align and integrate IW ensures alignment internally across IW capability areas, stakeholders, platforms, and prioritized requirements, and externally, integrates IW capability across multiple warfare domains with other Naval enterprises. Enable mission partner IW supports IW development of key allies to expand the reach and lethality of the collective force across the globe.
Aeschbach emphasized the importance of these pillars to ensuring readiness to meet IW challenges and opportunities to remain competitive.
“We always have to be anticipating or thinking about what the next technical innovation or capability is that we need to be embracing, and we need to be outthinking and outpacing the competition,” said Aeschbach. “And so, my concern is if we are ever satisfied with anything we probably are already falling behind or are already behind the competition in information warfare.”
The IW Pavilion, now in its sixth year at WEST, highlights the Navy’s commitment to warfighting and the warfighter, now and in the future. Subject matter experts from NAVIFOR, the Office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Information Warfare (N2N6), Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet, NAVWAR, and many others were on-hand to meet with attendees and highlight current technologies utilized by the fleet.
NAVIFOR’s mission is to generate, directly and through our leadership of the IW Enterprise, agile and technically superior manned, trained, equipped, and certified combat-ready IW forces to ensure our Navy will decisively DETER, COMPETE, and WIN.
For more information on NAVIFOR, visit the command Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NavalInformationForces/ or the public web page at https://www.navifor.usff.navy.mil.
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