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CHIPS Articles: Navy’s Newest Science, Technology & Reinvention Laboratory Vastly Expands RDT&E Network Capacity

Navy’s Newest Science, Technology & Reinvention Laboratory Vastly Expands RDT&E Network Capacity
By Jeffrey Hussey, NAVFAC EXWC Acting Command Information Officer, and Sarah G. MacMillan, NAVFAC EXWC Deputy Public Affairs Officer - January-March 2021
Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center (NAVFAC EXWC) Command Information Office (IO) is supporting the command’s research, development, testing and evaluation (RDT&E) mission for the Department of the Navy (DON) by expanding the RDT&E network connectivity infrastructure during fiscal year 2021.

In calendar year 2020, the Department of Defense (DoD), including the DON, rolled out the Commercial Virtual Remote Environment (CVR)—a temporary collaborative environment for DoD employees to use as they teleworked. DoD teleworkers valiantly continued the mission without being confined to a brick-and-mortar structure due to the novel coronavirus.

As remote work continues across the DoD, the expansion of the RDT&E network connectivity made it possible for NAVFAC EXWC’s ocean, shore, and expeditionary labs to have access to the Joint Information Operations Range, allowing NAVFAC EXWC professionals to participate in virtual test events with other national test assets, and expand access to the Defense Research and Engineering Network (DREN).

The DoD Locks Program, located at NAVFAC EXWC in Port Hueneme, was one of the first labs to profit from the expansion of network connectivity across the command. For over a year, the DoD Locks Program Lab lost network capability due to an expiration of an Authority to Operate for a vital computer network NAVFAC EXWC professionals were previously able to access. NAVFAC EXWC coordinated with Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific to provide transport — a network layer responsible for end-to-end communication — that ran over the newly expanded network connectivity infrastructure.

The expansion of the network connectivity infrastructure also has benefited NAVFAC EXWC’s Control Systems Test Bed (CSTB). The CSTB is a test environment, within NAVFAC EXWC, that offers cyber analysis, integration, deployment, and sustainment of control systems and operational technology infrastructure. The CSTB’s mission is to provide testing capabilities for the DON, DoD counterpart agencies, and third-party private organizations to confirm the validity of their systems prior to being deployed in the field. The new infrastructure gives CTSB the capability to enhance its participation in interagency cybersecurity exercises and scenarios, as well as conduct testing with remote control systems.

“The expansion of connectivity will ensure the command is ready for future collaborative efforts in all of our NBVC facilities,” said Jeffrey Hussey, NAVFAC EXWC Acting Command Information Officer. “Our scientists and engineers will be able to utilize the resources available over [the] DREN and joint information operations range no matter what building they sit in, but it will also ensure the command has the access it needs to fully participate in the Navy research and development establishment.”

With the ability to expand the various networks around NAVFAC EXWC facilities at Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC), NAVFAC EXWC’s Command IO is enhancing the command’s most integral capabilities to collaborate, test, and engineer solutions in a joint environment, providing ready access to resources that were previously unavailable.

The Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center (NAVFAC EXWC) was established in 2012. We are a command of more than 1,300 dedicated men and women who are experts in facilities engineering, technology solutions, and life-cycle management of expeditionary equipment for the Navy, Marine Corps, federal agencies, and other Department of Defense supported commands.

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