SAS 2018, held April 9-11 at the Gaylord National Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, brought together the defense industrial base, private-sector companies and key military decision-makers for an innovative and educational maritime-based event.
During the exposition there was increased interest in the IW Pavilion, where leading IW commands demonstrated the most recent efforts to advance information technology within the fleet through the use of speakers, panels, subject matter experts and capability displays.
Vice Adm. Jan Tighe, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare (OPNAV N2N6) kicked off the 2018 SAS IW Pavilion.
“The Chief of Naval Operations is focused on building and maintaining the Navy the nation needs,” said Tighe. “He calls for a bigger fleet, a better fleet, a networked fleet, a more talented fleet, an agile fleet and a ready fleet. The Information Warfare community, through many of the systems, initiatives and capabilities that we will talk about and display at Sea-Air-Space, plays a big role in building the Navy the nation needs. Our partnerships with industry are crucial to this process.”
In addition to Tighe, the IW Pavilion hosted a number of speakers all of whom had one theme in common: the Navy’s commitment to rapidly increasing naval power in today’s information age.
“We need to approach our mission with a sense of urgency,” said Rear Adm. Christian Becker, commander, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command. “To be able to compete and win, that is the Navy that we are building, the Navy that will fight and win on the information edge that we deliver. Every day matters, every dollar matters, every person matters.”
Echoing the importance of speed, Rear Adm. Carl Chebi, Program Executive Officer (PEO) for Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence and PEO Space Systems, said “From a goal perspective it’s very simple, deliver threat based warfighting capability to enable the fleet to compete, deter, and win today… there is a speed aspect here: we need to deliver today, not deliver in 10-15 years.”
Stressing the importance of acting now, rather than later during the great power competition of information warfare, Rear Adm. Danelle Barrett, Navy Cyber Security Director and Department of Navy Deputy Chief Information Officer, talked about how technological advancement can be both an opportunity and a challenge.
“The urgency is about exponentially accelerating and converging technology that we can leverage as a warfighting advantage, a warfighting opportunity, but also we need to ensure that we deny our adversary of the same advantage, the same opportunity,” said Barrett.
In addition to experienced and informative speakers, the IW Pavilion hosted a number of capability displays to further demonstrate the critical teamwork taking place between IW commands to protect our fleet and our country.
One of the most interesting exhibits, drawing attendees from all areas of SAS, was the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Service Academy Swarm Challenge, a large-scale, live-fly competition aimed at demonstrating technology innovation with a focus on warfighter use of integrated multi-unmanned systems operations, capabilities and applications using commercial-off-the-shelf components.
“For the last two years we have focused a lot on the swarming aspect of drones, and are now trying to see how a single operator can operate multiple unmanned aerial vehicles simultaneously and what sort of strategic benefits that can bring the warfighter versus the standard one person per asset model,” said Brad Knaus, a SPAWAR Systems Center Atlantic unmanned systems expert.
The systems center also showcased a number of other cutting-edge technologies, such as data science and analytics technology, including Project Inquisitor, Elastic Knowledge, Troll and Robot Analysis using Common Enemy Relations, and others.
Also attracting a lot of attention in the IW Pavilion was the Littoral Battlespace Sensing Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) display, funded by the Chief of Naval Operations, Naval Intelligence and Communications, Oceanography (N2/N6E) and managed by the Battlespace Awareness and Information Operations Program Office.
“There is a lot of value in being part of an event like this,” said Aviation Aerographer’s Mate 2nd Class Jake Simmons, a survey technician for the Fleet Survey Team. “It gives us the opportunity to work alongside other IW commands and demonstrate all that encompasses Information Warfare. For example, when people think of Information Warfare, they do not usually think of oceanography and UUVs. Instead they think of computer and communications systems and technologies. We are here to showcase how UUVs play an important part in Information Warfare.”
Additionally, the leading IW commands demonstrated a number of warfighting capabilities, innovative technologies and informative displays including: the Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services; the Intelligence Carry on Program; the Maritime Tactical Command and Control project, the Mobile User Objective System nanosatellites, small business display and much more.
“This is our line of business, taking the capabilities that come from platforms below, on, and above the surface and outside the atmosphere and bringing them together to make warfighting systems so that we can observe, orient, decide and act faster than our adversaries,” said Becker. “That is what allows us to compete and win.”
In today’s ever evolving technological environment the IW community is working together and using events like SAS to lead, acquire, prepare and fight to secure the information domain, providing warfighting solutions the Navy needs now and into the future.
Hosted by the Navy League of the United States, the SAS Exposition is now the largest maritime exposition in the United States and continues as an invaluable extension of the Navy League's mission of maritime policy, education and sea service support.
For more news from Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/spawar/.