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CHIPS Articles: NETWARCOM Stands Up

By CHIPS Magazine - July-September 2002
Recently, CHIPS had the pleasure of interviewing Captain Robert N. Whitkop , Commander, Naval Network Operations Command (NNOC) at TechNet on June 12, 2002, regarding the stand up of the Naval Network Warfare Command scheduled for July 11, 2002. The new command will be headquartered at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek in Norfolk, Va., headed by Vice Adm. Richard W. Mayo. Several commands will be under the authority of the commander of NETWARCOM: Naval Network and Space Operations Command (NNSOC) in Dahlgren, Va.; Fleet Information Warfare Center (FIWC) in Norfolk, Va.; and Navy Component Task Force Computer Network Defense (NCTF CND) in Washington, D.C. NNSOC will be established coincident with NETWARCOM, through the merger of the existing Naval Space Command and the Naval Network Operations Command.

The NNOC was established July 9, 2001 by merging Commander, Naval Computer and Telecommunications Command (COMNAVCOMTELCOM) and Commander Task Force Navy Marine Corps Intranet (CTF NMCI). NNOC's mission is to operate and maintain the Department of the Navy's global information technology systems and services, through assigned worldwide telecommunications activities and related contracts, which directly support the command and control of Naval forces. The NNOC is responsible for operation and management of the DON's voice, video and data networks. The NNOC will be disestablished prior to the establishment of NETWARCOM. Capt. Whitkop is a former Commanding Officer of NCTAMS LANT, CHIPS' former publisher and the new N6 for NETWARCOM. We asked Capt. Whitkop to share some thoughts on the stand up.

CHIPS: Top Navy leadership has said that establishing NETWARCOM is an important step in network-centric warfare.

Capt. Whitkop: Yes, it is. It is important to align all the functions of managing the Navy networks under the appropriate responsible organizations. The decision to set up NETWARCOM and realign functions is the result of a two-year study. NETWARCOM will function like a Type Commander—business processes are best handled at a TYCOM level. My staff worked very closely with the Naval Space Command and the NETWARCOM Pre-Commissioning staff to determine how to divide NNOC responsibilities. The Naval Network and Space Operations Command (NNSOC) will assume about 75 percent of the operational functions. NETWARCOM will provide long-range planning. It will consider the emergence of IT requirements and the convergence of the IA/IO [Information Assurance/Information Operations] architectures.

CHIPS: Top military leaders have said that the next important battleground will be our networks.

Capt. Whitkop: We are already fighting battles on our networks. With our increased capabilities come increasingly determined attacks on our infrastructures. We have seen this on our commercial networks—banking systems and the NASDAQ. It has been stated that Osama bin laden intends to bring down our economic infrastructure and he did this to some degree with the 9/11 attacks—not only with the tragic loss of life, but a strategic blow to the economy with an attack on physical infrastructure and our national spirit. That is why it is so important to protect information networks and deny access to our adversaries. Our CNO and Vice Chief have been the greatest advocates of this concept. In a recent CNO message, our top Navy leadership stated the Navy's focus on IA/IO. This is what NETWARCOM is all about.

CHIPS: Which Navy networks will be under NETWARCOM?

Capt. Whitkop: Eventually all Navy networks will be under the auspices of NETWARCOM for establishing policy and standards, and to ensure commonality not only on IP networks, but the tactical data links—TADILS for Joint and Coalition connectivity. NCTAMS infrastructures globally have been key with upgrading the backbone to increase bandwidth for moving the data in the various databases making up these networks.

CHIPS: Will we ever have enough bandwidth to satisfy our requirements?

Capt. Whitkop: This is a yes and no answer. We can always expand the bandwidth available, but we must prioritize bandwidth needs in accordance with the warfighter's requirements. There has to be a way to manage this effectively. I can install a huge pipeline with incredible capability, but it would be full by next week—that is why it is so important to allocate these resources wisely. There is data that I must have right now—real-time and some data that I can wait for—non real-time and defining these requirements, and allocating the bandwidth to these needs is the key. We are finding new ways every day to improve efficiencies and realize speed-to-capability--delivering the right technology to the Fleet quickly. As far as future capability of the infrastructure we are putting in place; we really don't know the full potential of fiber optics yet.

CHIPS: How many military billets will NETWARCOM have?

Capt. Whitkop: We will have approximately 45 billets—8 enlisted and 37 officers. We will also have about 15 civil service employees and contractor support as needed. We will leverage the talents that are resident in all subordinate commands in order to meet the needs of the Fleet.

CHIPS: What exactly will NETWARCOM do?

Capt. Whitkop: NETWARCOM will have the global view of the networks for operations, policies, standards, requirements, installations, etc. This will include all Navy networks. It is important for these requirements to be vetted so that claimants do not unintentionally develop stove-piped systems. Staffing will be the key to making this work.

CHIPS: Who will have responsibility for the NMCI?

Capt. Whitkop: The NNSOC headed by Rear Adm. John P. Cryer, III, Commander, Naval Space Command will be responsible for NMCI and space capabilities. This includes the NMCI GNOCs and NOCs operations and administration. NETWARCOM will be responsible for policy and POM requirements for the NMCI. By the end of June 2002, 20,000 seats will be connected to the NMCI.

CHIPS: What will happen to NCTAMS LANT and their mission, including Naval messaging?

Capt. Whitkop: NCTAMS LANT will report to NNSOC. Naval messaging will fall under the NNSOC.

CHIPS: Rear Adm. Slaght, COMSPAWAR is ADDU to Vice Adm. Mayo for matters related to Fleet support and execution-year requirements. Are there any other ADDU relationships?

Capt. Whitkop: Rear Adm. Joseph D. Burns, Commander, Naval Security Group Command [NAVSECGRU] is also ADDU as Director of Information Operations. Exploiting these ADDU relationships will provide the mechanism for IA/IO synergy. Vice Adm. Mayo is the perfect choice for heading NETWARCOM as the Director, Space, Information Warfare, Command and Control (N6), former Commanding Officer of NCTAMS Eastern Pacific, and surface line officer, he is a warfighter who will bring all the elements of the single Naval network together. NETWARCOM will be the central operational authority responsible for coordinating all information technology, information operations, and space requirements and operations within the Navy. You will have to come visit. It is going to be very exciting to be part of this transformation.

Captain Robert N. Whitkop
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