Navy operations chief puts cloud, networks at center of maritime war strategy

Operations Specialist 2nd Class Alex Moore monitors radars to identify aircraft in the Combat Information Center aboard the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan.  U.S. Navy Photo 

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The Chief of Naval Operations is making good on promises to make cybersecurity central to the service's mission.

CNO Adm. Mike Gilday wrote that cybersecurity should be "part of our DNA" in a fragmentary order released Dec. 5.

U.S. Fleet Cyber Command is tasked with creating operational cyber readiness training for commanders by January, including a standardized cyber readiness dashboard that explains a system's integrity.

The order also stipulated plans to integrate space, cyber, electronic warfare, and special operations in fleet maritime operations centers by January and develop field small tactical cyber teams as forces for fleet commanders by February.

Gilday emphasized interoperability and called for the Navy to connect all weapons and sensors.

"We will leverage the power of networks, cloud computing, machine learning and artificial intelligence — including tactical clouds on our platforms and shore infrastructure — to connect all weapons and sensors," wrote Gilday, the former commander for U.S. Fleet Cyber Command and U.S. Tenth Fleet.

The Navy's Digital Transformation Office plans to release an initial operational framework in January, according to the document. The Navy also plans to expand its use of tactical clouds for its live virtual constructive training, which will "optimize training time and enable operators to develop and master tactics, techniques, and procedures in secure, controllable conditions."

Additionally, Gilday stressed infrastructure concerns to senior Navy leaders. "We have assumed significant risk in shore infrastructure investment by diverting funds to increase afloat readiness, future force structure, and other priorities," the CNO wrote.

"Today's networks need to be resilient, agile, extensible, and maneuverable — ashore and afloat — to accomplish the mission."

To accomplish this, the commander for Navy Installations Command is expected to complete a risk and readiness assessment by March 2020. A long-term mitigation strategy will follow.

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 [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


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