SAN DIEGO (NNS) — The U.S. Navy information warfare (IW) pavilion concluded the three-day premier naval conference and exposition on the West Coast, WEST 2018, Feb. 8.
This year, the IW pavilion on the exhibition floor demonstrated the Navy's commitment to warfighting in the information age through the use of speakers, panels, subject matter experts and capability displays from organizations including the Office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare (OPNAV N2N6), Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. Tenth Fleet (FCC/C10F), Navy Information Forces Command (NAVIFOR), Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (PEO C4I) and others.
OPNAV N2N6 "leads" the IW community from Washington, D.C. and provides strategic guidance on information warfare. SPAWAR "acquires" the funding and personnel (scientists, engineers) to create new technologies and systems for experimentation and use in the fleet. NAVIFOR "prepares" IW-rated Sailors for fleet mission sets through schools and training opportunities. FCC/C10F conducts the cyber "fight" during Navy or joint missions in cyber/networks, cryptologic/signals intelligence and space.
Demonstrations within the IW pavilion spotlighted various systems and capabilities that enrich information warfighting, including mixed reality technology (virtual and augmented reality) that can be applied to military training, operations and prototyping. Additionally, multi-intelligence, network systems, tactical sensor management, military satellite communications, unmanned undersea vehicles, and the research and development of commercial cloud services were featured for military, government and industry members who visited.
Vice Adm. Jan Tighe, OPNAV N2N6, stressed that IW makes the U.S. Navy a more lethal and versatile force. In order to maintain this edge, the IW community must identify, train and retain the best and most effective cyber workforce.
"Information warfare presents new and complex challenges day to day," said Tighe. "As a Navy, we need to continue to modernize network architecture and capabilities, but also pay close attention to talent management. Our current cyber warriors in the fleet need to be trained and equipped to respond to high-end threats. The Navy's cyber resiliency depends on both modernized architecture and our ability to train and prepare our Sailors, Marines and civilians who are the first line of defense."
Rear Adm. Christian "Boris" Becker, SPAWAR, highlighted the strategic competition that exists in IW environment and how industry partners can assist with the innovation gap.
"Whether [the] battlefield is on the ground, whether the battlefield is at sea, in the air, in space, or on the network, we are facing strategic competition," said Becker. "What are we going to do — what are you going to do — to make sure we can face that competition, that we can compete and win?"
Aerographer's Mate 2nd Class Deserae Laczniak, assigned to Naval Oceanography Special Warfare Center, manned a booth in the IW pavilion, but also enjoyed exploring all the IW commands participating in WEST 2018.
"It was a lot of fun meeting new people and talking about my job in the Navy," said Laczniak. "Being able to see what everyone does in the information warfare community makes me excited for what's to come in the future. My favorite thing in the IW pavilion was the augmented reality gun. This type of technology has already been tested on some ships on the waterfront and it's really great, interactive training."
WEST 2018 marks the conference's 28th anniversary bringing sea service military and industry leaders together in a single locale to encourage discussion with personnel that design and build the technologies impacting the warfighter and the information warfare domain. The conference is co-sponsored by Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) International and the U.S. Naval Institute (USNI).
WEST 2019 will be held at the San Diego Convention Center, Feb. 13-15, 2019.