Gilday outlines IT vision for Navy systems

Vice Adm. Mike Gilday, commander, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet 2017  (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Robert A. Hartland/Released) 

Vice Adm. Michael Gilday, shown here in 2017, is the administration's candidate for head of naval operations. (U.S. Navy photo)

The Navy has work to do when it comes to protecting its command and control systems from cyberattacks at sea, according to Vice Adm. Michael Gilday, director of the Joint Staff.

Gilday, who has been nominated to be the next chief of naval operations, testified during his July 31 Senate confirmation hearing that moving from legacy to cloud infrastructure would be the best way to protect communication systems and slow their degradation during a state-sponsored cyberattack.

"I think we need to move from legacy infrastructure to the cloud, and I think we need to do it fairly quickly," Gilday said. In doing so, he added, the Navy would need to retain "timely, continuous visibility and security of the data."

One of the service's biggest cyber challenges, he said, is data standardization and developing tactical clouds at sea. “I think we have work to do with respect to data standardization, with respect to actually developing tactical clouds at sea that we can leverage as well,” Gilday said, noting that as CNO he would take a detailed look at weapons and control systems.

Gilday also said he had ideas on cyber projects to accelerate to enhance the Navy’s posture, including teaming up with small businesses and quickly adopting scalable, existing products. (He stressed strengthening cybersecurity among the Defense Industrial Base in his written remarks.)

When asked what the top emerging technologies should rank above the rest, Gilday named artificial intelligence without hesitation and called unmanned systems "the future."

"What I'm particularly interested in is how we use data in a more innovative way to give us a quicker flash to bang from decision making to action," he said. "There's a lot of information at our fingertips every single day, it is getting the right information to the right people at the right time so you can make the right decisions faster than your opponent. And I think there's great promise there. We're … experimenting now that I'm excited about."

Hypersonic weapons, unmanned systems, extensive wargaming, concept development and experimentation to flesh out the technologies are also priorities. "We've almost doubled the amount of exercises we're doing in the next year from 97 to 171," Gilday said. "That's a testbed. We're going to look at new technologies, if we’re going to fail, they can fail fast. If they're something that we want to invest in, then we can put heat on it and field it quickly."

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is a staff writer at FCW covering defense and cybersecurity.

Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.

Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at, or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


  • Congress
    Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) at the Hack the Capitol conference Sept. 20, 2018

    Jim Langevin's view from the Hill

    As chairman of of the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committe and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rhode Island Democrat Jim Langevin is one of the most influential voices on cybersecurity in Congress.

  • Comment
    Pilot Class. The author and Barbie Flowers are first row third and second from right, respectively.

    How VA is disrupting tech delivery

    A former Digital Service specialist at the Department of Veterans Affairs explains efforts to transition government from a legacy "project" approach to a more user-centered "product" method.

Stay Connected


Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.