As the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) makes progress in its refueling complex overhaul (RCOH), many Sailors contribute to the ship’s technological advances and upgrades.
Information systems technicians (IT) from George Washington’s combat systems department are in the process of building the fleet’s newest and most advanced Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) that is slated to be installed aboard the ship as early as April 2019.
CANES is a shipboard tactical network that provides ships with services including improved information assurance, firewall and intrusion detection, and greater flexibility. It will enable an adaptable information technology platform to meet requirements for current operating systems and easy upgrades when they become available.
“CANES is the way of the future,” said Chief Warrant Officer Sean Godown, the CANES division officer aboard George Washington. “I like the unique opportunity we’ve been given right now with [Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center] Atlantic where [George Washington] gets to send some of the best and brightest our Navy has to offer over to the CANES lab. Our folks are dedicated, and have been since they came here in August. The opportunity they have here is unique. Nothing they’ve learned is taught in any schoolhouse or any Navy Knowledge Online course.”
CANES replaces and combines the functions of five legacy command, control, communications, computer, and intelligence (C4I) systems with a single integrated software-based platform. The CANES platform combines systems such as the Integrated Shipboard Network System (ISNS), Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) Networks, and Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System Maritime (CENTRIXS-M).
Although it is a lot of technical and difficult work, Sailors working on the team are able to gain valuable experience working in their rate, something that some Sailors in RCOH may not get the chance to do.
“My favorite part is really getting hands-on experience,” said Information Systems Technician Seaman Jacob Grella, a member of the CANES division. “It makes me feel like I’m utilizing a lot of my training from my rate. Sometimes on the ship you don’t really get the best understanding of what it’s really like, but setting up an entire network really makes me feel like a real IT.”
While gaining in-rate knowledge, the Sailors on the CANES team will also become the CANES subject matter experts on George Washington. Due to their training and installation experience, they will have the tools necessary to maintain the CANES network, and will be able to troubleshoot and repair as necessary.
“The level of involvement for George Washington has not been seen across other platforms,” said Godown. “We really took the time with this because we want to take ownership of our system. It’s very important to us that we know the intricacies of the system. When problems do arise, we will have first-hand knowledge of how to start troubleshooting from a critical standpoint.”
According to SPAWAR, CANES will take advantage of the new business model of open architecture, Service Oriented Architecture, and rapid commercial off-the-ship insertion to bring fiscal savings to the Navy and operational agility to the warfighter.
“The use of COTS enables the military to leverage technological advances, cost-savings, and quick procurement to meet the demands of today’s warfighters,” said Godown.
The first CANES installation took place aboard the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85) in November 2013. The CANES program is scheduled to be installed on more than 190 ships, submarines, and maritime operation centers by 2023.