Navy challenged on many IT fronts

The Navy is grappling with six major information technology challenges as it attempts to transform itself and fight the war on terrorism, but progress is being made and industry can help that process, according to Adm. William Fallon, vice chief of Naval operations.

Speaking June 12 at Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association's TechNet International 2002 conference in Washington, D.C., Fallon said the U.S. military must lead with its strengths, "and clearly [IT] is one of our major attributes — [and] one of our best asymmetric attributes." He cautioned that terrorists are also using technology to their advantage and that the nation is still vulnerable.

Fallon said the Navy faces six major IT challenges:

* Interoperability.

* Thousands of legacy applications.

* Security vulnerabilities.

* Information overload.

* Outdated antennas protruding from ships that make them easier targets.

* Bandwidth.

The service is attempting to overcome these issues internally — with such initiatives as the $6.9 billion Navy Marine Corps Intranet project and by attempting to reduce the many different common operating pictures — and externally via participation in the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, Fallon said.

He called on industry to work together on solutions that employ similar standards, enabling Navy personnel to quickly and easily share information within the service as well as with the rest of the Defense Department and U.S. allies.

"I don't care if there's 50 logos on the box" as long as information exchange can be done quickly and securely, Fallon said.

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