Five legacy networks, each with a dedicated infrastructure, will be replaced by the Navy's Consolidated Afloat Network and Enterprise Services, or CANES, a streamlined common computing infrastructure for C4I — command, control, communications, computers and intelligence applications — and hardware components that will deliver video, data and network services to the fleet.
The CANES program received approval to enter the production and deployment phase Dec. 14. The Milestone “C” acquisition decision memorandum was approved by Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall. The decision commits the Department of Defense to production and authorizes the program to begin limited deployment. The program was
approved for limited fielding of 29 CANES units with 23 installations.
The CANES program is managed by the Program Executive Officer for C4I. To acquire CANES, PEO C4I used a game-changing business model that encourages vigorous industry competition that when combined with an open architecture design, reliance on commercial off-the-shelf technology
and government-owned data rights decreases total ownership costs for the Navy and delivers operational warfighting agility.
"CANES is more than a system, it is also a new business model for delivering capability to the fleet. It takes five legacy networks and combines them into one network, allowing us to streamline support, training and operating procedures," said Rear Adm. Jerry Burroughs, program executive officer for C4I.
The development of CANES is in response to fleet demand for a robust tactical network. CANES is made up of two main subprograms: the common computing environment, which consolidates all the hardware, racks, servers and communications media for shipboard applications, and the afloat
core services, which is a consolidation of applications in use today.
Capt. D.J. LeGoff, PEO C4I, tactical networks program manager (PMW 160) and program manager for CANES, said CANES standardizes infrastructure and components which decreases the
complexity and costs of training and sustainment.
“Applications that ride on CANES are owned by other programs of record with their own resource sponsors. CANES provides the common infrastructure and replaces about 135 legacy systems. The standard baseline makes it easier for Sailors to operate and maintain CANES,” LeGoff said. “Hardware refresh is planned and funded for every four years and software refresh every two years and assures keeping pace with technology — it eliminates the headaches of multiple versions of hardware and software and also decreases threats to the network.”
CANES technology is scalable, meaning there are minor variations depending on the ship class — which assures the same infrastructure from one ship to another.
"Today, we have many different variants of networks out there that present significant supportability and information assurance challenges," Burroughs said. "CANES also has significant IA
capability built into it that we've never had before, which will allow us to ensure we're delivering secure capability that stays relevant to the warfighter."
“IA in legacy systems was bolted on or patched in,” LeGoff said. “Ten to 15 years ago when we were building systems the risks were not the same as they are now, also new threats have emerged over the years. Information assurance is the foundation that we used to build CANES. It makes protecting CANES easier — as well as the hardware and software refresh.”
There is an established training pipeline for the Sailors who will be operating CANES — information systems technicians receive training in a continuum from beginner to journeyman level
which includes a 26-week course that includes courses in Microsoft certifications. Then ITs deploy on ships for real fleet experience and return to the classroom in “C” School. A five-week CANES course is in development in San Diego and will be ready for students in February.
Sailors will be able to perform routine IA, but most network elements will be locked down to ensure system integrity and configuration management.
Commander Operational Test and Evaluation Force conducted an operational assessment of CANES in September. While the final report from that assessment won't be available until early next year, initial evaluation contributed to a successful Milestone C Decision. Following the decision,
work began on the San Diego-based destroyer USS Milius (DDG 69) Dec. 17. Installation will take about 18 weeks to strip out the legacy hardware and systems and install CANES.
“But we are not tying up the Milius for 18 weeks; she is undergoing other types of maintenance as part of the ship’s availability alterations to ships accomplished by alteration installation teams,”
At the same time, LeGoff and Burroughs said they hope to decrease the time it takes to install CANES on each ship because the cost savings and benefits to the Navy are so great, and they are confident that they can.
“With the lessons learned from installation on Milius, we hope to shrink the 18-week installation estimate down. We fully expect to see some surprises, but we are fully prepared for that,” LeGoff
Ultimately, CANES will be deployed to more than 190 ships, submarines and Maritime Operations Centers by 2020. LeGoff said his office is working with Naval Sea Systems Command and the Navy to obtain funding to install CANES on the other 100 or so other ships in the fleet.
“The first set of ships for CANES [deployment] is determined first and foremost by age — those with the oldest and most problematic legacy systems, but this can be limited by the maintenance availability which depends on a lot factors and is controlled by NAVSEA,” LeGoff said.
In May 2012, PEO C4I announced that CANES proved to be 44 percent cheaper than expected compared to the government’s initial cost estimate. LeGoff credited the CANES business model for the lower than expected costs. However, the Navy is not locked in to the current limited deployment
phase contract, which was awarded in February 2013. LeGoff said the Navy will recompete the contract for the next round of ships selected for CANES deployment. The open architecture and COTS technology ensure that multiple vendors can submit bids. “We provide all the system documentation [to potential bidders] and the Navy owns all the data rights to the system … and offering a proposal that doesn't meet open standards is the best way to get kicked off the contract,” LeGoff said.
The Navy is also taking the lead as the software systems integrator and will maintain the segment of CANES called afloat core services, the services-oriented architecture that forms a key
part of the common system. The result will be products that are entirely opensource, LeGoff explained.
CANES encompasses the full gamut of security classification up to sensitive compartmented information and coalition access. It does not include the ship’s machinery and real-time combat
systems but mostly all a ship’s IT systems are included, LeGoff said. Full rate production for CANES is planned for spring/summer period in 2014.
Sharon Anderson is the CHIPS senior editor. She can be reached at email@example.com.