SPAWAR Discusses the Importance of Digitizing Sea Power at Sea-Air-Space 2019

May 8, 2019 – Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) joined ten commands from across the Information Warfare (IW) Community to discuss the shift to a digital Navy at the Navy’s Information Warfare Pavilion during the 2019 Sea-Air-Space Exposition at the Gaylord National Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland May 6-8.

The IW Pavilion featured a speaker series, an engagement zone and 12 technology demonstrations where the commands showcased their dedication to ensuring the Navy’s ability to compete and win in today’s data-driven environment from seabed to space.

Vice Adm. Matthew Kohler, deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare (OPNAV N2N6) and director of naval intelligence (DNI), kicked off the event, tying the IW mission to Defense and Navy strategies.

“The National Defense Strategy as well as A Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority both highlight the era of ‘The Great Power Competition’ and the impact of the increasingly complex security environment in which information is key to maintaining our competitive advantage,” said Kohler. “New technologies are being developed at an accelerated speed, many of which are being demonstrated here today. We must adapt so that we can fight and win the wars of the future.”

During the speaker series, SPAWAR Commander Rear Adm. Christian Becker focused on the significance of digitization, emphasizing the importance of accurate information and data across all warfare domains and platforms.

“The battlefield has changed. We are facing a culture shift where data is a vital strategic resource in warfare,” said Becker. “To maintain our advantage in the information domain we must excel across the scope of military operations. Networks, communication and data storage with the tools to access and maximize use of the data are all key to our overall mission effectiveness across the Navy from personnel management to logistics to kinetic operations.”

To drive dialogues to ultimately accelerate the process of getting new capabilities to the fleet, the IW Pavilion hosted an engagement zone facilitating conversations between government, military, industry and academia. The purpose is to discuss how they can better work together to provide the warfighter the most advanced capabilities as quickly as possible.

“The engagement zone provided an opportunity for subject matter experts from industry and multiple commands within the IW Community to interact face-to-face, learning from each other’s experiences,” said Patrick Fitzgerald, Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic Enterprise Systems department head. “Together we discussed the current gaps and immediate needs of the Navy, as well as best practices used by industry and how to apply them to government processes and procedures.”

SPAWAR also had representatives from the command’s Small Business Office Programs on hand to facilitate industry connections and partnerships, and to provide information on how to do business with SPAWAR.

Additionally, the IW pavilion featured multiple technology demonstrations spotlighting systems and capabilities aimed at digitizing sea power such as the Collaborative Software Armory (CSA) and the Joint Response Integrated and Collaborative Decision Support Tool (JRICO).

Demonstrated by NIWC Pacific, CSA is a cloud-enabled digital environment using industry DevSecOps principles that facilitates the rapid delivery of software applications to the warfighter.

“CSA has been designed to make software easy to develop, easy to test, easy to authorize, and easy to deploy,” said Dr. Garret Okamoto, NIWC Pacific engineer. “It takes advantage of the GovCloud and automation to make it possible for us to get software capabilities to the warfighter quickly while ensuring functionality and security. CSA is a great example of leveraging the latest digital technologies and commercial best practices to rapidly deliver capability to the fleet.”

Also focused on digitalization, JRICO, developed by NIWC Atlantic, is a system designed to employ smart data-tagging, big data analytics, and machine learning to ingest and exploit disparate structured Department of Defense (DoD) force management data and unstructured non-DoD data such as weather, seismic, medical, state, local, and intelligence data from various sensors and systems.

Other displays ranged from swarm modeling and control technologies, position, navigation and timing technologies, military satellite and nanosatellite communication systems, advanced military mobile applications and more.

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.

SPAWAR identifies, develops, delivers and sustains information warfighting capabilities supporting naval, joint, coalition and other national missions. SPAWAR consists of more than 10,000 active duty military and civil service professionals located around the world and close to the fleet to keep SPAWAR at the forefront of research, engineering and acquisition to provide and sustain information warfare capabilities to the fleet.