Momentum is building and Navy leadership is focusing on bringing Web-enabled processes to afloat and ashore forces via the Web Enabling the Navy (WEN) initiative. This ambitious initiative began with the establishment of Task Force Whiskey by the Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO) on December 15, 2000. Its objective was to propose policy, organizational, and programmatic changes necessary to fully exploit Web Technology in the U.S. Navy. Task Force Whiskey succeeded in its objective and created an architectural framework for Web-enabling the Navy's business and operational processes. The VCNO accepted Task Force Whiskey's recommendations and kept up the momentum of this initiative by immediately establishing another task force – Task Force Web (TF Web). TF Web's mission is "To provide integrated and transformational information exchange for both the ashore and afloat Navy to take full advantage of Navy's IT 21 and NMCI infrastructure investments."
What benefits will WEN bring to the Navy and how will it provide these benefits?
When fully implemented, WEN will significantly improve the way the Navy operates and conducts business at all levels. At the organizational level, the Navy benefits include:
• Improved interoperability brought about by the use of industry standards such as XML and Java.
• Improved quality and consistency of data because units will not be accessing the same data from different data sources.
• Improved situational awareness provided by the ability to easily aggregate information from multiple data sources that today's applications find hard to accomplish.
• More timely and accurate decision-making brought about by the improved situational awareness and data accuracy.
• Improved ability to conduct collaborative planning.
• Reduced information technology (IT) costs due to the adoption of the Web browser as the primary software application on most PCs. As new services are provided, there will be no requirement for loading additional software on all PCs in the Navy. Technical support and help desk costs should also be reduced. Another cost reduction will accrue from eliminating the need to fund the maintenance of duplicative databases.
• Providing the Navy with another tool that supports the implementation of business process reengineering.
At the Sailor level, WEN benefits include:
• Improved quality of life made possible by receiving services via the Web versus having to visit service centers. Examples include distance education; pay inquiries, personnel actions etc.
• Improved job performance by taking advantage of the collaboration and knowledge management tools within the portal.
• Access to a much larger amount of information than currently afforded. This access will also be made easier by the use of single sign on technology which eliminates the need for multiple user IDs and passwords when visiting Web sites.
• Increased productivity due to the ability of the portal to provide relevant information in a more timely manner.
• Enabling individual users to personalize their home page on the portal, providing them with information tailored to meet their specific needs.
The WEN architecture will establish a Navy wide enterprise portal through which existing and future programs will provide information services to all Navy users across classified and unclassified networks. The portal provides capabilities that include intelligent information search, video teleconferencing, cross-collaborative planning/training efforts, database access (personnel, medical, meteorological, etc.) and specific combat/mission service requirements. These services will seamlessly cross both the IT-21 and NMCI infrastructures, therefore providing an integrated Navy wide information infrastructure. Access to these services will be made easier by the incorporation of a si