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CHIPS Articles: Interview with Rear Adm. Janice M. Hamby

Interview with Rear Adm. Janice M. Hamby
Director of Operations for Naval Network Warfare Command
By CHIPS Magazine - October-December 2007
Rear Adm. Janice M. Hamby, Director of Operations (N3) for Naval Network Warfare Command, was promoted to the rank of rear admiral June 1, 2007, at Naval Network Warfare Command headquarters, Norfolk, Va. In this position, Rear Adm. Hamby has responsibility in operational and technical direction of Navy network operations, information operations, signals intelligence and space operations in support of Navy and joint forces mission requirements.

NETWARCOM is the Navy's type commander for information operations, FORCEnet, networks and space. It is the central operational authority for providing ready information warfare forces, which are fully trained, properly manned, interoperable, well-maintained and supported within the Navy.

Hamby is in the Information Professional community with more than 27 years of service. Prior to reporting to NETWARCOM, Hamby served on the Chief of Naval Operations' staff as the FORCEnet Capabilities Assessment Head and FORCEnet Warfare Pillar Deputy. During this tour, Rear Adm. Hamby accepted a temporary assignment as the Director of Knowledge and Information Management on the staff of Multi-National Forces–Iraq, Baghdad, Iraq.

CHIPS spoke with Rear Adm. Hamby at NETWARCOM headquarters July 10, 2007.

CHIPS: It's astounding — the number of users on NETWARCOM networks — more than 700,000. Is security your biggest worry?

Rear Adm. Hamby: It may surprise you that security, in the more traditional sense of looking at network intrusions or viral infections, that kind of security, is not my biggest worry. It certainly is a very important concern for us, and we are working very diligently — not only to harden our network's defense — but to educate our people so that they can be better stewards of the network.

Because we are supporting so many users — and their mission sets are so diverse — my biggest concern is whether or not we are resourced and architected in the most effective manner, so the network is available and we are providing capability for warfighting missions.

Of course, security is a big aspect of that, but I really think that one of the things that we need to be doing as a Navy is drilling in on what we need to use the networks for and articulating that requirement such that it links to the warfighting missions, so we can gain the right level of resources to eliminate single points of failure, [and] to ensure we have the bandwidth capacity, not only meeting the highest priority mission, but that we are also covering lesser included missions, such as logistic missions, business missions, and quality of life missions that support our Sailors' ability to develop themselves whether they are at sea or ashore.

I am concerned about the amount of satellite communications capacity that we have to tie our networks together. I am concerned about our terrestrial paths and limitations that we have in terms of the sheer capacity of the bandwidth. I don't believe we are through the peak of demand on the network, and we are already seeing the capacity being stretched. So if we are going to meet our mission, the part of our mission that is providing the network piece of the information grid, then we need to look at capacity and reliability within the network itself, aside from that security consideration.

Security is a very real concern — but it won't matter much — if we are unable to accomplish our mission because we managed to achieve denial of service simply through the level of demand on the network outpacing its capacity.

CHIPS: Do you think the Navy is moving in the right direction in building the right infrastructure?

Rear Adm. Hamby: I think the Navy is moving in the right direction with things like CARS, Cyber Asset Reduction and Security, which is taking a hard look at how to collapse numerous networks into a more enterprise approach that not only will let us put in place some of those security features that make it more defensible, but also [will] let us manage the network in a more centralized manner.

This will let us capitalize on aggregating bandwidth and capitalize on having fewer people supporting more users as opposed to the model we have right now where there are so many legacy networks that they are creating their own bandwidth demands and requiring their own systems administrators, their own security administrator. This is where we have a lot of waste in the system. We could take those resources and apply them to making the architecture stronger and better for all users.

CHIPS: Can you talk more about what CARS will do?

Rear Adm. Hamby: CARS takes a look at what we are using Navywide, networks, the applications on them, the data stores that are associated with them, and figures out how we can consolidate and drive down the numbers of unique instantiations of networks or applications that we may have.

For instance, if you have three different locations that all need a logistics management system, they don’t need to each have their own unique version. That multiplies the amount of maintenance and husbandry that those systems need, and we can’t afford to do that. So my biggest concern is resource availability and that is the capacity of the network, but it’s also resources to keep the networks refreshed and up-to-date and to invest in our security posture.

CHIPS: Hasn’t the Navy reduced its number of networks a great deal already?

Rear Adm. Hamby: Yes, we have. If you go back 12 to 15 years, at that point, the only networks in the Navy were almost always homegrown. Commands that had ‘gray’ money available, left over O&M,N money (Operations and Maintenance, Navy appropriated funds) at the end of the year, or if they had some experience with working on the Internet and knew this capability would be a benefit to their command, they figured out a way to cobble something together.

We had commands that were getting their service from Internet service providers like Comcast or — that was very common. So what we have been able to do is eliminate a lot of that kind of freelancing, I’ll call it. And we have gotten these people to move onto Navy managed networks.

Many of those networks are still geographically specific networks that were put together by an echelon II resource. For example, the Navy Installations Command put together its own network; Naval Medicine put together its own network. So if you go to any location geographically, you can find five, six, seven different versions of NIPRNET, except in the continental United States where NMCI was mandated for every one, although there are few notable exceptions because they were allowed to opt out and in a few locations overseas where One-Net has been fully migrated. For instance, Bahrain — all of the commands in Bahrain are on One-Net.

In other regions where we’ve been trying to roll out One-Net, in most places it’s a partial implementation, and so you still have other legacy networks along with it.

The short answer to your questions is we have made progress. We won’t really see the resource savings and the opportunity to redirect those resources elsewhere until we are able to achieve much closer to 100 percent implementation.

CHIPS: You indicated a level of user frustration with Navy networks, especially when most users have devices at home that are so much faster. To a lot of users the Navy network environment is restrictive. For example, the Defense Department has blocked access to some social networking sites. At first when I read that I thought ‘What are you doing on social networks at work?’ But then I talked with some of the young Sailors in the public affairs community and I was astonished at how much they use these sites for legitimate work purposes and had to rethink that.

Rear Adm. Hamby: The Millennium Generation grew up using technologies and multitasking; they are so much more ready to work in a connected, self-synchronizing environment. And really that’s actually where the Navy is trying to push things, like the Maritime Headquarters with Maritime Operations Center (MHQ/MOC) concept. It’s really all about being connected with other operational groups so that you can very seamlessly shift and apply resources where they are needed; back each other up through reachback capability and adjust your own mission operations.

These young Sailors are exactly what we need for our future. We have to balance a desire to let them continue operating in the same mode they were using before they came into the Navy with the need to protect the systems — both the availability of the systems — and the security of the information on the systems.

It produces a dilemma for us. I’ll tell you that some of the sites we closed down had known instances of malicious software embedded in the links, so they are a very real security risk. It was also documented and analyzed to show that the bandwidth consumption with those sites was enormous. I don’t have the statistics directly in front of me, but they also matched up with the working hours of the continental United States. Yes, Sailors do some work on those sites, but there is a lot of activity going on that is more of the social nature.

The level of bandwidth consumption was beyond what you’d expect to see from people who were using coffee breaks or lunch hour to go out and surf the Web. So there’s a personal ethics and productivity issue there.

From the perspective of bandwidth consumption, if we didn’t block those sites we needed to procure more bandwidth to make the non-Internet applications functional, and we don’t have the resources to do that. We’ve stuck the finger in the dike, but what are we going to do about the flood? And in this case, the flood is: What are we going to do to provide an architecture that makes it possible for young Sailors to operate like they were used to at home? There are some initiatives underway to try and address that.

The Defense Knowledge Online capability delivers many of the same functions that you would find on YouTube or some of the other social network sites that were blocked. It’s not ready for prime time yet. It’s coming along, and it’s definitely focused on trying to fill some of the needs that young Sailors want to be able to use.

There are also official business activities for which some segments of our Navy need to have access to those sites. For instance the public affairs guys you mentioned. Very powerful in terms of a recruiting tool that can help depict what the Navy is really like. There are some great videos out there that do a great job of representing the Navy and our ethos, and I would not want to shut that down. So we need to figure out how to create the opening for Navy to publish its own video to YouTube and similar sites for our own purposes.

Right now, anyone can go home at night and use their own computer to access those sites, and we certainly don’t want to create any impression that we are trying to dissuade people from doing that at all. In fact, I do it myself.

CHIPS: One of the Sailors that I talked with said that he was in four or five different chat rooms almost every day working on his homework with other college students. I asked him if he could do the same thing on Navy Knowledge Online with instant messaging or to find people to help him with homework. He said no, it’s just not the same.

Rear Adm. Hamby: You know, NKO does have some of those features, but it doesn’t have the same look or feel. It’s not as glitzy; it’s not as fast. Part of that is the security defenses that were built in, and they do slow things down. So we also have to educate our users so that they don’t expect that same level of responsiveness from a well-shielded machine as they would from a machine that is exposed.

Part of that education has to be why it’s more important to shield that machine and why that tradeoff between responsiveness and speed and security needs to be struck. These young Sailors are smart. If you take the time to explain to them, they’re willing to accept that kind of drop in responsiveness.

CHIPS: Can you talk about your role as director of operations?

Rear Adm. Hamby: My role at NETWARCOM very roughly equates to the role that the commander of Naval Network and Space Operations Command had. The commander of NNSOC had direct reporting authority over all of our network commands, the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Stations and the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Stations, and now NSOC, the Naval Space Operations Command, and a couple of other smaller assets.

I still have operational control over those commands, but I don’t have the same authorities for many of their other issues: budget, manning and those kinds of things. Now that’s a double-edged sword. It’s an opportunity for those pieces to be incorporated into the headquarters staff [responsibilities] and managed for me.

It frees me up from being concerned with those things. It opens the door for me to focus in on how we can transform our operations so that we are delivering a more solid network to the warfighters.

It also created the opportunity for merging in other forms of information operations. So when the Naval Security Group (NSG) Activity came into the NETWARCOM domain, the operations of our Navy Information Operations Commands and Fleet Information Operations Centers also got pulled in.

So while I lost some of my span of control, it was expanded by including the influence operations aspects that we do through the NIOCs, the signals intelligence that we do through the NIOCs, and the support that we provide to the National Security Agency for cryptologic operations. So there’s more than enough on my plate in terms of actually focusing on our operational commitments and not being as consumed by what I might call administrative and support functions. To me, that was a very good opportunity; that was a good move.

It did bring a lot of churn and turmoil to the organization. That was a big shift, not only the movement of NNSOC, but the movement of NSG into NETWARCOM. We’re coming out of some of that turbulence, and I have to give Vice Admiral McArthur [former NETWARCOM commander] a lot of credit for having led us through that because through that whole process he kept a vision in front of everyone that talked about the synergies that could be created when you had network operations, space operations and information operations brought together.

With the change of command (June 15), we now have Admiral (Vice Adm. H. Denby) Starling who brings expertise in how a type commander can function to really deliver readiness to a fleet. We have our NETOps, IO and space platforms that are our commands that deliver those services. He is going to be looking very hard at delivering the right readiness from those platforms to ensure that the Navy can accomplish its mission.

I would also add that it’s my responsibility to make sure that we’ve also got the processes in place, the information exchanges in place to make sure they can do their jobs.

CHIPS: I talked to Caroline Carobine, the deputy for knowledge management at NETWARCOM, about the KM team’s ongoing work to bring NETWARCOM together as one community since its field activities are geographically dispersed. Their vision is exciting.

Rear Adm. Hamby: What we’re trying to do, in terms of knowledge management in N3, is develop an ability to make information about our domain available to whomever might need it and to go one step further and push it to those whom we believe need it. We’re reworking our portal to make available, to anyone who’s interested, or anyone who requires it, information about the status of our network operations, space operations or information operations.

If we have an issue that develops, I want the capability that when we publish that description of what’s going on, it will automatically send an e-mail alert to that set of users to whom we feel it’s relevant.

We have to think through the business rules on how we’re going to do this; we need to do a lot of outreach and engagement so that we can get people to understand what we’re trying to do.

CHIPS: You were in Baghdad last year as the director of knowledge and information management on the staff of Multi-National Forces –Iraq. Any thoughts about technologies used in the battlespace or what is needed?

Rear Adm. Hamby: What I did discover in Baghdad is that we really have not figured out how to share information, how to focus in on what is the key information that is needed for a commander’s decision, for an individual’s decision. I think our biggest problem that we have to solve in the coming decade, and probably a lot sooner than that, is how to deal with this information overload.

The problem is not connectivity. It was more of a problem to be in the staff headquarters where you were snowed with information to the point where the important information couldn’t pop out for you. I shifted our focus to what we called operational knowledge management. There had been a lot of little edge and going after peripheral functions. What they didn’t focus on was really the essential question of what is the key information required by the commander on the battlefield and the commander at MNF-I in order to make the best decision.

As a result we ended up having stove-piped sets of information that you would have to sift through to try and come up with the information. That drives a need for a much larger staff; it drives a need for lot longer days for the commander himself. We didn’t get that problem solved while I was there, but we did achieve a shift in focus and had started to make real progress.

CHIPS: Can you talk about NETWARCOM’s role in the NNFE?

Rear Adm. Hamby: I am probably not the best person to answer that question because one of the nice things about the N3 side of the house is that I get to focus on operations, and the Naval NETWAR FORCEnet Enterprise is more about the type commander roles and relationships.

I do have a relationship with the NNFE because if it doesn’t function well then I don’t have the readiness I need to deliver on my mission set. The other thing that I would say about the NNFE is that it is maturing. It’s only in its second year of existence, and I think that’s another area where Admiral Starling is going to bring a lot to the command because at AIRLANT he was part of the Naval Aviation Enterprise — a far more mature enterprise.

CHIPS: Does NETWARCOM have Space Cadre members?

Rear Adm. Hamby: Yes, we do, absolutely. I’m one of them. In our MOC we have four cells that focus on specific disciplines, if you will, one is network operations, one is network defense, one is space, and one is information operations, and they are brought together by our battlewatch who is responsible for pulling threads from each of these areas to see how they are working well together, or if there is a problem developing, how they can be resolved.

Every member of the space cell is a member of the Space Cadre. They not only help maintain an understanding of the health of our satellite constellations on which the other pieces rely, but they are also responsible for supporting our afloat and ashore commanders, combatant commanders — Marines and Navy — for making use of space capabilities, whether it’s surveillance, weather satellites — any of our overhead assets — however they can be employed to the advantage of our forces in the field. They will put together products that can be shipped out to those forces so that they can plan operations based on those results, and they keep me up to speed when we’re seeing any issues with any of our satellites. We have a lot of Space Cadre members here.

The Space Cadre also represents the Navy in a lot of the forums for developing what our space requirements are for the whole military.

CHIPS: I‘ve read about the advantages of space operations.

Rear Adm. Hamby: Yes, precision navigation and timing, joint communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. There are many advantages. We’ve only just really begun to scratch the surface and the Space Cadre is helping the Navy understand the importance of space in everything we do in the Navy — both during peacetime and when we are at war.

CHIPS: Is there anything else you want to talk about?

Rear Adm. Hamby: A lot of our discussion here really talked about computer networks. One of the things that is important for all of Navy to understand better is that NETWARCOM is not just about networks. NETWARCOM, and especially in the N3, we are about finding the synergy among the network transport; the applications; the data; the ability to defend and protect those networks and the data; the ability to use space; and the ability to conduct information operations and signals intelligence. All this is in order to affect the most important network — the cognitive network — and the commanders ability to make decisions — which translates into action and our ability to maintain maritime security and influence positive behaviors in the world.

I don’t want people to think of the N3 at NETWARCOM as the people who run the networks — unless they think of ALL the networks — the social networks, the information networks, the cognitive networks, the electronic attack network, the network defense networks — not just the telecommunications infrastructure.


Total Workforce – 14,960
• Active military – 10,079
• Reserve military – 1,507
• Civilians – 2,008 • Contractors – 1,366

NETWARCOM’s Global Mission
Naval Network Warfare Command creates warfighting and business options for the fleet to fight and win in the information age. We deliver and operate a reliable, secure and battle-ready network. We lead the development, integration and execution of information operations effect for the fleet.
Rear Adm. Janice M. Hamby
Rear Adm. Janice Hamby in the Maritime Operations Center with battlewatch captain Lt. Cmdr. Jason Babcock July 10, 2007. The battlewatch monitors all aspects of network operations, network defense, space, and information operations.
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