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CHIPS Articles: Navy's New Strategy and Organization for Information Dominance

Navy's New Strategy and Organization for Information Dominance
Information emerges as a core warfighting capability equivalent to seapower and airpower
By Jack N. Summe - January-March 2010
We are experiencing a period of rapid change in the information realm; new technologies are emerging daily, obsolescence happens within weeks of fielding, global populations grow quickly accustomed to the impact of these new technologies, and our adversaries are using these technologies as a weapon against us.

The challenge is clear:

•Information technology is driving dramatic change and leading to an explosion in the volume of information, thereby creating both opportunities and challenges.
•The National Intelligence Council reported: "The growing importance of information technologies … will make information itself a primary target in future conflicts."
•The Defense Department detected 360 million attempts to penetrate its networks last year; $100 million has been spent in the past six months repairing the damage.
•Current and potential adversaries are applying information technologies and operations to counter our military strengths and preferred mode of warfare.
•The U.S. military depends on assured access to the global commons — the oceans, space and cyberspace — to project influence and power.
•Strategic competitors are investing in information capabilities to deny or offset that access.
•The Navy's Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower is dependent upon unfettered access to and dominance of that emergent nexus between maritime, space and information domains.

Further, U.S. dominance in the information arena is clearly at risk. Both the president and Secretary of Defense have highlighted this concern.

On May 29, 2009, President Obama said, "Our technological advantage is a key to America's military dominance … But our defense and military networks are under constant attack … it's now clear that this cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation."

In January 2009, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, "The U.S. cannot take its current dominance for granted and needs to invest in the programs, platforms and personnel that will ensure that dominance's persistence."

Recently, the Chief of Naval Operations postured the Navy to play a strategic role in addressing this challenge. There is a clear understanding across the Navy staff that we are at the threshold of a new era; an era where information must no longer serve as just an enabler, but transition to a core warfighting capability of the U.S. Navy. In fact, our service today has the unique opportunity to revolutionize its operational and warfighting capabilities, similar to when the Navy introduced dreadnoughts, aircraft carriers and nuclear power into the fleet.

Alignment to seize this opportunity began with a simple direction to the Di-rector of Naval Intelligence that culminated a period of consideration and reflection by the current Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), Adm. Gary Roughead.

On June 26, 2009, the CNO sent a memorandum to the Director of Naval Intelligence with guidance to undertake and lead the eventual reorganization of the OPNAV staff, combining the Office of the Director of Naval Intelligence (N2) and the Office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (DCNO) for Communication Networks (N6), as well as other information-related elements from the N3 and N8 staffs.

The intent of this reorganization was simply stated: "The nature of our operations today demand a whole-warfighting approach to how we plan, resource and assess our operational and combat capabilities. The Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV) must be organized to achieve the integration and innovation necessary for warfighting dominance across the full spectrum of operations at sea, under the sea, in the air, in the littorals, and in the cyberspace and information domains.

"You [N2] are the flag lead for the reorganization of the OPNAV staff … This effort and corresponding process will meet a compressed timeline, execute a clear implementation plan, and be collaborative to work through the complex issues you will encounter."

This directive kicked off a compressed period of analysis and detailed planning that delivered a strategy for accomplishing the CNO's intent while executing an energetic reorganization of the OPNAV staff. The result portends significant implications for how Navy approaches the way it will organize to fight and help win our nation's future conflicts. The CNO's directive was underscored in a follow-on joint memorandum from Vice Adm. David "Jack" Dorsett, N2, and Vice Adm. Harry Harris, then the N6, to the combined N2 and N6 staffs: "This is a historic opportunity to reshape the Navy for warfighting dominance in the information age." The CNO amplified the significance of this reorganization dur-ing an October 2009 address delivered at the influential Center for Strategic and International Studies. There he discussed the significant moves within the Navy "to better man, train and equip the United States Navy for the fight that we're in and for the challenges that we're likely to face in the future."

In a September 2009 podcast to the Navy, the CNO also stated: "We're doing some things here in Washington on my staff that brings intelligence, command, control, communications, computers and information together in a way that [will enable us] to make better decisions … "And so by making these changes, by recognizing the importance that information plays in our lives, in our operations and in the success of the Navy's mission, now is the right time to do message of Oct. 29, 2009, regarding the reorganization, the intent of the CNO was clear, and the significance of the reorganization was promulgated across the U.S. Navy: "The stand-up of N2/N6 represents a landmark transition in the evolution of naval warfare, designed to elevate information as a main battery of our warfighting capabilities, and firmly establish the U.S. Navy's prominence in intelligence, cyberwarfare, and information management."

Toward this end, the strategic objectives of N2/N6, as defined in NAVADMIN 316/09, are to:
• Elevate information to a core Navy warfighting capability.
• Functionally integrate intelligence, information warfare, in-formation/network management, oceanography, and geospatial information for information age operations.
• Deliver assured command and control and information access to operational forces.
• Boldly introduce game-changing concepts, strategies and capabilities.
• Coordinate resource investment to deliver information-centric capabilities and competitive advantages.
• Aggressively accelerate experimentation and innovation with information capabilities.
• Deliver deep multi-intelligence penetration and under-standing of potential adversaries, melded with deep multi-do-main understanding of the operating environment.
• Deliver remotely piloted, unattended and autonomous ca-pabilities adaptively networked to extend reach, penetration and persistence in denied areas.

Effective Nov. 2, 2009, N2/N6 became the newest directorate within the OPNAV staff, and Vice Adm. Jack Dorsett was confirmed as the first DCNO for Information Dominance. Although the implications of this reorganization are significant, other elements of the Navy were also reorganized to meet the vision of the CNO.

• The Navy established and stood up Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet as the Navy's operational element for cyber and information-related activ¬ity and as the U.S. Navy Component Command to DoD's new sub-unified command, U.S. Cyber Command (US¬CYBERCOM). The establishment of FLT¬CYBERCOM was effective Oct. 1, 2009, with a directive to be fully operational by Oct. 1, 2010.

• Establishment of the Navy Informa¬tion Dominance Corps (IDC) — simply defined as the combination of all the in¬formation-related specialties of the Navy under N2/N6 to better synchronize the training, knowledge and skills of these critical career fields.

• The transition of Director, Navy Staff-Quadrennial Defense Review (DNS QDR) to Director, Naval Warfare Integration (N00X). In this construct N00X serves as a permanent directorate assigned to assess the alignment between Navy warfare strategy and investments, and to provide the CNO recommendations on how best to improve Navy's ability to deliver the capability, capacity and strategy needed to meet national and combatant com¬mander needs.

• Movement of the information-related elements of N3 (N39, information and cyber operations) and N8 (unmanned systems programs and resources) into the N2/N6 organization.

With regard to the reorganization of N2 and N6, one might assume that a reor¬ganization of this scope and scale would simply take the easy road of establishing an Assistant DCNO (ADCNO) for Commu¬nications and an ADCNO for Intelligence, effectively maintaining the integrity and responsibilities of the previous staff directorates.

However, it was understood early on that to achieve warfighting dominance and game-changing information capabil¬ities, the new construct had to effectively meld the two organizations into one. The planning team worked hard to develop an integrated organization as represent¬ed in Figure 1.

As can be seen, this is not a simple com¬bining of two directorates under one se¬nior flag officer.

Generally, the corporate side of the organization provides the manpower, in¬telligence and compliance structure for the operation of the entire organization, while the business side of the organiza¬tion is effectively involved in creating the vision and strategic roadmap for infor¬mation dominance while developing, integrating and managing the programs and future capabilities that will meet the mandate for the organization as set forth by the CNO.

Further, the reorganization has specific implications for all members of the newly formed Information Dominance Corps. As previously stated, the IDC is a manage¬ment construct for those Navy military and civilian specialties that work in information-related career fields.

The vision of the IDC is to establish a focused corps integrated from across Navy's information-intensive fields — comprised of more than 44,000 Navy professionals. Individual communities and specialties will maintain their unique history and culture, but a new structure, illustrated in Figure 2, ensures synergy and collaboration.

During the summer of 2009, the Secretary of Defense directed the commander of U.S. Strategic Command to stand up a new sub-unified command focused on the integration of defense cyberspace operations. In response to that guidance, the CNO directed the establishment of FLTCYBERCOM/10th Fleet as the Naval Component Command for USCYBERCOM.

As such, FLTCYBERCOM has the responsibility to: • Serve as the central operational authority for networks, intelligence, cryptology/signals intelligence (SIGINT), information operations, cyber, electronic warfare, and space in support of forces afloat and ashore; • Operate a secure, interoperable naval network; coordinate Navy's operational requirements for intelligence, information operations, networks, cryptology/ SIGINT, and space capabilities; and, • Provide operational support to Navy commanders worldwide in the areas of cyber, information and computer network operations, electronic warfare and space.

The projected command and control relationships for FLTCYBERCOM are indicated above in Figure 3.

Undoubtedly, the U.S. Navy is undertaking a significant transformation to better position itself for the future operating environment. The goal of this effort is to achieve unprecedented agility and innovation in development and integration of information capabilities, to achieve Information Dominance over our current and future adversaries, and to provide decision superiority for our commanders, operational forces and coalition partners, at the time and place necessary for success in any future environment.

Accordingly, the N2/N6 has established some initial guiding principles as we begin this strategic endeavor. First principles include:
• Every platform is a sensor;
• Every sensor is networked;
• Every collector and sensor will be dynamically tasked and managed; and
• Every shooter must be capable of using target data derived from any sensor.

This is a very large undertaking, leveraging the knowledge and capabilities of a newly integrated and multi-disciplined staff. One month into the transition, it is already possible to foresee the impact of this new organization on the future of the Navy.

The energy and support dedicated to this effort presage significant changes for the way the Navy organizes to fight and win future conflicts across all spectrums of engagement and warfare.

I feel confident that this new, ground-breaking reorganization of the Navy staff, combined with the establishment of FLTCYBERCOM/10th Fleet and the Information Dominance Corps, will serve as the best solution to leverage and manage new information technologies within a construct that provides strategic decision superiority to Navy commanders working to ensure the defense and security of our great nation.

Jack N. Summe is a senior advisor for strategic engagement for OPNAV N2/N6 and a Defense Intelligence Senior Level (DISL) employee. DISLs are recognized leaders and authorities in a specialized field or functional area.

For more information about the U.S. Navy, go to the Navy news site at

Figure 1. Combining the Office of the Director of Naval Intelligence (N2) and the Office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (DCNO) for Communication Networks (N6), as well as other information-related elements from the N3 and N8 staffs, to achieve warfighting dominance and game-changing information capabilities, the new construct for the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance N2/N6 emerged as an integrated organization as represented in Figure 1.
Figure 2
Figure 3
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