Technology today allows smartphone users to almost instantaneously download applications for everything such as reserving a table at a restaurant, playing the latest hits for a party or getting a ride home via a ride share company. Users don’t have to think about it beforehand; given the right connectivity, people can get a capability downloaded to their phones within a few minutes and then use it right away.
With that model in mind, the Navy’s Tactical Networks Program Office (PMW 160) has begun piloting application development and integration in the cloud to accelerate the delivery of warfighting capability to the fleet. This change in how the Navy facilitates integration is crucial in achieving the Navy’s vision of Compile to Combat in 24 hours (C2C24). The goal of these efforts is to provide a development and test environment for all applications that are hosted on Consolidated Afloat Network and Enterprise Services (CANES) — the Navy’s premier afloat information technology network — and to transform the integration and testing processes for the command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) network.
This advancement to put capability “in the cloud” is about more than a popular tech buzzword. The move will improve the delivery of critical services to the fleet, providing access to network services earlier and giving application developers a means to deliver capability to Information Warfare Sailors more efficiently and effectively.
PMW 160 is working with eight program-of-record (POR) applications hosted in a cloud environment to pilot integration and testing processes with CANES. The program office expects these pilots to continue into 2019 and anticipates being ready to conduct wider application integration efforts in early-to-mid 2019. This cloud environment is a critical component of the Collaborative Staging Environment (CSE)—a key enabler of building out the Tactical Networks DevOps pipeline and part of the larger DevOps effort to improve the delivery speed and quality of CANES/Agile Core Systems (ACS) for the warfighter. (Learn more at “PEO C4I Streamlines Afloat Capability Delivery with DevOps Model.”)
As an integral capability provider within Program Executive Office C4I, PMW 160 is charged with providing a scalable infrastructure along with wide area network (WAN)/local area network (LAN) systems and processes for hosted applications and connected systems in support of Navy operations at sea.
“The CANES/ACS team is here as a service provider for warfighter applications,” said Emily Nguyen, ACS assistant program manager and the lead architect for the PMW’s DevOps initiative. “The cloud is another platform for these applications to develop and integrate in an operationally relevant environment early on, enabling enable speed to capability.”
In March, PMW 160 conducted a live “CANES Services in the Cloud” demonstration for application providers. The demonstration showed accessibility to CANES and ACS hosted in an Amazon Web Service (AWS) GovCloud Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). This provides application developers with an early look at the CANES network to reduce the testing time associated with the current Application Integration System Integration Test (AI SIT) process, to increase application interoperability and ultimately to improve the overall reliability of the C4I system and hosted applications.
In addition to enabling earlier application integration, this same environment will be used as a platform for CANES development engineers, on which they will transform cybersecurity and drive more automation into the build, configuration, test and deployment of CANES/ACS. Ultimately, this will drastically reduce the burden on the shipboard system administrators by reducing manual steps, minimizing ship-by-ship network uniqueness and simplifying maintenance procedures.
Establishing a CANES development environment that leverages the cloud’s elastic compute resources provides an economical and on-demand way to offer CANES hosting services. This will make CANES and application development more cost and schedule efficient, making the best use of tax payer dollars while transitioning capabilities to the warfighter faster.
“We’re focusing not only on enhancing our ability to design networks faster and implement new technologies more rapidly, but also on our ability to improve cyber resiliency, Sailor self-sufficiency and in-service support,” said Capt. Kurt Rothenhaus, program manager, PMW 160. “We’re working to ensure our Sailors and support personnel can continue to administer and manage a complex and dynamic system."