Navy uses information technology to enable information technology

U.S. Navy command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) officials leverage their unique strengths to solve the challenges of implementing new systems. More data means more work for warfighters without some sort of technological assistance, and greater capabilities at the cutting edge could be vexing if Sailors and Marines are hampered by operational loads.

How the Navy is addressing these challenges was the focus of a discussion by Rear Admiral Kurt Rothenhaus, USN, Program Executive Director (PEO) C4I, on the third and final day of WEST 2022, the organized conference and expo by AFCEA International and US Naval Institute in San Diego from February 16 to 18. Adm. Rothenhaus told how many new and upcoming technologies hold great promise for improving the operational capabilities of combatants.

And that is essential for a widely dispersed force. As more abilities are provided to the fighter, distance becomes an issue. Individual fighters need to know how to get the most out of their technology on the spot. “How do we make sure the sailor has what he needs in this contested environment where we can’t send a technician to help him?” asked Admiral Rothenhaus.

Training will be part of it. Fighters must learn their technology on the job before being deployed. The Admiral said the Navy uses a cloud-based environment so each student can emulate a CANES ship they are traveling to.

It becomes vital in dealing with software and cyber threat. Project Overmatch software will be a key component in getting the software into the hands of sailors, Admiral Rothenhaus said. It would be delivered to the sailor on time with everything he needs to use it.

And that will be a key element in ensuring the adoption of these new capabilities by combatants. “We need to build trust with the warfighter so that through these technologies the expected result will occur,” the admiral asserted.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will play an important role. “We are fascinated and intrigued by AI/ML,” admitted the Admiral. “We are cleaning the decks to be ready to use more AI/ML. It is a powerful mechanism to address our C4I challenges.

He noted that early uses of AI/ML involved using it to generate predictive models to avoid preventative maintenance. Early results were mixed. “When we first started doing it, the predictive models were awful,” he admitted. “But, over time, we got better.”

And AI/ML will help reduce the fighter’s workload at the periphery. “[We’re] really excited about the possibility of these advanced technologies extracting more from the sailor and making their job easier,” he suggested.

From industry, the Navy seeks both capabilities and expertise. “We love your new gear, but we’re also learning your best practices from you,” he told the business leaders. “DevOps has been business as usual for the industry. We’re just doing business as usual,” he said.

Cyber ​​defense dominates all C4I systems. Adm. Rothenhaus cited the SHARKCAGE Cyber ​​Defense Analytics Enclave as an important future development. Network situational awareness is essential to combat increasingly hostile adversarial actions in cyberspace.

“The cyber threat is real,” he said. “It’s academic, and it continues every day.”

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