The commander of Naval Information Forces (NAVIFOR) sees the future of the Navy’s Information Warfare (IW) community, now 10 years old, as more integrated in the fleet and broadly recognized as an integral part of Navy warfighting.
“Our IW ‘culture’ is emerging across all IW specialties; it will continue to mature in the upcoming decade. In 10 years, our capabilities will be fully mainstreamed in the fleet,” said Vice Adm. Brian Brown, NAVIFOR commander. “Our collective IW capabilities to assure command and control, provide predictive battlespace awareness, and deliver integrated IW fires will be integral to all plans and operations – not a ‘bolt-on’ capability after the fact.”
“Operational commanders from Fleet Cyber/10th Fleet, Office of Naval Intelligence, and Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, through the IW type command (TYCOM), will realign capability to meet the future challenges of the Great Power Competition,” he said. “IW is the glue that makes distributed maritime operations work.”
In 2009 then Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead emphasized that dominance in the information domain is a core warfighting capability, vital to sustaining the Navy’s competitive advantage for optimal command and control of forward-deployed, flexible, multi-mission forces.
As a result, Roughead brought together the N2/Intelligence and N6/Communications directorates on his staff with five separate communities – communications, intelligence, oceanography and meteorology, cryptology professionals, and the space cadre – to form the Information Dominance Directorate and the Information Dominance Corps (IDC).
Roughead established the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance (N2/N6), Fleet Cyber Command/10th Fleet, and Navy Cyber Forces. Since Roughead forged the new community, leadership has not looked back. Today, Brown said he foresees the Information Warfare Commander (IWC) concept being “fully established in the fleet Maritime Operations Centers (MOC) and Amphibious Readiness Groups (ARG) in addition to the Carrier Strike Groups (CSG).”
In 2014, five years after the establishment of the IDC, the Navy established the overall cyber TYCOM, Naval Information Dominance Forces (NAVIDFOR), which included meteorology and oceanography in addition to the cyber, communications and intelligence segments. In 2016, the word ‘dominance’ was dropped. Today the TYCOM for the IW community is known as Naval Information Forces.
“The change of IDC to Information Warfare (IW) community was more than just a name change,” Brown said. “It was a recognition of our community’s value in delivering battle-minded warfighters and capabilities to the high-end fight.”
In 2017, NAVIFOR established the Naval Information Warfighting Development Command and the Information Warfare Training Group in 2018. Earlier this year, the Naval Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) was rebranded the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command.
“We have come a long way in the past 10 years. Projections by senior leadership in 2009 on the future of the maritime fight and the stand-up of the IDC were prescient,” Brown said. “We have evolved from a corps of different communities aligned around resourcing to a community aligned around warfighting – deterring, competing, and winning when called upon.”
In recent years, the IW community has integrated itself more into Fleet operations:
- The Information Professional (IP) Afloat program has placed junior IP officers as communications division officers on destroyers and cruisers.
- The IWC program places a senior, board-screened IW O-6 as the warfare commander for Information Warfare on CSGs, equal to other traditional warfare commanders. The goal is to expand to ARGs over the next few years.
“Our organizational structure will no doubt look a little different, but will be poised to deliver more capability,” Brown said. “We have organized for success.”
NAVIFOR' s mission is to support operational commanders ashore and afloat by providing combat-ready Information Warfare forces, which are forward deployable, fully trained, properly manned and capably equipped.
For more information about NAVIFOR, visit the command's website at http://www.public.navy.mil/fltfor/navifor/Pages/Default2.aspx, Navy News webpage at http://www.navy.mil/local/navifor or Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NavalInformationForces.