Navy needs a way to handle UAV, sensor data

TCPED key to operating networks anytime, anyplace, official says

One of the biggest hurdles for current and future naval operations is the data challenge: the ability to strategically gather, examine and share information amid the data deluge emerging from widespread sensor use.

To deal with the challenge, the Navy must implement proper procedures for tasking, collection, processing, exploitation and dissemination, or TCPED, of the information, a top official said June 9.

“It’s not just about collecting information for intelligence purposes behind black doors. It’s about what information do I want to share ... and with who?” said Dave Weddel, assistant deputy chief of naval operations for information dominance, at the AFCEA Naval IT Day in Vienna, Va.

Weddel said that TCPED is integral to meeting the needs of a growing unmanned aerial vehicle force that is yielding volumes of data – needs that will require greatly improved automation capabilities because the data deluge overwhelms human capabilities. He pointed out that the explosion of UAV and sensor use is resulting in a 1,000 percent increase in afloat bandwidth demand – and that TCPED must be able to be carried out even in the most disconnected of environments, such as when satellites are not available.

“One of the main principles is TCPED is we need to be able to do it regardless of the amount of bandwidth we’ve got,” Weddel said. “We need to have the agility ... to fight through an attack.”

He pointed out some key gaps in TCPED capabilities, including the ability to exploit and disseminate quantities of sensor data, as well as the ability to leverage joint and international coalition partners and effectively managing enterprise networks.

He also said data processing and exploitation need to be better aligned, and that there needs to be more dynamic support for multi-mission requirements.

Manpower is another major issue, Weddel noted.

“The number of people aboard our ships is going down, but the amount we’re asking them to do is growing ... how do we keep up?” The Navy may need to rethink the way it trains the next generation of sailors, he said.

“What kind of Navy do we want to be? What kind of missions does our country want us to do?” Weddel asked, adding that these questions must be considered when it comes to facing a budget crisis and key decisions. “We’ve got to work together. The threats are only increasing.”


About the Author

Amber Corrin is a staff writer covering military networks for Defense Systems.

Reader Comments

Mon, Jun 13, 2011 Edmond Hennessy United States

Mr. Weddel emphasizes key points and certainly has his work cut-out. On the flip-side - not to trivialize this issue (with UAV sensor data), however there is rich history with these platforms - and, it is clear that other military lines have also had to cope with this issue. Is it likely thru cross-agency or cross-military lines that a collaborative effort would more readily (and with less effort & cost) provide a path to a solution? Re-inventing the wheel is not fashionable or necessary. Granted the Navy may believe that its needs are unique, however if we dig a little deeper - so were other Initiatives championed by the Air Force & Army. One can also look to the key agencies that have handled satellite-captured, data for decades - as one beacon that can provide insight on how to do it.

Fri, Jun 10, 2011 SJPONeill New Zealand

Want do we need new acronyms for TCPED is just ISR under a new and unnecessary title. Read up on your ISR doctrine and start making it happen instead of adding to the jungle of buzzword bingo... I'm not saying that this is easy - it is probably the biggest single issue facing not just the UAS community but the broader ISR and intel worlds...but we need to be making it simply and not making up new terms for no good reason...

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