Navy Warfare Development Command links tomorrow’s ideas to today’s warfighter through rapid generation and development of innovative solutions to operational challenges. NWDC’s unique
synergies and capabilities help move the fleet forward through the 21st century. NWDC is home to the Navy Center for Advanced Modeling and Simulation, a 10,000 square-foot, state-of-theart
modeling and simulation facility which supports the Navy Continuous Training Environment, experimentation, and concept generation and concept development.
As the Navy's executive agent for concept development and generation, NWDC harvests concept proposals and innovative ideas and hosts the Navy Center for Innovation. Rear Adm. Kraft talked about the NWDC mission and fleet innovation in mid-March.
Q: Since you assumed command of NWDC in October 2011, the command has taken on increased responsibilities in the areas of concept development and experimentation and support of innovation
in the Navy. Can you talk about these changes?
A.I really appreciate the opportunity to talk about Navy Warfare Development
Command. We have been going through a lot of changes over the past 15 months, and it is exciting to talk about some of the things we are involved in right now.
Concept development and fleet experimentation used to be split between NWDC and our parent command, Fleet Forces Command. Early last year, we absorbed the concept and experimentation
teams at Fleet Forces and are really driving both concept generation and fleet experimentation now at NWDC. What this gives us is a 'virtuous cycle' of concept generation and experimentation and then turning that into tactical memoranda and eventually doctrine. We call that our cycle of life here — spanning from concept generation to experimentation and war gaming and into doctrine. These things are right in our wheelhouse, allowing us to deliver what Adm. Gortney and the CNO are looking for in fleet innovation.
Q: Adm. William Gortney, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces, approved the FY 13 Fleet Experimentation execution plan in fall 2012. Can you talk about the experiments that NWDC and NCAMS will be hosting?
A. Fleet experimentation, or FLEX as we call it, includes 12 different campaigns and up to 30 experiments in a single campaign, including Trident Warrior 2013 which is a large experimentation event. We are also hosting a war game which will look at how a MEU (Marine Expeditionary Unit) is going to fit and operate in the new ARG (amphibious ready group) which will obviously include the new LHA-6 (amphibious assault ship USS America), LPD-17 (amphibious transport dock USS San Antonio), the V-22 (Osprey) and the F-35B aircraft.
Another war game looks at the integration of both manned and unmanned systems in mine warfare and how to conduct force protection for some of these unmanned systems if you decide
they are important enough to protect.
NCAMS hosts or enables about 330 training events a year, including Fleet Synthetic Training events. These fall under the Navy Continuous Training Environment or NCTE network. So you
can think of us as a master node that isable to push synthetic training out to the fleet. If you look to the future, delivering synthetic training to ships, not just ships that are pierside or simulators for
aviation, but getting training to ships underway is going to be the next step in the process as we look at compressed local schedules. Ships may or may not get as much underway time, at least in
the near future, so that puts pressure on our ability to do synthetic training and that’s where NWDC comes in.
Q: With the Navy’s current budget shortfall in maintenance accounts, will that have any
bearing in the experimentation and synthetic training at NWDC?
A.The main impact of maintenance is that the ship is unavailable to do the kind of tactical training that you may want to do. Maintenance is a requirement and how you build in all the other things you want to do around that maintenance piece is where Fleet Synthetic Training
comes in. You know you are going to have to maintain the ship, what do you do with the rest of the time around the maintenance period?
Q: Can you explain what the Carrier Strike Group (CSG) Advanced Tactics Initiative is?
A. We call it CATI. CATI integrates rapid development of CSG training and
tactics with fleet-identified capability gaps, tactical level doctrine and training solutions for the CSG. This really came about when I came into this job. When I was commander of the Enterprise
Carrier Strike Group, I didn’t feel we had a good system to really push high-end advanced tactics, as well as our newer capabilities that were coming down the line, to our CSG commanders and make them aware of them.
So we are now an intermediate stop before prospective CSG commanders go
to their next command. We fill their heads, if you will, with these advanced tactics that are available to them as they prepare their strike group for deployment. We also make them aware
of the last five years’ worth of carrier strike group debriefs to pass on tactics and best practices from one CSG to the next.
We have also built a war game called CSG 360° that is rolling out now. CSG 360° takes all these things that we have been talking about and puts them into a future warfighting scenario that is very challenging. We had great support from the Naval War College developing CSG 360°. In a nutshell, it’s really about getting the strike group commanders to think tactically again above and beyond the things we are facing today.
Q: Are you working with the surface warfare and air warfare communities?
A. We do. Besides interfacing with strike group commanders, we’ve pushed a lot of these initiatives out to the Commander, Strike Force Training Atlantic and Pacific, and also to Tactical Training Group Pacific and Atlantic. The tactical training groups have taken on a lot of these things. We make it part of their work-ups and training. The Naval War College has been a great partner in this effort.
Q: Is CATI training or the CSG 360° war game a prerequisite for deployment?
A. It is not in the official predeployment work-up syllabus but elements of it have already been included in that syllabus. It is not a stand-alone syllabus event at this time,
although I could see how it could turn into how we train strike groups in the future.
Q: With the certainty of reduced defense budgets, the importance of fleet innovation is more urgent than ever since some are predicting the Navy’s fleet will shrink in size. So increased capabilities and innovative warfighting concepts are more important than ever. NWDC has been able to do an amazing job with jumpstarting fleet innovation in such a short time.
A. Thank you very much for the compliment; it is by far the most fun thing that we do here. When I came into this job in October 2011, [former Commander of Fleet Forces] Adm. Harvey made it clear to me that the CNO was interested in rebuilding a culture of innovation across the fleet. We had it before as we looked at the interwar years and the innovation history and the General Board (advisory panel of senior admirals credited with bringing creativity and innovation in the fleet — dissolved in 1951). They came up with some great things they were experimenting with at the time. The (World War II) island-hopping campaign, floating drydocks, and how to use detached aircraft carriers. They were war gaming these ideas to such a point that after the war Adm. Chester Nimitz said the only aspect [of the Pacific War] that surprised him was the kamikazes; we had evaluated everything else.
So this idea of innovation in challenging times was really driven home when we looked at the interwar years, and we had to decide now how we can adapt it for modern times. We teamed with SPAWAR (Systems Center) Pacific on a West Coast event and brought in junior leaders (junior officers and mid-grade enlisted) to pick their brains and stimulate this idea of fleet innovation. One of the results of that is the Innovator’s Guide that we published for innovators of all ranks, and it has become popular in industry as well.
We also recently completed a three-phase online war game; the acronym is MMOWGLI, or Massive Multiplayer Online War Game Leveraging the Internet. It's a crowdsourcing environment, and it is an interesting look at how crowdsourcing works in this process of innovation. The game explored electromagnetic (EM) maneuver in three specific areas: Understanding EM Energy; C2 in
the EM Environment; and Tactical Employment of EM Weapons. We put people through a lot of scenarios over the course of the three phases to pull ideas. At one point, we had over 500 players across the globe, and we are taking the results and putting them into something leadership can use.
The idea behind our innovation campaign is to develop a process that the CNO can use to make sure that important ideas get to people that matter. Two groups were established to do this. One is the CNO’s Advisory Board (CAB) which is a small group of nine people, including active-duty three-stars, and industry and academic professionals, to be kind of our window on the world to see what
events outside of the military could be important for the Navy.
During the interwar years a lot of innovation was driven inside the military, but as we look at society today a lot of innovation is happening in industry and in other places. The question is who can be a lens for the CNO on all the things that are going on and that’s what we envision the CAB doing for this process.
The CNO’s Rapid Innovation Cell — or CRIC — is a group of what the CNO calls 'free radicals.' These are mostly junior officers at the grade of lieutenant (we also have an E-6 and a few 0-4s)
and they are given a small budget to look at things they want to prototype and experiment with in the fleet.
This has been very exciting for me because junior officers look at the world much differently than I do. Frankly, their viewpoints are refreshing. They sat down with the CNO in mid-March to talk about their ideas. So all these things roll up into a process to build a channel for innovation.
Q: Do you have any pilots in the fleet based on ideas that were generated?
A. The CRIC has about six ideas that we made a decision to move on that
will be introduced to the fleet within the next year. I don’t want to steal their thunder because we will be publicizing them as they roll out to the fleet. They are all interesting ideas and several
have very little investment for what could possibly be a high payoff.
Q: Would you like to talk about anything else?
A. One last thing I would like to talk about is building on the Navy’s information dominance capability — building the 4-D (air, surface, subsurface, space) or 5-D (air, surface, subsurface, space, cyberspace) warfighter. How do we do that? Right now we have 3-D (air, surface, subsurface) warfighters. But we need to bring in information or cyber knowledge. Using EW (electronic warfare) or cyber is how we fight today. We developed the Capstone Concept for Information Dominance to support the implementation of The Navy Information Dominance Vision and The Navy Information Dominance Strategy. We need ideas and discussion [to keep building on the Navy’s capabilities]. Every warfighter needs to know how to
operationally use information, and we need to bring that knowledge level into everything that we do.
We also just published a lessons learned report about the Navy’s response to Hurricane Sandy. Usually, a warfighter would come back from a mission or deployment and he would sit down and type a report [but that information would be lost]. During the relief efforts in New York and New Jersey, we deployed a team to do a live collection to capture lessons learned. This is a case where we turned a report into real knowledge. We are turning knowledge into TACMEMOs and doctrine.
A Lessons Learned Guidebook from Sandy will be passed out at a gathering of flag officers in April. A meta-analysis of Carrier Strike Group deployment lessons learned is a popular focus right now with the Fleet Training Integration Panel (FTIP) and Readiness Requirements Review Board. What are the major trends and gaps in capabilities? CATI will forward tactics and training recommendations to the FTIP and Fleet Commanders Readiness Council for prioritization and resourcing.
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